DIGITAL ETHICS: 1. What is Digital Ethics?

Subjects: Digital Literacy, Ethics & Communities
Grade Level: All
Source: Cable in the Classroom

Any kind of media can be used well or misused, by those who create it and by those who use it. There are different ways to attempt to protect children from any negative effects of media misuse. One approach is to restrict their use of media.

A better alternative is to take a proactive approach: teach them how to make the best use of these resources while avoiding the negatives. That's where media literacy and digital ethics come in.
  • Media literacy teaches kids how to think about media so they build their ability to analyze, evaluate and create media.
  • Digital ethics teaches behaviors that help students while using digital media. They learn how to be: ethical, courteous, safe, and productive.

Digital ethics is more than simply an Acceptable Use Policy,* although that’s a great place to start. It is also known as cyberethics or cybercitizenship, defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as "a code of safe and responsible behavior for the Internet community." Students practicing digital ethics use media appropriately and respect their own and others' privacy and property.

* Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): a set of guidelines for appropriate use of school computer networks. Most school districts have AUPs in place, but if yours does not, here's one good example.


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