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Last Updated: Oct 20, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Ethical Considerations Print Page

Ethical Considerations of Technology from Emerging Ed Tech

Electronic Waste

Another ethical issue that we don't often think about is what happens to our old devices when we're done with them. If we throw them in the trash, that's not cool, as there are toxic chemicals in them. If we give them to a “recycler”, unfortunately many of them ship them to Asia where they are poisoning the environment as disadvantaged people do their own very manual form of recycling to reclaim the gold and other valuable materials in this equipment. This news footage below explore the problem in ore depth.

The bottom line is that it is very important that old equipment be donated to someone who will reuse it or, if it is going to be disposed of, find a place that certifies that they use proper disposal practices (Best Buy here in the US for example, although what they can recycle varies by state).

It's a lot to Think About, but we can't Just Ignore it

All of this just scratches the surface of the ethical and legal dilemmas that the ever-increasing growth of digital technology and data is bringing. We haven't even touched on some issues with bigger implications (like Artificial Intelligence, increased automation displacing more lower wage jobs, or the relationship between digital technologies and the human body and mind).

Society and the world in general is still only gradually exploring and adopting to the implications of these changes. Educators have a great opportunity to help students (and colleagues) be aware of these considerations and open to discussing and addressing the challenges they bring.


Guidelines for Staying Secure

From Tech Insider

  1. ‘If you wouldn’t do it face to face - Don’t do it online’

“The advice I give my own family and friends is encapsulated in: “If you wouldn’t do it face to face - Don’t do it online” For example, would you go up to a complete stranger and start a conversation? Would you be abusive to friends or strangers in a restaurant?

Just because you feel protected by the apparent distance a screen gives between you and the person you’re talking to, you must remember that online is still the real world.

Mid to late teens need to remember that everything they do over the web is captured forever and could come back to haunt them. Many employers and university admissions offices look at social media profiles when researching candidates.

      2.‘Beware of strangers bearing gifts’

'Adults have proven once and again vulnerable to cyber attacks and therefore we cannot expect children to be any better – especially given that their sense of curiosity is far more developed and their sense of caution far less mature.

I do not expect my children to behave online much different than in the real world and therefore I explain to them about hackers being a type of criminal that breaks into your house through the computer rather than through the window. It’s easy for them to understand it.

I also teach them to beware of strangers bearing gifts much like they should in the physical world. For example, don’t open unsolicited email attachments.

      3. ‘Once you’ve written something you can’t delete it’

“The Internet is a fantastic place, but you have to be careful what you do and say when you are there. Don’t say things which you wouldn’t talk about in conversations with your family, think about what you do and say, you may well regret what you do by hurting someone or being hurt yourself.

Remember once you’ve written something you can’t delete it, despite what Google are doing in Europe, the right to be forgotten doesn’t apply everywhere! If what you do or say is controversial it will be copied many times and will always come back and bite you, even in later life when you apply to go to college, university or even a job.

How you connect is important too, the gadgets you use, smart phones, tablets even old fashioned computers all need to be protected as well. But that’s only one part of it, those applications and services you use need to be protected, you don’t want others seeing your information. Use sensible passwords and protection, it’s a little price to pay for the security of your information and intimate details.

Don’t be frightened to ask for help either, there’s lots of places and people who can show you what to do and how to behave such as Get Safe On-line, friends and teachers.”

      4. ‘Just apply standards you adopt offline to the online world’

“If you go out would you leave your front door open? Do you talk to strangers in the street who you know nothing about or meet them in a secluded location ? Do you tell strangers your deepest secrets and all your personal information?

Remember the cartoon with a dog by a computer and the caption “The Beauty of the Internet is no-one knows you are a Dog“. People may not be what they seem and the 10 year old girl you are chatting with could be a 60 year old man

Just apply standards you adopt offline to the on-line world and this will increase safety online. Be sensible and just remember that you have to be on your guard . Be careful about giving our any personal information including photos as once they are out there they could go anywhere.”

      5. ‘Anything that is put online should assumed to be permanent’

“Kids are implicitly very trusting, so it’s possible that they are more likely to fall prey to a social engineering attempt and as such they need to be taught to spot them and not be afraid to question or challenge the need for disclosing things like passwords or other sensitive information in response to an e-mail, text, IM or social networking message.

Further, it’s important for them to understand that anything that is put online should assumed to be permanent and they must be careful what they expose and that their identity and all that goes with it is precious.

In the case of certain environments, considering the use of a Pseudonym, not disclosing one’s age or gender, and limiting identifying information for some of their interactions online is important.”

      6. ‘Follow the same rules you would follow in the real world’

“Follow the same rules you would follow in the real world. If you aren’t sure about something or someone ask your parents or another responsible adult and if anything ‘unusual’ happens when you are using your computer tell your parents.


Privacy from Emerging Ed Tech


We've only just begun to explore the impact of the explosive growth of connected devices and what it means for our privacy. Of course, even before today's all-present, wireless, IoT-rich world, we've been exposing loads of data online through Google searches, social media posts, and so many of the things we do on the web. Many of our clicks translate to data that the Googles and Facebooks of the world can sell to marketers and other interested parties. And we don't see one ‘hard' dime of that income (unless you count the free services we get from these companies, supported in part by their being able to sell and use this data, which is certainly a value in and of itself). But that's just a tiny consideration when it comes to privacy.The bigger concern is the ease with which we may expose our own information, and in doing so, open the door to potential exposure of information about those we live with, potentially putting them in harms way. (Do you think you have “Nothing to Hide“?)

The next level of how this age of massive automated capture of data has been heralded came with the wireless, mobile web and “IoT”. The “Internet of Things” = cameras, sensors, AI assistants like Alexa and Siri, and countless other wireless gadgets, pulling data about us night and day and feeding the big data frenzy! Everyone of us is creating more data every day than we realize. Even people who may not touch a piece of tech are getting captured, simply walking down a city street (where they get recorded on cameras) or driving through a toll (where EZ-Pass style systems capture data). And when we bring Alexa and Google Home into our homes, who can ensure that a bad player won't access that device and figure out when we're home or not (we already know the CIA probably can)? How's that for an invasion of privacy?

Many have written that “Privacy is Dead“, but we musn't go down without a fight!  The scariest aspect of the loss of privacy is the ease with which hackers, organized crime, and even nation/states can access our data and steal our identities. In this case, a little healthy paranoia can be a good thing.

To explore this further, here is a list of “9 Disturbing Data Privacy and Security Concerns We Should ALL be Aware of“. 


Cyber Security Tips from Emerging Ed Tech

Cybercrime has become more of a threat than traditional types of crime. Crimes like burglary, larceny theft, and even violent crime have significantly declined in the last ten years because criminals have found a new way to break into our homes through our screens, giving them access to much more than what's physically in our houses or our pockets.

On top of theft, we also have predators to worry about.

Teaching kids about cyber security is mostly taking those rules you've taught them about the real world, and applying them to cyberspace. Don't talk to strangers – don't chat with or accept friend requests from people you don't know; don't take candy from a stranger – don't accept any sort of free prize from someone you don't know; and most certainly don't share your personal information with anyone on the Internet. You should also teach them to create sound passwords and not use the same one for everything.

Teens and Tech

As for teens and pre-teens, it may be a good idea to show them some real examples of Internet sharing gone wrong. Teens like to share what they are doing, who they are with, what they're wearing and many more aspects of their lives on social media. But they usually don't realize that what they post can be viewed by anyone – their teachers, their principal, their families. Even if their accounts are private, kids talk, and word gets around to the adults. And there are ways for strangers to hack right into their accounts and see those posts they thought were private. Even deleting a post is not as sound as it may seem, because once something goes up on the Internet, there are ways to dig it back up even if it's been deleted.

All students need to know that this can greatly affect their reputation now, and in the long run when it comes to getting into college and applying for jobs. A simple Google search by a future college administrator or employer can turn their shining resume and credentials into a big fat “no” because of something they posted 5 years ago.   

Tech Features That Pose Risks

There are other basic technology features that can put young adults in danger & you should be aware of as well. GPS and location services can pinpoint exactly where you are, alerting predators. Posting when you are home alone, or even out of town with your family shows predators that they or their possessions are in a vulnerable position. Predators have even found ways to hack into computers and spy on people even when the camera is off, so keeping the screen shut when not in use, or covering the camera is a good idea.

Meeting people online has become more of a norm these days, and while it may seem like an interesting way to make friends and start relationships, it should be restricted to responsible adults. A minor meeting up with someone they met online could be disastrous, so avoid it, but if it must happen, don't ever go alone.


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