Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice


Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Beverly Reece-Churchwell

Second Advisor

Dr. Tanja Link

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Stringer


Internet use among individuals involved with gang activity has become increasingly prevalent in the last two decades. This usage goes beyond simply organizing or boasting about criminal activity. Rather, it has become similar to general usage of the internet including posting content that contributes to an overall image of themselves or their gang. Moreover, as social media has become more common among the general population, those involved in gang activity have also followed suit. Previous studies have noted several themes communicated that are in social media posts made by self-proclaimed gang members. These themes include violent imagery, intimidation, revenge, grief, wealth, and success. This thesis sets out to fill a gap in the current literature by examining Tik-Tok, a social media platform launched in 2017 and applying a social learning framework to explore violence exposure and its repercussions. Limitations, such as verification of gang involvement, policy implications, and directions for future research are discussed in depth.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 30, 2025