• AN EXAMINATION OF MORAL PANICS: HOW THE FEAR OF SATANISM AFFECTED TABLETOP ROLE PLAYING

      Williams, Travis; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Communication; Department of Anthropology & Philosophy; Johnson, Edgar; McClelland-Nugent, Ruth; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Moral panics around youth entertainment have been an occurrence as long as culture has been established. As long as youth entertainment has values that can be seen as going against the established values of the preceding generation, a moral panic could take place. The purpose of this research was to analyze how moral panics centered on youth entertainment begin and gain traction. To do this, the research was focused on the 1980s moral panic around tabletop roleplaying games, specifically�Dungeons & Dragons. By tracing the origin of the moral panic to the fear of cults and occult from the 1970s, we can find more context as to why some individuals believed that role playing games could cause adolescents to use the games as a style of dangerous escapism or as a gateway to the occult. To further understand this moral panic, an analysis of some of the major detractors of role playing games was done, as well as researching the role the media played in cultivating the moral panic. With a greater understanding on how moral panics begin and gain traction, this research can be used to compare and contrast other moral panics around youth entertainment.