Moral Panic Theory

“Moral Panic Theory” posits that society blames social problems on folk devils in order to achieve an illusion of control. Based on the article by Markey and Ferguson (2019), how would you define folk devils and illusions of control as they pertain to mass media use? Markey & Ferguson (2017) offer four guidelines for identifying a moral panic. Briefly summarize each of these guidelines. Cassidy (2015) details 19th-century parents’ concern about their children’s media use. Considering your definitions of folk devils and illusions of control, in what ways were these concerns reflective of a moral panic about media use? Read through Cassidy’s (2015) conclusion (p. 224-226). What does she argue that 19-century parents’ concerns about media were actually about? Twenge (2017) details present-day parents’ concerns about children’s use of smartphones. Using Markey & Ferguson’s (2017) guidelines, can you identify any evidence that Twenge is inciting a moral panic in this article? Why or why not? Compare the concerns of 19th-century parents (in Cassidy’s article) with the concerns of present-day parents (in Twenge’s article). What similarities do these concerns share? In what ways are they fundamentally different?

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