Reflective Summary: The ethics of the Internet

This weeks topic saw more variety within the blog posts that I read as there was a choice in which ethical issue we selected. This meant that I explored the digital age in more detail as well as learning about privacy issues, from interacting with other blog posts. This week I focused on my digital tools as that was the aspect that was lacking when reading my feedback.

Nikhil’s comment on my blog post this week questioned me on whether there were any solutions to the issues that I had raised regarding education and the digital divide. The only real effort that I found on a large scale within the UK, was the Home Access scheme. However, this has recently been abolished, leaving a substantial gap in our society for those who need the help. However, Nikhil rightly pointed out that even if we were still providing laptops for these households, the children may not actually get use of them, meaning that the issue still exists.

I focused this week on blog posts that covered a different ethical issue to mine, to broaden my understanding. I commented on Tiffany’s blog post regarding online privacy mentioned that there is an issue with the government being over precautious and taking joke tweets seriously. Whilst I think that this does happen, I feel that the governments control on our social media information is necessary. I linked this to the London riots, which were predominantly organised through social media. Yes, some jokes made online may be taken seriously and result in police investigations but having this system also means that real threats are also monitored. You wouldn’t joke about having a gun in a police station, it’s the same online.

I also commented on Will’s post this week, that presented ethics in terms of employees using social media websites for recruitment purposes. Will discussed some things that could be considered a ‘deterrent’ for an employer and concluded that it was down to personal opinion. However, he also acknowledged that there is extensive criteria to ensure the legality of screening candidates through their online profiles. I questioned Will as to whether these laws were different to if an employer rejected a candidate because of their gender/race from an offline interview or CV.

 

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Who gets left behind?

As we have explored in previous weeks, we are living in a digital age whereby technology is used within most aspects of our everyday lives. For example, this module is based fully on online interactivity. Whilst this is the norm for most of us, with the UK moving up on the connectivity table to eighth place, many developing countries do not have such advancements. Officials forecast that almost 40% of the world’s population would be online by the end of the year. However, this also still leaves 4.4 billion people offline.

The Powtoon I created below shares some of the reasons that the divide exists.

As a result of the above reasons, the digital divide has become a prominent ethical issue within business. As mentioned in last week’s blog post, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn, an online social media platform, to search for candidates. Not having access to the internet, denies people the opportunity to be found. This reduces their chances of employability due to the heavy reliance of online professional profiles.

Remote working has been a further trend in the UK that disregards people without access to a computer or internet. One article shows that four million people in the UK already work from home, and officials only predict this number to increase. These people work via fully-connected virtual offices, meaning that meetings are now held over group video call. Once again, this group of people who are not connected at all are missing out on job opportunities despite being fully qualified.

new-piktochart_842_5e455729cf335dd2c6f062c8d163abf237b8b6c9.png

The Piktochart that I created above highlights how students without internet are affected negatively. In terms of education, the divide typically occurs due to low income. The fact that this divide can actually impact on a child’s education, grades and therefore future is a concerning matter. In the UK, the recent coalition government actually cut the Home Access scheme that was set up to help provide low-income families with a laptop (Boffey D, 2011). Therefore, it could easily be argued that the government is ethically responsible for those children at a disadvantage.

The digital divide is an ethical issue that impacts on both people’s employability and education. Whilst there can be a divide within the UK, there are larger gaps emerging across the globe. The majority of people have access to internet in our society, whether it be for free in the libraries or as broadband at home. People living in developing countries don’t even have this luxury and are getting left behind.

References:

Boffey, D. (2011) Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Bown, J. (2016) The digital nomads making the world their office. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36382307 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Kelion, L. (2013) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Used for the Powtoon:

Express (2013) Disabled face ‘digital divide’. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/430764/Disabled-face-digital-divide (Accessed: 22 November 2016).

Kelion, L. (2013) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 (Accessed: 21 November 2016).

Royal Geographical Society (2015) Digital divide in the UK. Available at: https://21stcenturychallenges.org/what-is-the-digital-divide/ (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Wakefield, J. (2010) Old meets new in digital divide. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11501622 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Used for the Piktochart:
Boffey, D. (2011) Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage (Accessed: 23 November 2016).
Long, C. (2016) The homework gap: The ‘cruelest part of the digital divide’. Available at: http://neatoday.org/2016/04/20/the-homework-gap/ (Accessed: 23 November 2016).
Monahan, R. (2014) What happens when kids don’t have Internet at home? Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/12/what-happens-when-kids-dont-have-internet-at-home/383680/ (Accessed: 22 November 2016).