Experts warn social media use could spread violence


Experts are warning about the dangerous impacts of social media use to spread violence.

This is in response to the ongoing manhunt for Steve Stephens.

Cleveland Police say he murdered an elderly man Sunday, then posted a video of the killing to Facebook.

"To go up and engage with someone that way and format that act, it's really sickening," says Charles Palmer, Professor of Interactive Media at Harrisburg University.

Palmer says this latest posting to social media depicting violence is a classic case of misusing a tool intended for positive connection.

"I honestly don't think we can blame the tool. In this case, social media. If someone picked up a hammer and killed someone with a hammer, you don't go after the hammer manufacturer," he said.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Gavazzi says he believe Stephens has one goal.

"If you're going to post a murder online, the goal is to terrorize and basically freak people out," he says,

Gavazzi believes, without interviewing Stephens, that he is craving attention and just wants to be heard.

"Social media right now has a high degree of negative usage."

The most important thing is to try to ignore it, not share it, and not like it," he encourages.

"It absolutely will get worse," Palmer predicts. "You get more people seeing things that are happening. I honestly think we're going to see all kinds of crimes committed and broadcasted in this manner."

Palmer and Gavazzi agree that if you see a post that's violent or offensive, to report it to the social media network and it will take the post down.

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