Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Indianapolis youth discuss role of social media in community violence

Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 15:23:21-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Organizers of an initiative intended to help curb violence in Indianapolis hosted a discussion Tuesday about the effects of social media and its role in community violence.

It's called "Barbershop Talks" and it's all about giving youth a safe space to be heard. The will be held every Tuesday in March at Executive Cuts Barber & Beauty (9130 E. 38th St.), Hair Above (2102 E. 52nd St.) and Mo's Barber Show (3716 N. Sherman Dr.).

Social media can be a gift — or a curse, depending on who you ask. But most importantly, it's impacting our youth in many ways.

"I don't even use social media like that. The reason why (is) people judge you off that," said a teen at Barbershop Talks.

Another person said he feels on edge wondering who could be watching his social media activity.

"You never know who could be watching. You may have people who are envious and you're posting your everyday life and you're posting things about yourself, and you give people leverage to attack you," said Cesar Paz.

Antonio Patton, the organizer of "Barbershop Talks", expressed similar frustration.

"Aren't you tired of seeing these? R.I.P shirts. Aren't you tired of them? Aren't you tired of the balloon releases? 'Fly high ... huh?' I didn't get to fly high; I was 14. Fly where?" said Patton.

"Young lady in high school says that social media is a lot of the problem to gun violence. Do you realize that our words are not for conversation, but they're for creation? You notice a lot of times, what starts the spiral of the social media beef? It's words, right," Patton added.

Ava Wright, a 15-year-old attending the event Tuesday, said she was grateful for the opportunity to have the conversation.

"It really just gives kids who don't have the opportunity to really express themselves or feel hopeless a place to talk and fell like they have someone to talk to. A lot of people don't have that and that's what destroys kids," said Wright.

Teens discussed ways social media impact their mental health, confidence, and the root of such violent acts in the community.

The message Tuesday night: allowing the youth to understand how to be more intentional with what they say and do on social media and shifting the focus for positive change and impact.

The 10-month initiative will focus on many community issues all from our youth at the end they hope to see progress made and how we can continue to bridge the gap.

Patton said future sessions in Indianapolis will be held at 6 p.m. March 8 at Hair Above, 2102 E. 52nd St. and at 6 p.m. March 15 at Mo's Barber Shop, 3716 N. Sherman Dr., Ste. 5.

There will also be a session held March 22 at Fresh Cutz Barber Shop, 4099 Gautier Vancleave Rd., in Gautier, Mississippi.