Gang involvement among teenagers remains to be a prevalent problem to parents and society. It is often associated with violence and other criminal activities within the community. Though reasons remain to be varied, teen participation continues to increase through the years. In seeking then to understand the motivation for teenagers joining gangs, it is essential to look at both personal and social factors that contribute to such choice.
One important reason why teenagers join gangs is to gain a sense of identity. Since the adolescent years are a time when people try to discover who they are, they remain to be susceptible to different influences. This remains to be an important motivation for joining gangs. By participating in such groups, teens feel they can create a name for themselves (New Media America, 2006). It can also be used as a status symbol given the different initiation process members have to commit to prove themselves worthy.
Teenagers also become member of gangs because of the need for protection. This is particularly evident to those who live in a community where gangs are rampant. For many teenagers, growing up in this area requires having affiliation with gangs. It serves as their security against existing threats. Participation also ensures that support would be given if ever there would be commotions or violence (New Media America, 2006). Teens see this as better than having nothing at all.
Additionally, gang involvement among teenagers provides opportunities for teenagers to develop a sense of belongingness and brotherhood among members. Membership to these groups would mean an extension of the family. Similar to this, many teens join gangs to create a feeling of connectedness with others. This applies to people who grew up with no families. Most of these individuals use gangs as a way to associate themselves with others.
In the end, gang participation among teenagers takes into account personal and social reason that contributes to increased membership. On the personal level, these reasons can revolve around the development of identity and the feeling that teenagers belong. On the other hand, social indicators such as gang prevalence in the community as well as security from intimidation provide the objective to participate in these groups.