By Emma Bond (auth.)

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124). The concept of risk is central to understanding childhood. Childhood is constructed as a time of innocence, vulnerability and dependence (Jenks, 2005), and, as argued earlier in this chapter, it is such images of childhood that are influential in shaping children’s identities in public life (Harden, 2000). Scott et al. (1998, p. 690) suggest that risk anxiety ‘managed through everyday practices provides a useful means of analysing contemporary fears about children and childhood’. Abstract conceptions of risk thus impact on children’s everyday worlds though risk-management strategies employed by adults.

It suggests that the more agency and independence a person appears to have, the more dependent they are on a network for their power and identity (Lee, 1998). Similar to Law’s (1994, p. 384) view on agency that it is not something that people possess but an effect generated by a ‘network of heterogeneous, interacting materials’, Latour’s (1999) account of Louis Pasteur illustrates how the concept of agency and independence is challenged, and paradoxically accounted for, by dependence and incompleteness, and since agency is no longer conceived of as a simple possession it is exposed to empirical study and analysis.

The term ‘technology’ is in itself, however, difficult to define, but usually it is based on the idea that a technology is an application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. There is a growing plethora of mobile technologies – smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptops, for example – which can access the internet, and have an array of applications (Apps) and downloaded media content, such as text, images, sound and video. These mobile technologies can also produce content – user-generated content (UGC), which can be uploaded, published online and shared for others to view and/or download or comment on.

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