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Articles on Moral panic

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People display Qanon messages on cardboards during a political rally in Bucharest, Romania on Aug. 10, 2020. (Shutterstock)

Folk devils and fear: QAnon feeds into a culture of moral panic

The QAnon conspiracy movement is the latest in a long line of moral panics that emerge as a response to change. False theories are used to undermine claims to social justice raised by marginalized groups.
Are cats really to blame for the worldwide loss of biodiversity? Dzurag/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Don’t blame cats for destroying wildlife – shaky logic is leading to moral panic

Framing cats as responsible for declines in biodiversity is based on faulty scientific logic and fails to account for the real culprit – human activity.
Did ancient Egyptian parents worry their kids might get addicted to this game, called senet? Keith Schengili-Roberts/Wikimedia Commons

Games blamed for moral decline and addiction throughout history

Somewhere between the early Buddhist times and today, worries about game addiction have given way to scientific understanding of the benefits of play, rather than its detriments.
‘Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!’ was a funky, lighthearted alternative to the action cartoons that, for years, had dominated Saturday morning lineups. GeekDad

The strange connection between Bobby Kennedy’s death and Scooby-Doo

Demands for regulation of media violence reached a fever pitch after RFK’s assassination, and networks scrambled to insert more kid-friendly fare into their lineups. Enter: the Mystery Machine.
Sleep deprivation among teens spiked after 2012 – just as smartphone use became common. GCapture/Shutterstock.com

Worry over kids’ excessive smartphone use is more justified than ever before

Some say the hysteria over screen time echoes parents’ worries that their kids were watching too much TV in the 1980s. But new studies show there’s nothing overblown about parents’ growing concern.
In 2016, a UK Home Affairs Committee report highlighted that street-based sex work has diminished significantly over the last two to three decades. shutterstock

Stigma and stereotypes about sex work hinder regulatory reform

Consensual sex work, like non-commercial sex, mostly happens behind closed doors. Yet stigma toward and ignorance about sex workers makes people panic when we try to talk about reform.

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