July 26, 2017: PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN

A new program ensures on line threats to our children do not escalate into actual tragedy.

TRANSCRIPT

> HERE IS AN INTRIGUING CONCEPT.

STOPPING YOUTH VIOLENCE BEFORE I HAPPENS BY LOGGING ONTO FACEBOOK.

IT CAN GO FROM THE VIRTUAL WORLD TO THE REAL ONE.

LAST YEAR IN NEW YORK CITY ALONE AT LEAST 240 SHOOTINGS AND 24 MURDERS BEGAN AS ONLINE ARGUMENTS.

LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS, AN OBVIOUS FIX WAS NEEDED.

THE SCHOOL ALONG WITH THE CITIZENS CRIME COMMISSION, WHICH IS A NONPROFIT GROUP THAT FOCUSES ON CRIME PREVENTION LAUNCHED THE PILOT, E-RESPONDERS.

IT FOCUSES ON DEESCALATING ONLINE FIGHTS As A RESULT OF YEARS OF RESEARCH.

IT'S SO EFFECTIVE, IT'S NOW BEING ROLLED OUT ACROSS THE ENTIRE CITY.

JOINING US WITH DETAILS IS AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY AT NYU AND PRESIDENT OF THE CITIZEN'S CRIME COMMISSION.

WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU.

LET ME ASK YOU TO EXPLAIN THIS PROGRAM TO US.

HOW IS IT SET UP, AND WHAT'S THE PURPOSE?

LET ME START WITH THE PROBLEM.

THE PROBLEM WAS, AS YOU SAID, WE WERE SEEING A LOT OF VIOLENCE GOING FROM THE VIRTUAL BACK INTO THE REAL WORLD.

THE PROCEEDING STEP IS WE WERE SEEING VITRIOL STARTING ON THE STREETS AND TRANSFERRING TO FACEBOOK AND COME BACK.

THE FIGHTS START ON THE STREET.

THEY WOULD SWITCH TO FACEBOOK AND THE TAUNTS WOULD START AND THE TAUNTS WOULD RESORT TO PEOPLE KILLING EACH OTHER.

LOOK LIKE A STORM BUILDING AND BREWING AND GETTING STRONGER AND GETS BACK OUT.

LOTS OF MURDERS AND SHOOTINGS.

THE QUESTION BECAME WHAT DO WE DO?

WE KNEW WE HAD PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES WERE WE WORKING WITH ON VIOLENCE PREVENTION.

WE KNEW THERE WERE METHODS TO INTERVENE IN PERSONAL VIOLENCE.

WE THOUGHT WHY NOT TAKE THOSE AND CREATE A CURRICULUM TO TRAIN THESE VIOLENCE PREVENTION SPECIALISTS TO WORK ONLINE, TO GO RIGHT ONTO FACEBOOK AND INTERVENE ON THE GROWING VIOLENT ACT ON FACEBOOK.

WE DID THAT WITH NYU AND THE E-RESPONDERS IS THE RESULT.

LET ME TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS.

PART OF YOUR FOCUS HAS BEE AS A SCHOLAR OR SCIENCE AND BEHAVIOR, WHAT IS THE SCIENCE TELLING US?

NOT MUCH TO DATE.

ONE OF THE REALLY FASCINATING PART OF THIS, THIS PARTNERSHIP HAS BEEN TO REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA.

PARTLY BECAUSE WE AS A SOCIETY HAVE NOT YET DEFINED THE PARAMETERS OF COMMUNICATION WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA.

WHAT WE DID KNOW IS PEOPLE ARE COMMUNICATING ABOUT VIOLENCE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER VIOLENCE HAPPENS.

IT'S NOT SIMPLY AN ISOLATED ACT THAT HAPPENS AND GOES AWAY AND DISAPPEARS.

IT'S SOCIAL MEDIA AMPLIFIES THE FACT THAT IT LIVES ON INTO FOREVER.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, DO YOU THINK, THAT SEEMS TO ENHANCE THIS NOTION OF TALK ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND.

I THINK IT IS THE PARADOX BETWEEN ANONYMITY AND HAVING AN AUDIENCE.

I THINK IT'S POSTURING THAT GOES ON.

ONE GANG MEMBER WILL CON FRONT ANOTHER GANG MEMBER.

SHOW HOW TOUGH THEY ARE, SEEK RETRIBUTION FOR A PERCEIVED WRONG.

ONCE THEY SEEK THE RETRIBUTION, THAT WILL BE RESPONDED TO BY THE OTHER SIDE AND THEN IT'S PERMANENT.

YOU HAVE TO CARRY OUT THE ACT OR ELSE YOU'LL BE SHAMED.

YOU'LL LOSE YOUR SENSE OF MANHOOD.

THAT PROCESS PLAYS ITSELF OUT IN THE STREET.

THESE ARE KIDS.

THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE SITTING BACK AND CONTEMPLATING THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

THEY ARE ACTING OUT DEEP EMOTIONAL TRAUMA AND GRIEF.

WE TRY TO DEESCALATE THOSE EMOTIONAL STATES.

BRING THEM DOWN A LITTLE BIT.

WE TRY TO GET THE PERSON TO TAKE THE POST DOWN AND COME INTO ONE OF OUR SITES AND WORK ON THE ISSUE.

NEW YORK CITY HAS VERY WISELY FUNDED 20 CURE VIOLENCE SITES ABOUT THE CITY.

IT UTILIZES CREDIBLE MESSENGERS.

THEY HAVE WALKED THE WALK.

THEY HAVE BEEN IN GANGS, BEEN IN PRISON.

THEY WORK IN THESE CURE VIOLENCE SITES THAT ARE COMMUNITY BASED IN SOME OF THE ROUGHEST COMMUNITIES IN NEW YORK.

THEY INTERACT WITH KIDS.

THEY GOT THE CREDIBILITY, THE CONTACTS, THE THINGS THAT MAKE THEM RELEVANT.

WE'RE WORKING WITH THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE A FANTASTIC PORTAL INTO THESE COMMUNITIES.

WE'RE WORKING WITH THEM THROUGHOUT THE CITY.

THAT'S WHERE WE'RE GETTING THESE GOOD RESULTS.

WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT, TALK ABOUT THE RESULTS.

WHAT ARE YOU SEEING?

ABSOLUTELY.

I HAVE TO SAY AS A RESEARCHER, THESE RESULTS BLEW MY MIND, TRULY.

THIS WAS JUST A PILOT ROLL OUT.

THE FIRST THING THAT REALLY BLEW MY MIND WAS THE CURE VIOLENCE SITES THAT HAD VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROFESSIONAL TRAINED IN THE E-RESPONDER MODEL.

THEY INTERRUPTED ALMOST 200 ACTS OF VIOLENCE.

MORE THAN YOU ANTICIPATED?

ABSOLUTELY.

VASTLY MORE.

THE FOLKS THAT DID NOT RECEIVE THIS TRAINING BUT HAD TRAINING IN THE CURE VIOLENCE MODEL BECAUSE THESE ARE ALL CURE VIOLENCE SITES INTERRUPTED ALMOST NONE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

TO MAKE THE UNDERLYING MESSAGE HERE, THE TRUTH IS A LOT OF THESE KIDS DON'T WANT TO BE IN THESE GROUPS.

A LOT OF THESE KIDS WANT A WAY SAYING I'M LENDING YOU A HAND.

COME IN.

LET'S DISCUSS THIS.

LET'S GET YOU OUT THIS LIFESTYLE.

THAT'S WHY IT'S WORKING.

THE CITY IS SMART TO INVEST IN THIS METHODOLOGY.

IT SOUNDS LIKE A FABULOUS CONCEPT AND THE FACT IT'S WORKING IN PRACTICE IS GREAT CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM.

WE HAVE IDENTIFIED A PROBLEM AND SEE WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

GOOD LUCK.

WE'LL GET YOU BACK IN AND TALK ABOUT IT DOWN THE ROAD A LITTLE BIT AND SEE HOW WELL IT'S BEEN DOING.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

TAKE CARE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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