General access to the electronic media results in a number of considerable menaces. The following subjects have been chosen for diagnostic and defining purposes as for the desired ethical behaviours:
- secondary level students
- college students
- informal groups
The attitudes of the subjects are considered in a number of different aspects. The subject of analysis was the natural inability to select and process information, which is typical of teenagers. The need of responsible course of action of the subjects capable of supporting the process of shaping the appropriate behaviours has been pointed out.
1. Diagnosis of the current conditions
Ethical duties seem to be the responsibility of all the parts participating in the process of the electronic data transmission. The Internet appears to rise peculiar fears. This is so, due to the radically new results it causes, such as considerable depreciation of the information tools, transmission unification or lack of the responsible reaction and certain weakening of interpersonal contacts.
Information transmitted electronically can both be used in order to stop the general progress and to obstruct the integral human wealth, alienating, isolating or making the humans themselves unimportant. It can also involve people in communities which are deprived and organised according to falsely valued communities.
A real danger appears – the tendency to present matters that are morally doubtful and ignoring the values that are of noble quality. It seems to be extremely challenging for the pedagogical process organisers to cope with the matter.
The spread of misinformation, vulgarity and cliché support appear to be the basic issues endangering the appropriate moral condition of the youth.
2. Subject and methodology of the research
Students of the secondary level and collage level were chosen to provide the data for this research.
The main research issues concerned moral aspects while using the Internet during the lessons as well as in the students’ free time.
The subject of the analysis was the relation: pedagogical subject – type and contents of the electronic information. Particular attention was paid to the contents of the most negative influence on the young people’s morality, such as sex, violence etc.
The results of the research confirm the thesis about the moral menace appearing while using the means of electronic data transmission.
The study signals the need of the widest possible participation of all the pedagogical institutions in the process of shaping the youth’s – socially accepted – moral system.
3. Available precautionary measures
A number of precautionary measures are constantly being taken to deal with the negative influence that the electronic information has on the young. In the document titled The Basic Issues of the General Education the Polish Ministry of Education has – among the contents of the computer science education – specified
- benefits of general and free access to information
- consequences for both the individuals and for the society
- moral and legal issues associated with using the electronic media.
As the educational and pedagogical achievements the following are exposed as the principals:
- ability to analyse the offers addressed at the young people
- skill of choosing the offer applying the appointed criterion, also rooted in the moral values
- capability of evaluating the computer science application
- ability to evaluate the usefulness of various files as well as the ways and forms of their presentation
The above mentioned document is obligatory for all those organising the pedagogical/educational process.
A document that appears to be useful and helpful in the activities aiming at shaping young people’s moral views is the Pope’s Council of the Mass Media Relations appeal dated 4 April 2000.
The ETHICOMP conference also seems to play an important part here.
1. Directions of the perspective activities
We are of opinion that the freedom in expressing one’s opinions, ideas exchange and opinion discussions should always be supported. However, the above assumption analysed from the ethical point of view does not constitute an eternal and unchangeable norm. It is as well certain that the right to free and independent information transmission is supposed to respect truth, justice and personal life respect.
We believe in the rule that in the data/information transmission the right of one man must not be violated in the name of another man’s right.
The main principles of the social ethics helpfulness, justice, equality and responsibility are to be fully applied.
The ethical sphere does not concern only the transmission itself and its process but the basic structural and system issues, too.
Here we present the necessary factors that appear to be of utmost importance as they influence shaping the desired behaviours in subjects’ participating in the electronic transmission.
First of all, we emphasise the mental aspect – making the subjects aware of the menace existence. We critically investigate the institutions and organisations that do not respect the ethical norms in their – presented to the youth – information.
A need of dialogue in which all the participants of the social communication are involved is shown. The dialogue’s overall aim should be promoting/ creating widely accepted attitudes.
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