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Discussion of the Value of Using the Notion of 'Moral Panic' to Understand Media Representations of Child Abuse - Essay Example

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Name: Tutor: Course: Date: University: The Value of using the Notion of ‘Moral Panic’ to understand Media Representations of Child Abuse Introduction Cohen, the author of the book Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), argues that moral panic happens when “(a) condition, episode, person or group of persons turn out to be identified as a danger to the prevailing societal values and interests” (Cohen 2011, p.1)…
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Discussion of the Value of Using the Notion of Moral Panic to Understand Media Representations of Child Abuse
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Download file to see previous pages The reporting of facts is enough to produce concern, anxiety, or panic within the society and hence, the media have a critical role in shaping issues centring on child abuse and child protection. The media have a fundamental role of placing the crisis of child abuse into the minds of the public as well as setting the political agenda on the issue. The media have played a critical role in propelling societal consciousness of child abuse and neglect, not necessarily in community education campaigns, as via ongoing media stories and features reporting on cases, research, and intervention initiatives. One way that the media has accomplished this is through highlighting failures of child protection services by revisiting previous cases or highlighting a topical case on child abuse, neglect or murder. The media have served as agents of moral indignation; as a catalyst for swaying the popular reaction and opinion on matters affecting the society such as child abuse (Garland 2008, p.10). The media report the events in a sensationalized form whereby the reporting and publicity generated enhance anxiety and concern about the events (Cohen 2011, p.2). The occurrences of moral panic are “stylized and stereotypical” depictions of reality. ...
There are four forms of child abuse, namely: emotional child abuse, child neglect, physical child abuse, and child sexual abuse. Emotional child abuse has a detrimental effect on the child’s mental health as well as social development, and end up leaving deep and enduring psychological scars on the child. Child neglect, on the other hand, infers a pattern of failure to avail child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, hygiene, or supervision. Physical child abuse revolves around causing physical harm or injury to the child. Child sexual abuse is the most complicated form of child abuse owing to its layers of guilt and shame, which makes it a hidden form of abuse. Child sexual abuse does not necessarily involve body contact. Exposing the child to sexual situation or material is in essence child sexual abuse, irrespective of whether or not body contact is involved. This form of abuse can be delineated as the most outstanding form of abuse that dominates media stories. Media stories on sexual predators and children exposure to pornographic stories dominate human interest stories. In highlighting cases of child abuse, the media have successfully raised concern on the increasing entrenchment of the crime in the society and its ramifications to the moral fibre. Discussion Child abuse is a significant concern in the society as cases of child abuse dominate mass media now and then. Although, child abuse is not necessarily novel, the media can effectively instigate fresh national reaction to such occurrences by orchestrating an exaggerate account on the same. When used constructively, the media are an essential tool in advocating against child abuse by broadening community ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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