Social media in education: ethical concerns

Enl@ce Revista Venezolana de Información, Tecnología y Conocimiento, Jul 14, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a summary of a recent workshop on ethical concerns around the use of social media in education. Four major areas were highlighted: the need for a code of conduct or legislation, online harassment and bullying, intellectual property, and authenticity of voice. I don't consider these ethical issues as such, but rather, areas of concern where unethical or illegal behaviour might cause problems. The ethical we issues we face are things like the questions surrounding personal data collection, questions about whether what one reads on the internet is (or should be) true, what types of information fall beyond the bounds of legitimate posting (for example, whether we should block war photos, fail videos, and revealing photos, etc). It's an ethical issue, in other words, when we don't know the proper resolution of the question; simply saying something is bad and shouldn't be done is a management issue.

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