Who could predict a global phenomenon that would change the definition of the word “friend” and bring a social crisis that places previous ethical theories in need of a cyber-makeover. A market research firm interviewed by New York Times(2007), estimates that consumers in urban societies absorb 5,000 media images and messages of information in a single day.
The infiltration of media at rapid speeds changes information and access of information. Ethicists are now scrambling for new alternatives to this global phenomenon. For the past century utilitarian perspectives has dominated media ethics at its core and it’s clear that outdated approaches are in need of review. In fact Elliot(2007), states that utilitarianism can be found in legislation and is morally the guiding theory behind creating laws in a democratic society. Media ethics developed roots with utilitarianism and democratic corporation meant laws would maximize the total happiness of the community.
As our world develops future technologies our society as a whole and the individual moral agents that utilize the expanding communication tools. Learn the ethical knowledge to consider media literacy as a duty in the digital age. To bridge the digital gap and empower internet users to engage in a digitally responsible way. As deontological approach towards media first review the context to determine what duty or obligation does the media representation fulfill. Does the media provide a message that I should support, share, or promote? Taking on a duty to treat others with respect as Mosser(2013) conceptualized as “Duty Ethics” can be difficult to absorb considering cyber ethics has not yet been fully explored.
Navigating such a complex network the internet developed perspectives such as; the Speech Revolution. Highlighting the development of real-time media uploads with live stream, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo which creates a digital footprint of your internet activity, hence launching a digital presence that can not be erased. Media giants such as Google develop advertising techniques that monitor a user’s browser history gaining information on words that associate with your internet use. Doesn’t this breach an ethical concern into privacy? Have Google’s practices violated medias utilitarian foundation? Considering deontological ethics one must assume google’s duty to provide data gathered through analytic review.
After all media at one time was at the forefront of the news empire says Eliot(2007) and information was presented through radio, broadcast media, press publications, print ads, movies, news, and television. The information was scholarly, maintaining prestige and integrity by following journalistic duties to the community. Journalism works well with democracy, when the media obtains facts and information that will impact the masses the overall approach remains parallel to utilitarianism.
As media now expands to digital platforms privacy and right to intellectual property have entered the debate in regards to freedom of speech. As previous media contributors consider all variables the press may consider ethical dilemmas such as: distributive justice, protection of intellectual property, diversity in pop culture, violence on television and in movies, truth-telling, digital manipulation, conflict of interest and exposure of pornography. Media has facets in which theories maintain preliminary perspectives as social media, rapid media and real-time broadcast research remains in its infancy.
Communication theories surface as cyber-ethicists like myself develop strategies to identify uncertified journalistic viewpoints on the internet. So what should be allowed on the information highway? Can media be divided into categories protected by ownership making the responsibility fall on web-site developers?
All in all the internet craze places factual media in jeopardy of losing its powerful purpose. In turn, emotivism considers theories that are implied causing extreme confusion and misunderstanding. Media is viewed emotionally considering the context through feelings and thoughts. The moral response is simply an emotional response leaving little logic to the practice of ethics(Mosser,2013). Media theories could suggest that emotivism is so diverse, and feelings develop with experience and understanding of how to respond such stressors and image can enhance. With theories derived only from emotion one must question how media affects the fundamental development for adolescent youth. As presented before today we see 5000 media images a year so that’s one million eight hundred twenty-five thousand images a year. Emotivism can not be eliminated but evaluated to adopt coping mechanisms for misinterpreted media on the internet.
How can a society determine the effects on adolescent development when research seems non-existent ? Take for instance the fading trend of landline phones. Smartphones, tablets, and internet apps have replaced households means of communication. With that said cell phones are now being used by younger generations. If I work until 4:30 I have my cell phone, my daughter age 13 walks home to the house. If she had an emergency she would need a phone. Consider an urban society, students ride public buses to school, as one might assume the population is condensed causing crime to thrive. Phones now provide location capability, access to emergency personnel and ensure minors have access to communication. With safety in mind cell phones can provide necessary tools for youth to develop technological skills, organization, and responsibility of ownership. Still ethical media usage remains a topic of critical concern as media literacy must explore all facets of media. If images can cause such diverse responses isn’t there a need for regulations on powerful media giants to shift from analytics to media education?
Cyberethics is formulated to consider utilitarianism when media’s platform contains information a society is entitled to acquire: such as news, press media, political media, alert media, crisis and weather media. A utilitarian may ask; What information presented will have the greatest response from the most people. Emotivism can not be ignored, rather used as an igniter for conversation among or developing youth.
Creating global collaboration the utilitarianism way could enhance media exposure sharing vital health information ultimately saving lives. Such images and context how the media is presented can change the intended impact on the social institution. Consider media as an enterprise, a dominant social institution that is powered by influence and enhanced with media to validate the message.
As we proceed to uncover ethical situations implemented through use of media and powered by media giants, internet practices on the other hand must be evaluated to the extent of reform. The responsibility to educate our youth through media literacy programs is the next critical step in this cyber ethics revolution. The internet as a public entity must be respected and information must be considered privileged. Therefore media responsibility becomes a collaborative effort among all users, a societal obligation to absorb media with logic to identify its purpose or intent to avoid persuasive misleads.
As one must assume responsibility as a moral agent in a society flooded with a variety of information media can be hard to navigate. In turn ethics in media becomes a shared process of discovery, discussion and interpretation(Elliot,2007). In retrospect a deontological duty as adult moral agent is to educate and guide our youth. As adaptation of technology leaves large gaps in adult users, adults struggle to understand the inter-workings of the connected web, leaving the adolescent teens vulnerable to eroticism enhanced through media exposure and poor regulation on inappropriate internet behavior.