Twitter wars lead to real violence -

Twitter wars lead to real violence

Twitter is a micro blogging phenomenon. The service, which limits a "tweet" to 140 characters, now has more than 500 million users.

But a growing number of them aren't using it for social networking, as designed -- they're using it to threaten and harass their rivals.

Many of the fights posted on popular web sites such as YouTube and Worldstar Hip-Hop are a result of "twitter beefs." This trash talk by text is fueling deadly violence across the country.

Just ask any young tweeter on the street.

Tiffany says, "Everybody reading everybody's tweets, and if it says something bad, then everybody is going to comment on the bad."

"So it comes to the streets and it escalates real big. And people die over that," adds Trina.

Khalid Shah runs the Stop the Violence, Keep the Peace foundation in Inglewood, Calif. and has witnessed firsthand the rise of street violence fueled by Twitter.

"One of our students was actually killed as a result of a tweet criticizing another gang. And it's a very, very serious problem in our high schools and junior high schools," says Shah. "It's probably as dangerous as a gun; as firing a gun into a crowded community, because once it hits, if it hits the wrong person, the consequences are there."

If you suspect your child is engaging in Twitter fights, Khalid says it's time to step in as a parent. Follow them on Twitter. And if you don't like what they're tweeting, take away their smart phone until they wise up.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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