Social media sites are gaining more popularity each day, and it has become a significant part of life for many young people today. While numerous studies have discovered many negative impacts of social media on the youth, a recent study says that social media sites play a vital role in reducing youth crime.
Lead Researcher and Criminologist, Dr. Jason Payne of the ANU Research School of Social Science said that young people are spending less time in unsupervised environments where crime opportunities may be more attractive, such as “hanging out” on the streets.
The new research from The Australian National University (ANU), published in the Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice journal, reported that youth crime in New South Wales has significantly reduced in the last two decades partly because the youth spends less time “hanging out” on the street and rather spends time at home.
The researchers looked at NSW police data on crime rates for people aged 10-21 who was born 1984, who was born in 1984, compared to those born in 1994. They found out that by age 21, the proportion of the number of people that had come in contact with the criminal justice system was cut in half. There had been a significant decline in vehicle theft (-59 percent), property theft (-59 percent) and drink-driving (-49 percent).
The most significant decrease was only seen among those who had one interaction with the police, the report found that there were less substantial reductions in prolific offenders.
Dr. Payne further said that increased use of home entertainment and social media is also reducing opportunities for crime. Moreover, increased security of personal and public property was another reason that helped minimize youth crime rates.
While an increased used of digital media may lessen the opportunities for crime rates, it may also make way for other forms of crimes. One adverse effect of social media on young people is that users are more vulnerable to crime because making a move is only a few clicks away.