Published: February 11, 2009

Experts debate impact of anti-social behaviour device

Researchers at the University of Liverpool will be joined by youth workers at a conference to discuss the impact of the `Mosquito Alarm¿ on youth activity in public places.

Social scientists at the University found that Liverpool had more than 40 devices on city streets and that young people saw the high frequency alarm as an infringement of their civil rights. The Mosquito is an electronic device that emits an ultrasonic sound that can only be heard by people under the age of 25, and is used by police forces and local authorities to help prevent young people gathering in public spaces.

Members of the Centre for the Study of the Child, the Family and the Law (CSCFL) will be joined by representatives from Liverpool City Council, The National Youth Agency and Barnardos to debate current policy on Mosquito use and the aims of the Buzz Off campaign.
 
Dr Stephanie Petrie, Co-Director of CSCFL, explains: “The device has prompted much debate amongst local authorities, police and members of the public. The Buzz Off campaign – set up to help halt the use of the ultrasonic device – has shown that some young people regard the device as a form of ‘torture’ and fear that it would damage their long-term hearing.  Our aim at the conference is to understand the views of young people and hear from those who have conducted research into the effects of the Mosquito. 

“We aim to discuss the psychological impact the device could have, as well as the practical implications for those living in close proximity to the alarm and who may be able to hear it throughout the day.  It has been suggested that some people, both below and over the age of 25, can hear the device even inside their homes, disturbing normal activities, such as homework for example. 

“The conference will encourage both researchers and local authorities to listen to young people to understand their social experiences, as well as look at other factors such as the increase in expulsions from schools that could impact on anti-social behaviour in public places.”

The conference will take place at 4.30pm on Wednesday, 11 February at the University’s School of Sociology and Social Policy, Eleanor Rathbone Building.

Notes to editors:

1.  The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

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