Cyber ethics


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In this presentation the concept of cyber-ethics is defined, some case studies are provided, as well as suggestions for how to teach cyber-ethics to students. It concludes with questions for consideration.

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  • ETL523, Geoffrey Lowe, 11472382, Assignment 1 (Item 2), lecturer: Judy O’Connell Everyday, the Internet offers much freedom, social interaction and many other possibilities. Recent events, reported in the news media, suggest that now more than ever it is important to ensure that Internet sites (such as RateMyTeachers) encourage ethical behaviour, and that users behave ethically. In this presentation there will be a brief overview of some case studies suggesting the need for cyber ethics. This will be followed by definitions of cyber ethics, discussions of who needs to be ethical, how this should be taught to students, and alternatives to cyber ethics. The presentation will conclude with a number of discussion questions for consideration.
  • There have been a number of recent news stories about unethical uses of the Internet (Kwek, 2011; Wilkinson, 2011; Atkin, 2011). Interestingly, in the case of the Facebook party that made the news recently (Grubb, 2011) it has been argued that the girl was not to blame. She did not realise that something could go wrong and it was someone else that made her invite go viral. Regardless of whether or not this is true this still suggests a need for cyber ethics to educate users as to what is possible online and why they should protect their privacy. The existence of the RateMyTeacherswebsite suggests the need for cyber ethics to stop website developers and owners encouraging and making it possible for users to be unethical. Last year, a colleague informed me that I had been rated on this website. When I checked it out it was true. Like many teachers that I have spoken to since, I was unaware that a website such as this even existed. It allows anyone to anonymously enter a teacher’s name then rate that teacher and make comments without permission, then immediately put that on Facebook. Anyone can do this without the teacher ever knowing that this has happened. Contrary to the views of the designers of RateMyTeacher this website arguably encourages unethical behaviour including a cycle of classroom disruption, bullying and cyber bullying. The Teacher Support Network (2010) argues that teachers should ignore this website and that it should be shut down.
  • What is cyber ethics? One general definition of cyber ethics is that it is a code of behaviour for using the Internet (Norton, 2007; United States Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, 2011). Norton (2007) and the United States Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (2011) do not define this code in detail but they do agree that, on one hand, it encourages acceptable, safe and responsible behaviour on the Internet which is similar to that of everyday life, and on the other hand, discourages harmful and illegal behaviour online.
  • Bell (2002, p. 5) argues that exposing students to clear and understandable guidelines is important and useful in enabling them to comprehend and comply with cyber ethics. The three “P” statements are a good example of such guidelines. The first is Privacy – “I will protect my privacy and respect the privacy of others”. The second is Property – “I will protect my property and respect the property of others”. Thirdly, “I will use my technology in constructive ways and in ways which do not break the rules of my family, church, school or government” (Bell, 2002, pp. 4-5).
  • Another definition of cyber ethics relies upon sets of rules; dos and don’ts. According to Endicott-Popovsky (2009) “the ability to create a list of ‘DOs’ versus a list of ‘DON’Ts’ for using electronic resources remains the teacher-librarian’s task as we try to facilitate use in safe and sane ways” (p. 29). Norton (2007) provides one example of a list of dos and don’ts. For example: do use the Internet to help you do your schoolwork… Don’t copy information from the Internet and call it your own… Do use the Internet to learn about music, video and games… Don’t use the Internet to download or share copyrighted material. The US Department of Justice (2002) also advocates using rules to define what is ethical and unethical behaviour. For example, DO use the Internet to meet children in other countries or to keep in touch with pen pals who live far away in this country or other countries… DON'T give your password to anyone. Passwords are intended to protect your computer and your files. It's like giving the key to your house away!
  • Who should exercise cyber ethics? The answer in the literature is exclusively Internet users (Fredrick, 2010; United States Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, 2011). This includes schools and parents on the behalf of children. One problem with this is that it lets web designers and website owners off the hook. Clearly, a reason why users are able to behave unethically on the internet is because web designers and website owners make this possible and seemingly encourage it. In the case of the rate my teacher website a key assumption of the owners is that students should be allowed to do online what they cannot do in public (RateMyTeachers, 2010).
  • There are a number of ways that cyber ethics can be taught in schools. One ideal way is using case studies (Endicott-Popovsky 2009, p. 30). This encourages students to reflect on and verbalise what is often regarded as anonymous, disembodied activity. Another way to teach cyber ethics in schools is using Internet safety sites such as those mentioned earlier (see also, Fredrick, 2010). A third way is using collaboration between teachers and a teacher Librarian to deliver classroom activities. According to Bell (2002, p. 5), the librarian at York Junior High, in the USA, noticed how often students were copying and using images without citing their sources. The librarian and two art teachers decided to collaborate in order to increase student awareness of the principle of respect for intellectual property and graphics. They created lessons and a project to provide a positive alternative to copying images.
  • In the teaching of cyber ethics, Starr (2003) advocates the incorporation of cyber ethics into the school and classroom culture. One way to do this is to create a written acceptable use policy to be posted in the classroom. Endicott-Popovsky (2009, p. 31) agrees with Starr and adds that development of an Internet use policy utilising collaboration between students, administrators, teachers, parents and IT staff can ensure that all stakeholders are committed and involved in the successful implementation. “Enforceable school policies can establish acceptable norms for online behaviour and access.” (Endicott-Popovski, 2009, p. 31). Another way to incorporate cyber ethics into the school and classroom culture, according to Starr (2003) is for teachers, administrators and other school staff to ensure that they always model appropriate behaviour. “If we provide positive images and effectively communicate ethical values in all areas of their lives, those values will be reflected in the technological environment as well.” (Starr, 2003).
  • Two simple alternatives to the teaching of cyber ethics are bans and filtering (Starr, 2003). As stated by Fredrick (2010, p. 35), a lot of time has been spent creating firewalls and filters for use on school networks in order to block inappropriate material on the Internet. A 2009 report, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, shows that 86% of Australian schools block Facebook, 57% block YouTube, and 14% block Wikipedia (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011, February 28). While keeping out the predators and blocking the bad stuff is an admirable cause (Fredrick, 2010, p. 35) there have been a number of criticisms of bans and filtering. Frederick (2010, p. 35) and Starr (2003) argue that bans and filtering does not give students an online compass to govern their behaviour in the online world beyond school. Some educators argue that school social-media bans are overkill and block access to a proliferation of quality education tools online (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011, February 28). There is evidence that some teachers and schools are fighting and by-passing bans and filters, and pushing for bans to be lifted (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011, February 28).
  • As shown in this presentation there is clearly a need for students to be taught cyber ethics. While there are alternatives to teaching cyber ethics to students these are not without their problems. As suggested by a number of sources, a reason why unethical online behaviour occurs is because the Internet tends to be seen as exempt from the norms and expectations of everyday life. It is an unnatural and artificial place where anything can go. To ensure that designers and users behave ethically it is important to draw parallels between the real and the electronic world. It is important to make direct comparisons between what students do on the Internet and how they behave in their everyday lives; “call a spade, a spade”. That is, stealing is stealing, vilification is vilification, bad things happen in the community and bad things can happen on the Internet.
  • Schwartau (2011) argues thatthe law has no influence over those little voices in your head. What the voices tell you and how you choose to behave is entirely up to you… Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done”. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth government has enacted laws that make cyber bullying illegal.Schwartau (2011) states that “ethics is about understanding how your actions affect other people, knowing what is right and wrong and taking personal responsibility for your actions - even if they are legal”. For the sense of responsibility to be effective it requires clear consequences for unethical behaviour.The value of bans and filters is that they require that educators and parents know what students and children are doing on the Internet. If one takes away prohibitions and emphasises the importance of choice and consequences it is not guaranteed that some students or all students will behave appropriately. This suggests a need for educators and parents to know what students, their sons and daughters are doing online. Without bans or filters does this mean that parents and educators need to rely on trust and honesty.
  • References Atkin, M. (2011, April 16). Anti-sexting campaign branded dull, unrealistic. ABC News. Retrieved from Bell, M. A. (2002). Kids can care about cyberethics! Ed media world conference on educational media, hypermedia and telecommunications, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. Retrieved from Endicott-Popovsky, B. (2009) Seeking a balance: Online safety for our children. Teacher Librarian, 37(2), 29-34.Fredrick, K. (2010). Teaching the rules of the road online. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 35-36. Grubb, B. (2011, March 15). Teen’s Facebook party cancelled as 200k threaten to show up. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from facebook-party-cancelled-as-200k-threaten-to-show-up-20110314-1btsl.html Kwek, G. (2011, March 17). From victim to hero: How the net transformed bullied boy. SydneyMorning Herald. Retrieved from victim-to-hero-how-the-net-transformed-bullied-boy-20110317-1byik.html Norton. (2007, February 19). Cyberethics. Symantec. Retrieved from RateMyTeachers. (2010). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from http://au., W. (2011, March 31). Cyber Ethics 101: What Are (Is) Ethics?. Retrieved from http: //, L. (2003). Tools for teaching cyber ethics. Education World. Retrieved from Morning Herald. (2011, February 28). Teaching the Facebook generation. Retrieved from 20110227-1ba19.html Teacher Support Network. (2010, December 8). Rate my Teacher website - overview and how to deal with any problems. Retrieved from answers/detail/a_id/2251/~/rate-my-teacher-website---overview-and-how-to-deal-with -any-problemsUnited States Department of Justice. (2002, May 31). Rules in Cyberspace. Retrieved from States Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. (2011, March 17).Cyberethics. Retrieved from  Wilkinson, G. (2011, April 5). BrodiePanlock’s law: Workplace and cyber bullies face 10 years behind Bars. Retrieved from of-threats-ended-in-allem-kalkics-...Image attribution listSlide 1. Internet police Slide 2. Cyber bullys 3. Smiling Pam Jacob Frowns Slide 6. Desktop computer Slide 8. Creative Commons
  • Cyber ethics

    1. 1. Cyber Ethics<br />Rating my teachers without permission or notification: Ethical use of the Internet<br />
    2. 2. The need for cyber ethics<br />Teen's Facebook party cancelled as 200k threaten to show up (Grubb, 2011)<br /><br />
    3. 3. What is cyber ethics?: A code of behaviour<br />Acceptable, safe and responsible behaviour similar to that of everyday life.<br />No harmful and illegal behaviour online (Norton, (2007; US DOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (2011).<br />.<br />
    4. 4. What is cyber ethics?: Guidelines<br />Privacy<br />Property<br />a(P)propriate-use<br />
    5. 5. What is cyber ethics?: A list of dos and don’ts<br /><br /><br />
    6. 6. Cyber ethics for whom?<br />Web designers and website owners<br />Users of websites and applications<br />
    7. 7. How should cyber ethics be taught in schools? <br />Case studies (Endicott-Popovski, 2009)<br /> Internet safety sites (Fredrick, 2010)<br />Collaboration between a teacher librarian and teachers to deliver classroom activities (Bell, 2002)<br />
    8. 8. How should cyber ethics be taught in schools? <br />Internet Use Policy (Starr (2003)<br />Modelling appropriate<br />Behaviour<br />
    9. 9. Alternatives to cyber ethics<br />Bans?<br />Filtering?<br />
    10. 10. Conclusion<br />Draw parallels between the real world and the electronic world. <br />Make direct comparisons between what students do on the Internet and how they behave in their everyday lives. <br />
    11. 11. Discussion questions<br />Should online ethics be a matter of individual choice or should it be the law? (Schwartau, 2011). <br />What should be the consequences of unethical behaviour online? (Schwartau, 2011). <br />How can parents and educators know what students are doing on the Internet?<br />
    12. 12. Recommended readings<br />Bell, M. A. (2002). Kids can care about cyberethics! Ed media world conference on educational media, hypermedia and telecommunications, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Available from:<br />Endicott-Popovsky, B. (2009) Seeking a balance: Online safety for our children. Teacher Librarian, 37(2), 29-34.<br />Fredrick, K. (2010) Teaching the rules of the road online. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 35-36.<br />Norton. (2007, February 19). Cyberethics. Available from:<br />United States Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Cyberethics. (2011, March 17). Retrieved from:<br />
    13. 13. Slide Attribution List<br />Slide 1. Internet police <br />Slide 2.Cyber bullys<br />Slide 3. Smiling Pam <br />Jacob Frowns <br />Slide 6. Desktop computer <br />Slide 8. Creative Commons <br />