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Childhood in the digital age
Childhood in the digital age

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1.1.2 A moral panic?

The following audio recording explores some of the implications of pervasive digital technology. Mariella Frostrup is joined by a panel of experts and commentators including Professor Tanya Byron, Professor Lydia Plowman, Julie Johnson and Helen King, to discuss raising ‘digital kids’. They ask several important questions, such as:

  • Should children under the age of two avoid any contact with technology?
  • Should pre-school-age children engage with age-appropriate social networking sites as a form of ‘training’?
  • Are there any benefits associated with young children’s early exposure to technology?
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Bringing up Britain
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Activity 1.2

You will notice that in this clip Tanya Byron refers to ‘moral panic’. This was a term suggested by the sociologist Stanley Cohen in 1972, suggesting that panics occur when a particular issue is seen as a threat to conventional social norms. The most common moral panic is that technology is promoting ‘social isolation, lack of social skills and obesity’ (Palmer, 2007).

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