The back and forth worry of the adolescent community growing up too quickly is a common concern felt by all parents alike, but its missing the mark completely. The concerns expressed around sexting, drugs and alcohol is a generational turn, parents are aware of what they did as teenagers, thus protecting their child from the same, but with the new addition of technology the concerns have grown into a moral panic. This moral panic has been caused through a whirl wind of mainstream media.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in 2008, found that 1 in 5 teenagers had sexted (Marker, 2011). This statistic validates sexting as a moral panic, but it is evidential that it missed the mark. We need to ask why teenagers are sexting, rather than punish them for doing it. It is proof that the panic is “trying to establish and maintain new rules regarding sexual expression through new media by generating a discourse of fear.” (Jaeger. n.d) This then relates back to the loss of innocence at a younger age because of ties with technology and social media. But as Jaeger points out, age takes away the rights and credibility of teenagers, we should actually be utilising the skills they have gained through being the generation raised with technology, rather than punishing them with questions and theories that children are losing their innocence.
Studies have proven that children today are more creative than back in the 80’s and 90’s. The ‘Case Western Reserve University’, suggest that kids are finding new ways to use and develop their imaginative abilities. And credit to be given where credit is due, the next generation is already so much more technologically advanced in ways we will never understand. Technology is looked to be the demon of childhood, but it is just giving kids more avenues to explore there creativity, and thus utilize these new found skills to revolutionize the world.
It can be proven that moral panics are a way of utilizing the influence that mainstream media has over people to change the tide of thought in a large group/population. Children and teenagers in the modern world are one example of how moral panics have ultimately demonized their way of living.
A final focus for the research done on moral panics in children is commenced in the article below.
As discussed in the previous two articles moral panics miss the mark. This idea that children are losing out on the magic of childhood because of new technological advancements has been proven to overstep the actual problem. A moral panic is a theory that is discussed by those of whom study media. But it “…rest…
Marker, Brandon Scott, “Sexting as Moral Panic: An Exploratory Study into the Media’s Construction of Sexting” (2011). Online Theses and Dissertations. 12. https://encompass.eku.edu/etd/12
Jaeger, A., n.d. Panic over Sexting Regulating Sexuality in the Age of New Media Technology. [online] Available at: <https://sociology.ucdavis.edu/images/AshlynJaeger.pdf> [Accessed 27 April 2021].
Children today are more imaginative than in the 1980s, study suggests (2021). Available at: Children today are more imaginative than in the 1980s, study suggests (apa.org)