Ethical Dilemmas in Children and Teenagers because of The Internet

Today’s culture is ever changing and the most important part of this constantly evolving world is the internet. The generation that is most affected by the internet today is our youth and future generation, i.e., children. They require the internet for everything; for doing their school work, to playing games online or doing social networking.

But the correct way to learning and the proper approach to education is the basic factor when it comes to thinking about a child’s future and the difficulties faced by him/ her. Also, the added issues are the social and legal norms that describe the way a child is supposed to behave; and whether his behaviour is correct or not, based on the fixed patterns.

When it comes to the internet, some kinds of activities are international and need the interest of global authorities while the others are more local in nature. They require the attention of parents/ teachers so that they are aware of what the children are watching/ doing on the internet.

The filters given at the various network levels also act as additional protection. So, it is important for the parents, teachers, guardians, friends and schools to educate the children and youth on the dangers and duties that they have while using the internet.

This could sanction the youth to identify and steer clear of all kinds of dangers, while providing them with many online skills so that they are able to sensibly achieve the advantages that the internet activity provides.

What is an Ethical Dilemma?

Any situation, in which a person has to make a tough choice and all the options seem to look wrong in one or the other way is known as an ethical dilemma.

All of us face ethical dilemmas when we have to choose between two or more contradictory options; especially when both of them seem correct and decent. At such a point, a person has to choose between the lesser evil.

An ethical lapse happens, when you have to make a choice that is completely unethical or wrong. Sometime an ethical dilemma might lead to an ethical lapse but it is not always the case. It might happen, it might not.

An ethical dilemma is basically a decision-making problem. In order to overcome this problem, you need to do the following:

  • First calculate the facts that are in front of you.
  • Then, you need to identify the applicable ideas that are viable in the relevant scenario.
  • After that you have to think about the conflict that is arisen and the reason behind it.
  • Then, you need to compare the different options present in front of you.
  • Anaysis is required to understand how the different (ethical or unethical) principles apply in the case present.
  • Finally, depending on the circumstances, you need to select the option that is best for you and all concerned.

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Types of Ethical Dilemmas

Ethical values are mostly the commonly accepted beliefs regarding a person’s behaviour in a particular situation. Specifically, they refer to the general behavioural expectations that are from a person, living in a society and being active in it in any form.

Generally, people have to undergo many types of ethical dilemmas in order to prevent themselves from doing anything that is not right. Following are some of the common types of ethical dilemma that we face in our daily lives.

1. Guilt Establishment:

Sometimes, we have to deliver and bring forward the wrong doing of our loved ones. In such a case, a difficult situation arises. As we have an ethical and moral responsibility to speak out and bring forward the truth but doing that will hurt the one we love.

So, it leads to the establishment of guilt in a person and at times it even prevents them from speaking the truth.

2. Insufficient Expertise:

At times, we are faced with a difficult situation in which one has to act upon a situation on which one has no control or expertise. The situation might very well be beyond one’s power. In such a case, an ethical dilemma occurs about what to do.

As you are not an expert, so you do not have any control over the situation but since you have no option so you have to take charge of the situation as well.

3. Looking for Shortcuts:

The most popular ethical dilemma comes when one, at times, is in hurry and wishes to take a shortcut in order to pull oneself out of a situation. Like, if you have some work and your friend needs your help, then you tend to do his work in a hurry so that you can go back to your work.

Situations like these make you face an ethical dilemma because you know that what you are doing is not correct but have no option as your own work is you priority.

These are the ethical dilemmas that we all face but the situation becomes more complicated when children are faced with these difficult choices to make. So, let us see how the usage of the internet by the children poses an ethical dilemma for them.

Does the Use of the Internet by the Children and Teenagers Pose an Ethical Dilemma?

Yes, the use of the internet by the children and teenagers poses an ethical dilemma for them. They are generally very soft and kind hearted and when faced with some difficult choices to make they tend to get anxious, worried and temperamental.

Nowadays, the internet is becoming very popular among both children as well as teenagers as a major source of information and knowledge. Due to the internet, the children and teenagers of today have a vast amount of information available for use.

However, there can be many real, moral and ethical dilemmas and dangers faced by any child who is left unsupervised on the net. Most of the sites on the net give children many amazing resources to enrich their knowledge. These resources could include different sources such as encyclopedias, access to online world libraries and other valuable material.

Teenagers like to play different kinds of games and interact with their friends through the various social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.

In real life, most parents teach their children about how to face all the ethical dilemmas they might face, like whether or not to talk with unknown people, or open the door for strangers in case they are home alone, or give any kind of information on the telephone to unknown callers.

But, they do not understand that the same manner of supervision and care is required to help solve the ethical dilemma the children might face online as well.

Parents cannot simply think that their child will be shielded and well guarded from any evil by the moral supervision or ethical regulations given by the online services. This is because unlike the scrutiny that a parent does for his child at home, these chat rooms are completely anonymous and even the child does not whom he/ she is dealing with.

So, at times children or even teenagers, inadvertently, end up sharing some personal information, (like name, age, phone number or home address) or agree to meet strangers. They, at times, feel like they have to do so because of the peer pressure or to look and act cool in front of their friends.

But when they do so, they struggle with the ethical dilemma of what to do. So, the excessive usage of the internet by the children and the teenagers, inadvertently, becomes a source of ethical dilemma for them.

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How do I know My Child has an Ethical Dilemma?

You would know that your child has an ethical dilemma if he is all the time upset, mentally disturbed, unable to concentrate on things and all the time looks and sound mentally lost. If he/ she is facing an ethical dilemma then he will not be able to do anything peacefully.

He will have anxiety issues, problem studying or playing or doing any of the things that he likes doing normally.  This is because children do not have much idea about how to handle delicate situations. They do not know how to weigh the variables and make the best decision.

They find that deciding the best way to solve complicated moral and ethical dilemmas is always a difficult point; particularly when any choice that you make is against the societal and ethical norms that have been set to rule our lives.

In such cases, the fight between right and wrong is difficult one for a child. He might feel confused, discouraged, nervous or even scared. In such a case as a parent, we must help him and guide him to the best of our ability. This will help the child make the right decision and overcome his moral and ethical dilemma.

>> Check This Super Smart Cyber Guide for Kids to Stay Safe Online

What is the Solution?

The most crucial problem that a person with an ethical dilemma faces is that there is no clear answer, which would agree with all the societal norms. There is no clear right or wrong answer. In the entire history of mankind, people have faced many ethical dilemmas, and a lot of philosophers and psychologists have aimed at and worked to find solutions for these dilemmas.

Some of the common ideologies that are followed to solve an ethical dilemma are as follows:

  • Reject the dilemma: Carefully analyse and think about the entire situation. Sometimes, we do not even know and the situation is such that the dilemma can be rejected entirely and a new scenario can be built in its place.
  • The greater good theory: Alternatives are always available. We just have to think about them. So, at times, the best option is to take the decision that would benefit the maximum number of people. It might hurt a few but the greater good theory works in most of the cases.
  • Find another option: Instead of pondering over a situation, the best way to go ahead is to think of an alternative, so the dilemma itself remains no longer valid. This option is especially valid when parents are trying to help young or children or teenagers solve their ethical dilemmas.

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Final Thoughts

Ethical dilemmas quite regularly haunt us. Almost every part of our life can become a reason for an ethical dilemma. It could be our relations, friends, family members or at times even strangers and random incidents. Especially in the case of children; it is difficult for them to determine the correct solution to a dilemma.

This, at times, can have serious consequences in their mind and heart and can trouble them psychologically as well. At their tender age, they tend to take small issues very seriously and start to react accordingly, sometimes even hurting themselves physically in the process. They tend to drift apart from their families.

Parents and teacher should always remember that talking with children is the best way to make them overcome life hurdles. If you spend time with your child then it will give you a chance to get to know them better. This will give them confidence to be more open to you with their problems and discuss all life dilemmas.

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