Gang Facts
What Happens if You Join?
Is My Friend In A Gang?
Peer Pressure
Staying Gangfree
Why Young People Join Gangs
There are many reasons why kids and teens get involved in gangs. Some young people join because:
They have problems at home – Some kids think that a gang will give them the attention or love that's missing at home. Gangs will promise to take care of them, and become the "family" they never had.
They need money, food or clothes – A gang might tell them that they can get some ‘quick’ money if they join. A kid might need this money to help out with bills or food at home. Or, they may want money to buy clothes or shoes.

They need protection – Sometimes kids and teens join a gang just to survive in their neighborhood. It might feel easier to join the gang than to be hurt or bullied every day.

They have too much peer pressure – Young people face a lot of pressure to fit in. Peer pressure can come from friends, or from neighborhood gang members.

They have a family member in a gang – It’s hard to escape the pressure to join a gang when your mom, your dad, your brother or grandmother is part of a gang. Some families have been involved with gangs for many years.

They love excitement - Some kids get a rush out of breaking the law or committing crimes. They might be attracted to the gangster lifestyle because it seems exciting.

They want to be cool - Gangs are good at looking "cool" to kids and teens. They wear the latest gear, throw the hottest parties, and drive the coolest cars. This can impress a young kid who's looking to fit in somewhere.



"I saw some gangs on a networking web site, so I asked them to add me as a ‘friend’. It’s not going to hurt anyone, I didn't really join the gang, right?"

- OC Surfer, age 14

Supporting a gang in real life, or over the internet, gives that gang more exposure and more power. It’s a better choice to delete them as your ‘friend’ and to encourage others to stay away from their pages.

Be sure to let a trusted adult know so they can help you stay safe online.

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