Commenting on the alarmist discourses that alerted the public to the widely predicted harmful effects of VCR and videos on print media, children and youth, and whole societies when it made its commercial debut in industrialized countries in the early 1980s, media studies scholar Kristen Drotner (1992) coined the term “media panic” to describe this phenomenon. In her essay, “Modernity and Media Panics,” originally published in the edited collection, Media Cultures: Reappraising Transnational Media, Drotner writes,

The reaction to video has clear historical antecedents. From the advent of mass-circulation fiction and magazines to film and television, comics and cartoons, the introduction of a new mass medium causes strong public reactions whose repetitiveness is as predictable as the fervour with which they are brought forward. Adult experts-teachers and social workers, cultural critics and politicians-define the new mass medium as a social, psychological, or moral threat to the young (or mixtures of the three), and appoint themselves as public trouble shooters. Legal and educational measures are then imposed, and the interest lessens-until the advent of a new mass medium reopens public discussion. That spiralling motion characterizes a media panic. (Drotner 1992: 43, emphasis in original)

Drotner emphasizes the repetitive character of media panics. New media are seen by adults as undermining established institutions for the education of children. Expert discourses warn of the threat posed and new legal and educational measures are imposed. Adult control is extended over children’s use of the new medium, and the medium itself is integrated into mainstream discourses. Then, a new medium is introduced and the next media panic begins.