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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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25

Fear and Hope

The Politics of Childhood and Mobile Media

Damien Spry

ABSTRACT

Mobile media are increasingly ubiquitous in the lives of children and young people worldwide. In this chapter, Damien Spry uses case studies from Japan and Australia to examine moral panics and regulatory responses to children's use of mobile media. Emphasizing the politicization of young people's mobile media use, he argues that “childhood” and “new media” are discursive sites where the hopes and fears about future generations are powerfully expressed and negotiated. While there is a great deal of public discourse about children and mobile media, Spry notes the relative absence of young people's voices from this discourse, and questions how their voices might be more audible in the debates that affect them.

This chapter addresses the politics of childhood, youth, and mobile media, providing an overview of some of the issues found in research, public discourse, and policy discussions and then focusing on the national contexts of Australia and Japan.1 I examine political discourse relating to the use of mobile media by children and young people, and public policy that regulates and/or promotes their mobile media use, considering the ways that particular sociocultural constructions of childhood and youth are deployed and reproduced. I seek to make explicit the ways that children and young people are discursively constructed in public debates about mobile media use, and how these conceptions are translated ...

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