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This study, therefore, set out to examine specifically how children themselves view the nature and relationship of mobile phones and risk in their everyday lives and how they reflexively construct their own life biographies. This paper draws the data to address the issues of risk and reflexivity and examines the main concepts of responsibility and trust. This research explores the relationship between young people's use of mobile phone technology and the wider theoretical debates about risk, technology and subjectivity.It provides insight into the social aspects of risk and mobile phones in contemporary childhoods.Giddens (1991) proposes that institutionally structured risk environments, with rapidly developing and often contradictory specialised knowledge portrayed through media channels, contribute to the risk society and the notion of risk becomes central to society and to individuals as they reflexively construct their own life biographies: The point /…/ is not that day to day life is inherently more risky than was the case in prior eras.
Much recent research on a wide variety of media technologies highlights gender, age and socioeconomic differences in children’s access to, perceptions and use of technologies and these marked divisions are giving rise to further concerns of technological inequalities and potential exclusion (Livingstone et al., 2011; Livingstone, 2009; Ofcom, 2009). 45) draws on Elias’ (1969) civilizing process argument to claim that, as the concept of childhood developed, society began to “collect a rich content of secrets to be kept from the young: secrets about sexual relations, but also about money, about violence, about illness, about death, about social relations”. According to Giddens (1991), in order to prevent the generalised risk climate from impinging upon life circumstances, individuals develop a protective cocoon of basic trust. He developed Goffman’s (1971) notion of Umwelt, which corresponds to a system of references to describe how the protective cocoon of trust is constructed by individuals. The children in the research were reflexive in their understanding of risk and mobile phones and actively managed risk through their mobile phone use.Their accounts highlight the complex, multifarious relationships of the heterogeneous networks of the technical, the social and the natural that constitute children's everyday lives.