Ethics - Red (Hawkins, Fall 2013)
About this class
Ethics for Science Students
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The way we treat children with parental problems as a society has a major importance in my opinion. Children are the future and we cannot know the potential any child can bring to society if we do not give him or her the chance to develop themselves. Foster care obviously does not create a stable atmosphere for children to grow in. They have no real parental support and no one to go back to if they are lost. I have not read your full paper, but I am sure there are some major consequences to the lack of familial security of these children. However, I think there is also an interesting point which I do not see in your abstract, but might be in your paper, is the problem foster care or our society’s system? What I mean by this is that nowadays, as far as what I observe, the ratio of children diagnosed with behavioral problems is much higher than before. I think it would be interesting to further continue research on this topic, but try to understand that if the problem comes from familial support, does it mean that the way parents raise their children might influence the chance of their children developing mental behavioral problems? I think if such a researched proved to be conclusive, there are many improvements we could bring to our society to reduce the problems for children even though it might be shocking for many parents.
Homelessness is definitely a problem in our society for which it is possible to see a solution but harder to implement it. I totally agree that the current help system we have in place supports the homeless by allowing them to survive, but not to quit homelessness. A few months ago, I learned about a graduate student in computer science who wanted to do a social experiment with a homeless person. He asked the man to choose between $100 and a low level computer including coding lessons. The person chose to take the computer and came every day to take coding lessons. Following the project the person’s story became very popular and he is now using his skills to improve the world rather than just use it to make money. I think stories like this show that there are ways to get out of homelessness, but that most of them are alternative method not commonly used. I researched the old news to find this story and I joined the following link which shows what this man as achieved since choosing to take a laptop rather than money.
Cyberbullying is truly a dangerously growing threat to the online security of users from a social perspective. Protecting users from malware and technical problem is easy to do compared to protecting users from other users. Reducing cyberbullying is a fight in which we must stand together as a society. Throughout my research this semester I have been reading a lot about anonymity in the online world. There are many internet activists who believe that the online world should be entirely anonymous compared to the current trend of social networks to identify our every move. One of the major sources of cyberbullying that I know of happen on social networks. If a malicious person can gain access to another person’s account by obtaining the password through social engineering or other means, then it is easy to deprecate the reputation of that person. My own research focuses on the anonymity of payments over the internet. The main payment method which I discussed is the Bitcoin, which is encrypted and secure. The system itself has never been compromised, however the wallets of users have been stolen in the past by similar means that can be used to steal social network passwords. I think there are many events disastrous for teenagers that could be avoided from an improved security of social network accounts. However, it is hard to prevent social engineering and it is currently the most widely used and most successful hacking method on the internet. How could we educate teenagers to notice social engineering techniques and defend themselves against it?
Any form of cancer or tumor is a great threat to our society and should be researched as much as possible to prevent future death. I think the organization of 5k runs is much more beneficial overall than a simple collection of money. Organizing a run promotes healthy habits as well as create memories for those who participate in it. It is much easier to remember running for a cause and donating money than simply donating money which is often forgotten. I think this organization can sensibilize people to problems caused by brain tumors as well as contribute to research.
I didn’t know that social networks had such an important reach toward people for non-profit organization. I myself am usually annoyed by any form of promotions with the objective of collecting money on social networks. However, I do see how it is possible to share their message and educate people on the issue they are trying to solve. I agree with you that a lot of organizations solely rely on their own website for internet involvement. As you said, it is important to use resources such as YouTube and Twitter to be able to change the world. Modernization is important and opens the organization to a much larger public of interest as a source of revenue.
The online world offers the possibility to create viral campaign which increases exponentially the amount of people an organization can touch. The Major Multimedia article “Click to Donate – A Nonprofit Campaign That Went Viral”, clearly demonstrates the effectiveness an organization can achieve by successfully creating a viral campaign. Similarly and following my own research, using the viral power of the internet can create and bring an enormous amount of money for any organization. For example, the virtual currency Bitcoin, which is the focus of my current research, was valued at a few cents in 2009 and anybody who acquired a few could sell them at over 1000$ back in December 2013 because it went viral and its value was catapulted.
Here is a link to the article:
Helping children come of age peacefully is an important matter. The moments we face in our lives while growing are what defines our future. Kids Help Phone is a great example of an organization who understand this problem and wishes to make a difference.
It is great to understand how much it is possible to change children’s lives and future by simply helping them overcome their problems. Changing society itself is much harder than changing an individual and I do understand how you say that changing individual life is a start for a larger change. I think your idea of educating adults and parents to help them deal with children who have problems is a great idea. Parents are able to guide their children much more easily than a random person on the end of a phone line.
However, I believe the problem is often to recognize that there is a problem in the first place. For a child seeking help, it is much easier to confess to a stranger than to your parents as there is no direct repercussions. On the other hand, parents can easily overlook that their children have problems if they are being kept in secret by the child. It becomes really hard to educate parents who need it because those who needs it the most might not know it.
A great example of parents’ blindness to their child’s situation comes from the multiple bullying possibilities offered by the internet. Since it is not directly happening, not everybody knows that a certain person bullies another. The concerns of this problem are clearly expressed by HealthDay on their article “Think You Know What Your Kid’s Up to Online? You Don’t” published on October 31, 2013.
Here is a link to the article:
I think you are totally right the electronic media is taking much of the time that was once used to play outside. It is also true that those media are much more easily accessible today than they were a few years ago.
I don’t think the problems apply only to children. I myself, often, if not always, cut my sleep time because I am browsing the internet and reading interesting articles. However, I don’t think it creates problems in social skills, though I agree it might have an effect on health because of a lack of physical exercise. In fact, I think having access to an online community is a great advantage for developing social skills.
I think I myself am a great example of this feat. I am not a person who will bond nor will want to bond with friends easily. Most of my personal interests aren’t shared by many people and the friends I made growing didn’t share them either. Having access to an online community which breaks the limits of geographical distance has allowed me to meet a lot of people who share common interest with me. The amount of social expression and fun that results in those discussions are much more appreciated than those I used to have with local friends before.
The internet allows a lot of people to break the distance barrier and hang out with friends much more often than it would be possible without it. Briefly, I think the social possibilities offered by the internet are much larger than those that are possible by simply going out. These online communities are growing each day and there are now even online currencies, for example the Bitcoin, which are available and contribute to a global worldwide social interaction.
I think in a society as multicultural as we currently live in, religion and the difference in religious opinions can have a major impact. I agree with you that religion can cause a lot of relational problems, even enough to start wars and genocides. I think it is considered normal for parents to share their religious views with their children. I have not experienced this myself as I live in a non-religious family, however it has always concerned me. Is it legitimate to teach religion to a child, who isn’t old enough to properly judge by himself?
I do not claim to have an answer to this question, however, I think it can relate to similar events that happened in Quebec recently. Following a bill that the government tried to pass to prevent governmental workers from wearing or expressing any religious item, many people have reacted. Many multicultural institutions such as universities, education organization, and even hospitals have protested against this as CTV Montreal’s article “Lester B. Pearson School Board condemns Charter of Values” published on December 20, 2013 explains it. The main argument of the opposition was that it strips individuals from their rights to express themselves. The opposition favors cultural and religious freedom for anybody. This subject has provoked a lot of debate and the opposition even condemned religious symbols that are more than a century old which are used in the parliament, if the bill was to pass.
In my opinion, religious beliefs are a personal choice that everyone is entitled to make on their own. I believe that no authority should have a say on religious choices as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else than the person who made her own choice. I agree with you that different religious views between parents and children are probably problematic. As a non-religious person, I do not know the views of most religion on children education, however I have always asked myself: How can a person who is considered too young to decide and vote on their own political views be considered old enough to decide and judge of the faith to guide them?
Here is a link to the supporting article:
I really like that you integrated multiple reports of incidents in your analysis. It is true that the open environment of social media leaves minimal place for a private life nowadays.
I think investigations through public Facebook activity are normal and useful. If someone goes in a public and announce their mischief, then I don’t see why there would be a problem with a police intervention occurring following the proof. However, it is really a major concern that governments and law representatives can read private messages posted on social networks. The battle for internet surveillance and privacy is a long battle that existed before the internet became public.
I have recently read a book on this issue which actually presented quite interesting perspectives to protect our identity through online messaging. There currently exists multiple free software that are available that can encrypt messages and would make it virtually impossible for anyone reading it to decode it without the key. It is even possible to encrypt our emails to prevent them from being read by unwanted eyes. Currently, it is not illegal to use encryption, but many governments have tried in the past to implement regulation over encryption, but privacy and freedom succeeded in stopping those laws. Any average internet user can send secure and private messages using free and easily available software. However, anyone who voluntarily decides to place some information on a social networking website has to recognize that it becomes in a way public information. If someone wants to keep something private, it shouldn’t even be considered to place the information on a social network.
For anyone interested in looking to encrypt their emails, I would recommend looking up GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) on google along with your email address provider.
I agree with this article that the exposition to different media offered by technology influences our mind even more with the amount of publicity which we see every day. However, I also totally agree with you that it is not enough to explore the impact of, for example, the use of technology by the media and relate it as the main source of anxiety.
I have stumbled upon an article by Heather Hatfield “Power Down for Better Sleep” published back in January 2008 but that I believe still applies today. Technology gives us access to the outside world, even after hours that is during the night. For example, without lights, there isn’t much else to do during the night than sleep. On the other hand, with an internet access, it is quite easy to communicate with friends late at night in the comfort of our house. However, actions like responding to important emails or doing a cerebrally demanding activity on the internet prevents our brain from starting to shut down for the night. In her article, Hatfield explains how these different impacts of technology reduces the amount of sleep a person can get at night which in turn is also stressful.
I myself know that I am struggling with this problem nearly every night. When I get back home, why would I go to sleep when there is so much I can do, so many people I can talk to? I think the accessibility given to us by technology is harmful to our sleep, which itself makes us more stressed because we are not well rested enough to perform an entire day normally.
Here is a link to the article:
I agree with you that technology is the greatest ally of education and can be used to try to fill gaps between the academic performances of different students. I also appreciate the fact that technology can also help excelling student by giving them access to more advance material and teaching methods which couldn’t be used by regular students at the same academic level. Using technology to help excelling student to learn more by themselves rather than revise what they have already learned as well as allowing students with difficulties to acquire more attention from the teacher is the way to go for the future of education.
A recent study explained by Catherine Solyom in her article “Benefits of iPads in classrooms outweigh the problems: study” published on December 13, 2013, demonstrates that there are more benefits than problems coming out of the use of technology. While the distractions offered by an iPad or a laptop are great with access to the internet, they also offer new and interesting ways for students to learn. While they can help teacher manage a classroom better, they can also give a bigger interest and funnier learning experience to students. In her article, Solyom explains how the introduction of laptops in 2006 in Quebec has helped reduce the dropout rate because it gave a more interesting perspective on education to students.
Nearly 10 years ago, when I was in elementary school, my class was selected because of our teacher’s effort and we spent two years with every student of the class having a laptop at its disposal. I think, proportionally to other classes, we learned much more because we were able to do almost everything faster. It also helped the teacher focus on struggling students since it was simple to organize more advanced exercises for those who excelled. Briefly, I agree with you that technology is one of the biggest game changer in education.
Here is a link to the article:
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