Does it take today a whole web 2.0 to raise a child?

As of now I have to admit I never thought really about the ethical dimensions and effects of digital technologies. Of course, throughout our studies we learned about ethics in technical communication. But that is about it. Therefore the article Beyond Ethical Frames by Katz and Rhodes was actually interesting – even though it was in parts hard to understand.

Then doing some further research, I found Howard Gardner’s view on ethics with emphasis on education, but still relevant to our topic.

In this interview he states

“The former lag between behaving morally toward people you know and behaving ethically towards people in the community whom you don’t know that’s been lost. People once they go into digital media will be part of much larger communities. The only question then is do they behave as good citizens or not.”

That to me made the perfect connection to Schofield’s and Joinson’s article Privacy, Trust, and Disclosure Online.

There is the saying it takes a whole village to raise a child. In today’s world will that extend to an even larger digital community? How do children learn about how to act ethically on the Web 2.0. For us it seems already so much more blurry. One example I mentioned in a previous post is the privacy issues with photos. The difference between actual and perceived privacy has to be taken serious. How do parents and teachers keep up with these developments? How do we teach our children the right values, when it seems we ourselves are sometimes lost?

Posted on November 18, 2012, in Social Media, Society, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “How do we teach our children the right values, when it seems we ourselves are sometimes lost?” That’s a great question, but I don’t really think it’s a question that has changed as a result of digital communication. All football players need the basics. Trick plays won’t work if players don’t know how to block without holding, completely catch the ball before looking downfield, or run along the sidelines without stepping of bounds. The same need for basic skills or knowledge before getting too fancy is true for every activity, including behaving responsibly and ethically. If the internet is taken out of the picture, will the student know how to behave ethically? If so, then there’s a strong likelihood the student will behave ethically online as well.

    I loved the Howard Gardner interview; thank you for sharing. There’s so much to talk about relating to his comments, but I couldn’t help thinking how he and Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) would enjoy talking to each other. Gardner talks of the importance citizenship and being a responsible member of the (online) community. Atticus understands and works hard for his community while trying to teach his children, Jem and Scout, how to be good citizens and members of the community too.

    Just as Gardner says, “Things work the best when people have an understanding of where the other stakeholders stand on these issues,” Atticus says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.”

    Both men are saying the same things. Gardner’s comments must have been very recent, while To Kill a Mockingbird was written in 1961 and set in the 1930s. Ethical concerns are constants in society.

  2. I have an eight-year old son and he has just started to play Minecraft of the xbox with some friends and friends of friends. Minecraft is a lot like a virtual Lego world. Now when he plays Lego with other kids everyone gets along just fine, but online where many people are anonymous, the kids (including my son) often act badly–hitting each other and taking things and raising their voices.

    What is it about interacting with real people in a virtual setting that causes us to treat people badly? Is there a relationship between kindness and the richness of the medium used to interact with people? For example, if a group of people are playing an online game where they have to use a chat window, do they lie, cheat, and steal more than if they are playing where they can hear the voice of the other person? What about if there is video?

    Does experiencing this kind of ‘Lord of the Flies’ environment at a young age make kids better or worse citizens when they grow up? Does it teach some positive lessons about cooperation, trust, and consequences?

  3. Your question is a great one because it means teachers and the education system as a whole needs to consider incorporating more discussions about “public writing” rather “blocking” sites or telling students to NEVER use Wikipedia. This recent blog post offers some nice perspectives with regard to elementary education: http://teachwellnow.blogspot.com/2012/10/tech-literacy-for-elementary-school.html

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