The Inevitability Of Techno Moral Panics: But Think Of The Children
from the women-and-children-first dept
DannyB now points us to an interesting Wall Street Journal article that delves into the subject of technopanics, and how they almost always seem to target "women and children" first. It's the classic "for the children!" argument that we see all the time. In fact, the article highlights another techno moral panic we hadn't heard of before: around electricity:
If you electrify homes you will make women and children and vulnerable. Predators will be able to tell if they are home because the light will be on, and you will be able to see them. So electricity is going to make women vulnerable. Oh and children will be visible too and it will be predators, who seem to be lurking everywhere, who will attack.The article focuses on the research of Genevieve Bell, who has a theory on these kinds of technopanics, saying that they need to have these three conditions to really bring out the fear mongering:
- It has to change your relationship to time.
- It has to change your relationship to space.
- It has to change your relationship to other people.
Of course, for those of us who tend to be optimistic about new technology, and skeptical about the same old moral panics that almost never seem to have any evidence to back them up, there's not much to be done, other than to point out these historical similarities. Unfortunately, that rarely works for the new generation who always have something in their back pocket about why "this is different!" even though it almost never is.