This section introduces important concepts that impact our ethical behaviour such as ethical development, empathy and laws, rules and personal morality. Then we explore how these ethical concepts affect the ways that young people behave online as well as the opportunities they represent for developing digital literacy skills.
Though we sometimes talk about the online world as being “virtual reality,” the things we do there can have real consequences. When we’re using the same screen to talk to our friends that we use to kill aliens or when we can’t see the people we’re hurting, robbing or copying from, it’s easy to forget that what we do online matters. This section looks at some of the reasons why youth might behave differently online than they do offline and strategies for getting them to see the online world through an ethical lens.
In this lesson, students begin by considering one of five scenarios that illustrate unhealthy relationship behaviours relating to digital media: pressuring others to share private content, cyberstalking, harassment and abuse of trust. Students then relate the scenarios to their own experience by brainstorming other examples of these behaviours and voting on which they feel are most relevant to their lives. The teacher then leads a guided discussion on the reasons why unhealthy behaviours may be more common when we communicate through digital media and ways in which they can be avoided or mitigated. Finally, students act out their own scenario in which they portray young people successfully dealing with one of the unhealthy relationship behaviours.
Because of the ways that digital media leave out many of the cues that prompt us to feel empathy, it is easy for young people to sometimes forget that real people – with real feelings – are at the heart of online conversations. In this lesson, students are provided with opportunities to explore this concept and discuss the importance of using empathy and common sense when talking to others online.