Mobile phones, risk and responsibility: Understanding children’s perceptions

Special issue: Children in cyberspace: Opportunities, risks and safety

This study explores children's perceptions of risk and mobile phones in their everyday lives. Technological developments associated with capitalist society are entwined with the risk discourse, but little account has previously been taken of children's views in social analyses of risk. Based on the accounts of thirty young people in the UK aged between 11 – 17 this study adopts a social constructivist perspective to offer a theoretical framework which explores how children themselves actually use mobile phone technologies and understand and manage risk in their everyday lives.

Implications of risk and mobile phones are reflected in current media discourse and contemporary public discussions. This research explores the relationship between young people's use of mobile phone technology and the wider theoretical debates about risk, technology and subjectivity. It provides insight into the social aspects of risk and mobile phones in contemporary childhoods.

The children in the research were reflexive in their understanding of risk and mobile phones and actively managed risk through their mobile phone use. Their accounts highlight the complex, multifarious relationships of the heterogeneous networks of the technical, the social and the natural that constitute children's everyday lives.

mobile phones; children; risk; responsibility
Author biography

Emma Bond

Author photo Emma Bond's specialist areas are in the recent developments in innovative and creative methodologies in research which foster participation with marginalised groups. She is especially interested in online and new media environments and has extensive research experience in this field. Her recent research on children’s perceptions of risk and mobile mobiles has attracted national and international media attention.

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