Following the recent sad news of the death of 4 year old John Paul Massey, after he had been attacked by his uncle’s American bull mastiff, media attention has refocused on the ownership of ‘dangerous’ dogs. As part of the BBC ‘Pledge Watch’ series of articles, Justin Parkinson has taken the opportunity to revisit the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Following a spate of dog attacks on children in the early 1990s, media coverage focused on various breeds of dogs as symptomatic of Britain’s growing levels of aggression. One particular case – the fatal canine attack on Rukhsana Khan – led to the creation of emergency legislation, supported by the Conservative government and the labour opposition. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned the import of four types of dog, as well as allowing for those dogs deemed dangerous to be subject to a compulsory destruction orders. The legislation also made the wearing of muzzles when for certain types of dog.
Despite allegations that ‘the Dangerous Dogs Act is among the worst pieces of legislation ever seen, a poorly thought-out knee-jerk reaction to tabloid headlines that was rushed through Parliament without proper scrutiny’ it is seen by many as necessary. With recent NHS statistics suggesting that dog attacks are on the increase, it would seem that this particular act is not able to tackle the problem. It would seem that for the foreseeable future, certain types of dogs will continue to be ‘folk devils.’
Chas Critcher on Moral Panic Analysis: Past Present and Future
Welcome to the second week of the Wiley-Blackwell Virtual Conference. The first day back has started with a keynote speech from Peter Ludlow (Northwestern University) entitled ‘Virtual Communities, Virtual Cultures, Virtual Governance.’ Conference delegates also had the opportunity to meet Peter at the Second Life Cocktail Bar.
There were two other papers on Monday’s session Adam Brown’s (Deakin University): ‘Beyond ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’: Breaking Down Binary Oppositions in Holocaust Representations of ‘Privileged’ Jews’ and ‘A Hybrid Model of Moral Panics: Synthesizing the Theory and Practice of Moral Panic Research’ presented by Brian V. Klocke (State University of New York, Plattsburgh) & Glenn Muschert (Miami University). In addition Wiley-Blackwell’s Vanessa Lafaye held a publishing workshop entitled ‘The Secret to Online Publishing Success.’
As you can see, this week promises to be as exciting and innovative as the previous one. All of the papers and workshops from last week are still available to download from the conference site, and both the ‘battle of the bands’ and the opportunity to contribute a ‘winning comment’ remain.
In 2001, the British police launched “Operation Ore”, hailed as a ground-breaking opportunity to catch individuals, who had paid for and accessed child pornography via the internet. With a possible 7,000 plus British suspects on the database, it is little wonder that the operation was perceived to have huge criminological and technological potential, not least in the fight against transnational pornography.
However, over the last two years, criticisms have been raised, particularly in relation to the validity of the evidence available. Although, the database could only be accessed by supplying credit card details, in many cases there appears to be little or no proof that the card owner was responsible. Such concerns are due to be heard before a judge at the Court of Appeal who will decide whether or not the test case of Anthony O’ Shea should be given a full hearing.
Child abuse is understandably an emotive subject, and a perennial favourite folk devil for the media. If Mr O’Shea’s appeal is successful, this could arguably open the way for many of the others convicted. Whether success in the courts is enough to remove the label of child abuser from the individuals caught up in “Operation Ore” remains to be seen.
Chas Critcher on Moral Panic Analysis: Past, Present and Future
An article in the New York Times demonstrated from anecdotal evidence how many teens are indeed engaging in ‘normal’ teen behaviour – only through the internet. Keeping in touch with friends, maintaining romantic relationships, and looking for information (such as how to install a video card) are a few common examples of what teens typically do during long hours on the internet.
Personal computers and home internet use are quite prevalent today, especially among young people. There have been concerns about the well-being of our young children and teens because of this pervasiveness. Adult concerns are often related to unknowns of the internet and potential threats, such as adult predators, which give way to moral panics. There is an another worry which many adults fear, which is that constant use of the internet and social forms of technology are detrimental to reading, writing, and comprehension skills. In this day and age where use of computing is integral in essentially all types of work, youth are teaching themselves the technical skills that they will find useful later on in life. This is a new form of socialization that is occurring in a unique way because information is democratized and youth have much more influence in what they are exposed to. Socialization is the social process in which people are engaged in throughout experiences in their life, learning the patterns of their culture, including social norms and behaviours. This new way of socialization can link different cultures and generations from all over the world. Perhaps excessive amounts of internet use will facilitate a new generation, tolerant of different cultures in ways which can break down barriers.
Georgia Hall on Teens and Technology: Preparing for the Future