Teen arrested during weekend `wilding` incident speaks - FOX 32 News Chicago

FOX 32 Exclusive: Teen arrested during weekend `wilding` incident speaks

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A teen who said he knows exactly how the weekend violence went down along and near the Mag Mile speaks exclusively to FOX 32 News.

SEE: Mag Mile businesses on edge after weekend mob action

The 19-year-old agreed to an interview if he was kept anonymous. He was one of the 30 teenagers arrested Saturday evening along Michigan Avenue and charged with reckless conduct.

The teen says he was kicked out of McDonalds at Chicago and State and started walking, before he and two of his friends got to Michigan Avenue and saw the commotion.

"Lots of people were down there causing trouble so the police had to grab someone and I got grabbed," the teen told FOX 32.

The teen says he spent eight hours in jail before being released. He's mad at Chicago police, but says he'll take some of the blame for trying to walk along the Mag Mile when he knew dozens of teenagers would be targeting tourists and others along Michigan creating chaos.

Shoppers say they're concerned about safety.

"It's sad because it's young people doing it," one person said.

"During the day, it's okay, but at night when you have hoards of thugs running around trying to take their money for no reason, it's useless," another shopper added.

The arrested teen told FOX 32's Darlene Hill that word gets out on a Twitter, Instragram or Facebook and dozens show up.

"They just all go down there to hang out with each other and then, some people are into it so they see that people are into it and they just fight or whatever," he explained.

The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago in the suburbs at Ford City Mall. Someone sent out a tweet that said ‘if you're looking to get into something, meet up at the mall.'

Social network expert Scott Kleinberg said those teens are using code words, phrases and names.

"These people don't have to have a lot of followers on social media," Kleinberg explained. "They just have to have a small group and then all they have to do is use words that won't raise any red flags."

"Wilding" is described as a behavior that occurs when groups of teenagers gather and assault strangers as part of an activity.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Nancy Zarse gave Good Day Chicago an inside look Monday morning, as to why young kids are participating.

She said that in the age of real time interconnectivity, teens who take part in these mob actions have less sense of impulse control and less sense of consequences. They oftentimes have the mentality that if everyone's doing it, it isn't so wrong and that if everyone's doing it, who will authorities blame and punish?

Social media reaches across such a large scope, and gives young people access to each other in ways that were not possible before. These actions are not new – they were carried out in much smaller groups in the past. But responsibility can be diffused in such large groups.

The ramifications of their actions are not as real to the generation where accountability is not so easily enforced. A generation that can say anything they want on the internet and not have to own up to it in person is a generation that may not fully comprehend the consequences of their actions in real life.

Socio-economic stress also plays a large role in "wilding." The age-old tension between the "haves" and the have-nots" has been around for centuries, and was magnified in this incident. It is not by chance that this mob action took place on the Magnificent Mile.

Dr. Zarse told Good Day that the public needs to empower youth to walk away from bad decisions.

Parents must play a more active role in planning their kids' free time, spend more time talking to them about what's going on in their lives and the consequences of their actions if they choose to make a bad choice. There are very easy steps to taking action, and that can be as simple as eating dinner together. If parents are a part of their children's lives, their sense of responsibility can be impressed upon them.

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