Online vs. Offline Morality in Kids
Michigan State University is looking to start the conversation about how kids’ offline moral standards translate into their online interactions. They have no conclusive information at this time, but they believe more time needs to be devoted to understanding the correlation between the two. From the Wall Street Journal Blog,
The study, titled “Gender, Race and Morality in the Virtual World and Its Relationship to Morality in the Real World,” looks at responses from 515 seventh-graders to questions about the acceptability of “virtual” actions. Those actions included spreading computer viruses, emailing test answers to friends, viewing pornography and sending sexually explicit messages to strangers. It compares those results to the same students’ responses to questions about real-world behavior like cheating on tests, bullying or teasing, lying to parents or teachers and using racial slurs.
Without knowing anymore detail about the study, I’m interested to know how they correlated and valued the corresponding online and offline behaviors. In the world of social interactions there are so many contextual variants and explanations for human actions, it has to be challenging to assign a finite moral equivalent to different actions.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for more on this front, and the obvious follow up question of how do we teach kids to exercise their moral conscious in the online world as they would the offline?
Entry filed under: Communication, Digital Citizenship, Education, Kids, Learning, News, Research, Youth. Tags: Gender Race and Morality in the Virtual World and Its Relationship to Morality in the Real World, Michigan State University, Online morality.