The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia

This video is a talk given by Dr. David Finkelhor, is the Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, entitled “The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia”

Is the internet really an amplifier for youth deviance, bad behavior, and risk? Or is it just the opposite? Are we simply applying age-old paranoia about youth (juvenoia) to the newest technology and coming to all the wrong conclusions? Could the Internet be in fact promoting better, healthier culture, identity exploration with less risk, and increased accountability for personal actions? Dr. David Finkelhor takes on these questions with research, facts, historical perspectives — and connections with the fields of child development, human behavior, and psychology.

This talk is well worth watching – especially if you are dealing with parents or colleagues who take it on face value that the Internet is making children stupid, cheapening culture, and is the onramp to deviant behavior and predators.

The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia on Vimeo on Vimeo

This video provides a lot of food for thought:

  • Why do we label and blame kids for normal behavior?
  • Is a fear OF children masquerading as a fear FOR children?
  • Is the Internet similar to other technologies that caused social changes (like cars, TV, phones, etc.)? Or is it vastly different?
  • Is “stranger danger”, sexting crackdowns, and technophobia really about protecting kids or is it political grandstanding and a way to sell fear-based products?
  • Why do we ignore the many indications of better, healthier, connected, smarter youth and believe all too easily that children today are narcissistic, alienated, and addicted to techno-drivel?

Love your thoughts!


2 Replies to “The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia”

  1. Hey Sylvia, thanks for sharing this presentation. I’m going to share it with my friends at the National Youth Rights Association ( – they’ll be excited about the important distinctions Finkelhor gets at. I think there is a great potential here for a hyper-relevant conversation about the increased acceptance of discrimination against young people, and it’s relationship to youth censorship, increased youth/adult segregation, and further infantalization throughout society, particularly online. My own analysis shows that these trends predicate the further civic disengagement of youth, which unveils their anti-democratic nature.

    So essentially, we’re looking at the hyper-discrimination of youth for the benefit of corporations that profiteer from Internet security, which are an extension of the education-policing-media complex that continues to relegate the roles of young people throughout society to those of the lowest spot on the totem pole.


    Thanks again for sharing.

  2. The internet is akin to new technologies like tv etc. If anything I think it promotes kids to become more web savvy and pc literate which will help them in the future.

    “Stranger Danger” is a great way to sell products. I don’t think the net is really all that scary. It’s up to the parents to teach their kids safe surfing behaviors.

    I don’t get what narcissism and being alienated has to do with the net. I grew up without web access in the 90’s and was quite alienated from kids. I’m also very narcissistic with a huge ego but I’m pretty sure that is a character flaw has nothing to do with the internet. Some people are just looking for a scapegoat.

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