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Worried About the Wrong ThingsYouth, Risk, and Opportunity in the Digital World$
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Jacqueline Ryan Vickery

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036023

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036023.001.0001

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Policies of Panic: Porn, Predators, and Peers

Policies of Panic: Porn, Predators, and Peers

(p.45) 2 Policies of Panic: Porn, Predators, and Peers
Worried About the Wrong Things

Jacqueline Ryan Vickery

The MIT Press

The chapter analyses select U.S. federal and state policies that aim to regulate young people’s use of technology from the 1990s onward. There have been three waves of panics related to young people’s use of technology: porn, predators, and peers (specifically bullying and sexting). Each concern was fuelled by sensational media attention, and at times, fallacious research. Although policies are often a necessary aspect of regulation, the chapter demonstrates the ways policies often reflect privileged understandings of risk and overlook the unintended consequences of prohibitive regulation, particularly for marginalized populations. Additionally, it argues that other modes of regulation – such as the market and social norms – can be effective modes of balancing risks and opportunities.

Keywords:   Children’s Internet Protection Act, Deleting Online Predators Act, Child Online Protection Act, Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, Cyberbullying, Bullying, Sexting, Harm, Regulation, policy

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