Is technology to blame for the riots?

The recent riots here in the UK have scared many and caused the destruction of property, livelihoods and homes. The media has been quick to blame technology – “social networking sites” and BlackBerry handsets are mentioned time and time again in new bulletins and reports.

Yes, technology allows for people to communicate and congregate faster. Yes, mobile phones have been used during these riots. Are they solely to blame ? No.


There’s a number of factors here. I’ve already blogged about it personally, but the minority doing this seem to have a consequence-free life. They want free stuff and, with little or no discipline at home or amongst their peers, they go and get it.

Mobile technology has been used positively though. A riot cleanup campaign has already started on Twitter and we were particularly impressed with Mark Stone from Sky News, who filmed events as they happened on his iPhone. He went onto the streets as the riots happened around his home, asking rioters, “Are you having fun?” and “Are you proud of what you’re doing?” Some examples below..

Link – ThisIsLondon

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  • Its unbelievable that people around the country find this an excuse to copy rioting and looting in other cities.

    Some of the excuses i am hearing on the news and on these youtube videos are a joke!!!!!. . .

    The one woman in the first video who says she is getting her TAX’s back!!!. .  . REALLY!!

    You cant put blame on technology. . . Riots were well executed in Thatchers days without it!!!!

  • Trev

    Also, technology might be able to help trace the organisers. All comms are recorded and although it’s of little comfort to those that have had their lives affected, at least there’s a chance the organisers will got some proper justice. The petty looters will get very little if caught I suppose.

  • Paul

    That womans first excuse about getting her taxes back is complete nonsense, I rekon most of the people there are not even old enough to have a job let alone pay taxes. Not to mention most of them are probably are on benefits and dont even pay taxes.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no way that technology is to blame for the riots.

    I’m reminded of the old saying; guns don’t kill people, people kill people.