Eighth-grader: “In my neighbourhood, you have to carry around a knife for your own safety”

Robby Roks, Assistant Professor of Criminology at Erasmus School of Law, is deeply concerned about the increasing level of knife possession amongst youngsters and the role social media plays in this matter. In the new documentary series "Tygo", Robby Roks speaks about this issue with Tygo Gernandt.

Just a little boy
Roks generally sees an increase in the number of stabbing incidents amongst young people. An increase can be seen both on the victim's side as on the side of the perpetrator. Roks also sees symptoms of this problem from his own experience: "Another clear example is that some time ago, I gave a presentation to a group of eighth-graders. Then one of the boys in that class said, "In my neighbourhood, you just have to carry a knife for your safety." (…) Those are things that truly scare me." Roks agrees that such an example is not a realistic picture of the entire age group, but it does illustrate an issue amongst young people.

Unrealistic picture
The fact that young people feel the need to carry a knife is not based on reality: "If we were to look objectively or from a distance, you could say (...) that it is not necessary to think that you need to carry a knife for your safety in certain neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague." Young people often carry a knife because they think other young people are also carrying one.

Influence of social media
The role of social media in knife culture should also not be underestimated. In the past, people only shared the story about a fight in the street with some friends; today, these fights attract the attention of a larger audience: "Now people are filming it and then it goes viral because everyone shares it." For the victim, this could be a heavy burden and possibly result in retaliation.

Assistant professor
More information

Click here for the entire conversation with Tygo Gernandt (Dutch, starts at 30m04s).