This book introduces the inter-disciplinary study of childhood and youth and the multi-agency practice of professionals who serve the needs of children, young people and their families. Exploring key theories and central ideas, research methodology, policy and practice, it takes a holistic, contextual approach that values difference and diversity. It examines concepts such as identity, representation, creativity and discourse and issues such as ethnicity, gender and the ‘childhood in crisis’ thesis. Furthermore, it challenges opinion by exploring complex and controversial modern-day issues, and by engaging with a range of perspectives to highlight debates within the field.

Children and Risk

Children and risk

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter you should:

  • understand that risk is socially constructed and politically mediated;
  • have a critical awareness of the risks facing children in contemporary societies;
  • be able to identify some differences between risk perceptions focusing on younger children and those related to youths;
  • comprehend that risk-taking can have positive outcomes for children.


It might seem from watching television news reports or reading daily newspapers that concern with risk is a depressingly prevalent feature of modern existence. Fuelling anxieties, children often appear in such stories, frequently as victims, sometimes as perpetrators. Arguably, no age group is more associated with risk than children. Yet there is often disagreement as to the exact nature of a risk or its relative importance compared with ...

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