Raising Good Citizens for a Virtual World: How Do We Help Our Children be Safe and Ethical When Using the Internet? A Families Connect Course for AASL, 2000
As children spend an increasing amount of time on the Internet and on other computer networks, many adults, especially parents, are finding that they may lack a sufficient understanding of the issues of safe and correct behaviors in this new environment. Media tales of computer hacking, destructive computer viruses, dangerous strangers, and readily accessed pornography make headlines on a daily basis. Teachers are finding that plagiarism has become increasingly simple given online repositories of term papers, electronic research materials, and the ease of cutting and pasting. The basic rights of personal privacy need to be studied carefully as data collection becomes frighteningly easy as it collected, transmitted, and stored electronically.
This short, five-lesson course is designed to help parents sort out the ethical issues surrounding Internet use by children and young adults.
In Lesson One, we will examine:
- How children are now living in two worlds: a physical world and a virtual world.
- Why “computer ethics” deserve special attention.
- Some ethical codes and guidelines for computer use already in existence.
In Lesson Two, we will examine computers and privacy, the first of three major areas of ethical use and ask questions about actual cases when young people are asked to make choices of right and wrong.
In Lesson Three, property, the second major are of ethical use, will be the focus. Again, we will look at specific cases from home and school where children need to make good choices.
In Lesson Four, the last major area of ethical use ö appropriateness ö will be discussed. Here too, we will examine real incidents when young users are asked to decide what is right and what is wrong.
In Lesson Five, we will
- Summarize what children and young adults need to know about computer ethics.
- Look at what kinds of things parents can do to promote smart use of the Internet.
- Examine some additional resources that address the issues of safe and proper technology use.
Each lesson will have links to web resources along with open-ended questions that you as a parent can use with your children to discuss ethical issues they may one day confront.