Module 4, Topic 1: Ethics

What kinds of ethical considerations should be a factor for students using new media?

Levinson gives us the metaphor of technology as a knife (it can be used for good or for bad), it is the human being or group of human beings using the technology who determine whether it will be used for good or bad. Cyberbullying and cyberstalking are two examples of how new technologies can be used in negative ways. The use of email to deliver spam and scam information, examples (used by Levinson, 2009) of which include: easy ways to increase your sexual assets, as well as offers to entrusting money and bank account details to scammers who aim to steal identity information or large amounts of money from unsuspecting people.

I agree with the student in the Protecting Your Digital Footprint (see references) video that kids shouldn’t be putting anything online that they wouldn‘t be happy for their parents to see. “Everything that’s out there makes you vulnerable” (digital footprint video 2:23).Talking again about the negative uses of technology – we have the case of the male students from an elite mainland school who recently posted photos of female teachers on the internet and allowed their peers to rate them, a form of sexual harassment?

 What about bullying?

“Bullying in a schoolyard or any physical place is usually more dangerous than cyberbullying, since physical intimidation is involved and can escalate into a ‘beat down’” (Levinson, 2009, p. 170). Take the example of the story that featured in the news a couple of months ago about a bully who gets ‘owned’ by the victim. Although there was more to the story than met the eye the video that went ‘viral’ on the internet (and across TV stations) reignited the debate in the media about bullying in schools.

Bully gets owned:

The focus was on the bullying, but what didn’t seem to be an issue was the filming of the incident. Is the person who recorded the incident condoning the actions of the bully?

 Everything you put out there on the internet has its own digital footprint (it’s out there forever). Keeping this in mind, as educators we need to equip students with the skills to act in an ethic manner by explicitly teaching them and talking to them about what is and is not appropriate when it comes to the uses of new and digital media. It’s like social skilling (which my school has a huge emphasis on) you need to explicitly teach (and model) the behaviours you want your students to use, you can’t just expect them to have those skills especially if they have no role models to teach them what is and is not appropriate.


Levinson, P. (2009). New new media. Boston: Pearson. (Chapter 11: “The dark side of new new media”). Levinson Chapter11

 Protecting your digital footprint:


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