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Moral Panics: A Social Problem Essay

662 words - 3 pages

Any person over the age of 12 would have no problem recalling the panic of the H1N1 virus in the United States in 2009. An acute sniffle? The only possibly explanation is Swine Flu. When in reality, during the prime of this epidemic, only about 12,000 fatalities occurred. Now we look back and find these “panics” merely an overreaction. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a panic as “a situation that causes many people to become afraid and to rush to do something.” However in class, it was discussed that a moral panic is a social problem that is largely unsubstantiated. For decades, society has been quick to jump to conclusions about social problems, including the red scare, the grunge era, the “choking game,” and even poisoned Halloween candy.
It seems that every week in the news, they’re saying the same thing, “Coming up next, the new dangerous trend in today’s youth.” And then they carry on with a story about how a few teens make questionable choices. In the 1980’s and 90’s, the grunge era became more prevalent in the United States. Teens started to wear more leather and chains and studs. Girls were wearing dark panty hose and boys were wearing flannel and growing their hair out. Parents became horrified that their children were becoming this social eyesore and they attributed it to one common cause: the music. Because of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, parents had worries that this music would fuel their offspring to become anarchists. Nowadays, the music from thirty years ago is seen as classic and the fuss over what was being worn seems trivial, to say the least.
While the grunge era now seems harmless, there have been many more moral panics because of the decisions of teens that are much more dangerous. For example, the “choking game” was in the news several years ago. Stories of teens trying to get a high from self-asphyxiation dominated...

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