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School internet use, youth and risk: a social-cultural study of the relation between staff views of online dangers and students' ages in UK schools

Hope, Andrew (2006) School internet use, youth and risk: a social-cultural study of the relation between staff views of online dangers and students' ages in UK schools. British educational research journal, 32 (2). pp. 307-329. ISSN 1469-3518

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Abstract

Internet access has recently been introduced into over 30,000 schools in the UK. While web provision has been heralded by some as an educational panacea, it is also recognised that there are dangers inherent in school Internet use. Adopting the cultural risk perspective, drawing upon a social-cultural analysis of Internet regulation and utilising the concepts of liminality and 'otherness', this article explores staff Internet risk perspectives. While staff expressed concern about online pornography, hate-sites, bomb/drug making websites, electronic communication, security issues and copyright violation, interpretations as to who was at risk varied with student age. Younger students' Internet activities were interpreted with reference to narratives of innocence, whilst the inappropriate online activities of youths were labelled as 'dangerous'. In conclusion, it is argued that a distinction needs to be drawn between risks arising from liminality and those associated with 'otherness'.

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