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On mobile communication and youth “deviance”: Beyond moral, media and mobile panics

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Cautionary voices have pointed to the apparent dangers that mobile media and communication pose for young people in the form of “deviant” activities such as sexting and mobile phone-facilitated bullying and criminal activity. Such incidents have ignited moral panics about the proliferation of mobile media because they are seen to facilitate emergent social/spatial interactions that are either unprecedented, or occurring on a scale not hitherto witnessed. While labelling concerns about youth deviance that is, in some measure, enabled or facilitated by mobile communications as “moral panics” is unproductive, it would be equally myopic to disregard the risks that mobile media can pose for youths in certain circumstances. This article critically examines the panic discourse surrounding youths and mobile media before reviewing research that suggests how mobile media can present risks for youths in particular contexts and milieus.
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