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Exploring the Impact of Youth Engagement in Social Media: Shifting the Boundaries of Harm and Criminality in the Digital World?

Doyle, Lauren (2023) Exploring the Impact of Youth Engagement in Social Media: Shifting the Boundaries of Harm and Criminality in the Digital World? Howard League for Penal Reform ECAN Bulletin (52). pp. 29-38. ISSN 2752-5953

Item Type: Article


This paper employs a qualitative approach to understanding the impact of youth engagement in social media. The expansion of social media has occurred alongside this. By applying a zemiological lens to the analysis of this study, from the early stages of data collection it was evident that ongoing changes to UK legislation around vulnerability caused, and perpetuated by, the online space remained a grey area for concern. Specifically in terms of who holds responsibility for safeguarding young people when engaging with a growing variety of information sources through social media. A particular interest area within this, for the researcher, is the harm posed to young people in the offline world, when engaging with image-based networks, filtered imagery and diet culture through social media platforms; an area that stands at the heart of various ongoing UK parliamentary debates, at the time of writing this paper, urging for vast legislative shifts. The discoursal change of the Online Safety Bill to the Online Harms Bill, in its drafting stages, by the UK Government creates a clear pathway for this paper to pursue a zemiological analyses of current strategies to protect and criminalise the distortion of reality by the online world, under ‘influencer culture’. This paper concludes that despite an expansive period of evidence collection by the UK Government, to understand the lived experience of vulnerable social media users, more time and effort is needed to make such legislative amendments an impactful, and collaborative process.

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Depositing User: Lauren Doyle


Item ID: 15645
ISSN: 2752-5953
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Lauren Doyle: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 11:47
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 11:47


Author: Lauren Doyle ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology
Social Sciences

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