Ethics and New Media

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0James, Carrie, Katie Davis, Andrea Flores, John M. Francis, Lindsay Pettingill, Margaret Rundle, and Howard Gardner. “Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media.” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 2.2 (2010): 215-84.

Note: I collected some of these a while back and I just basically went through and read them as they were in my folders. There is less rhyme and reason to the choices than I would have liked, but I figure I had to start somewhere, right?

The study was designed to discover the ethical contours of new media and to promote ethical thinking. The authors identify significant issues for new media: “identity, privacy, ownership and authorship, credibility, and participation” (215). Questions and problems with digital publicity and speech rights are introduced (218). They note that regulation has not yet come to cyberspace (221). They decided on a “good play” approach to the question (223) and said that this is difficult to determine what is ethical because there is not a predetermined set of values. “[A]ccountability depends on the strength of ties within a given online community” (224). The definition of ethics involves respect, roles, responsibilities, internal (emic) and external (etic) perspectives, and good play (225). They discuss digital youth (227) and the “ethical fault lines” (228). A large focus is on identity play, when youth create alter egos and act out within those (230), its promises (232), and the perils associated with such play (234), which leads to a discussion of the ethics of virtual identities (237). This is repeated with privacy (238), its promises (241), its perils (243), and its ethics (245); with ownership and authorship (246), their promises (248), their perils (251), and their ethics (254); with credibility (254), its promises (257), its perils (258), and its ethics (260); with participation (261), its promises (264), its perils (265), and its ethics (268). The authors say that technical and new media literacies are important (271) to ethics, that ethics are individually situated (272), and reflect peer norms (273).

This article is nothing like what I was expecting, but the individual examples that the authors give for each of the significant issues of new media would be very relevant to class discussions on problems and opportunities presented by the internet.

This would be an interesting article for a new media and digital literacy course.

RrNm Ann Bib

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