This article discusses reactions to two forms of 'dangerous' digital entertainment: ethnic humor and online pornography. It compares the way in which the dangers of these entertainments are socially constructed in online discussions by Dutch and American internet users. Ethnic humor is virtually absent and widely considered dangerous on the Dutch part of the internet, but circulates widely on the Anglophone internet. Online pornography is considered dangerous but mostly manageable by Dutch internet users, but has become the subject of moral panic in the United States. The comparisons between the four cases show the influence of 'national cultures' on the transnational internet, as well as the mechanisms involved in the social construction of online dangers; they show how these concerns can be defused and normalized as well as inflated and dramatized into moral panic.

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New Media & Society
Arts & Culture Studies