Why Is It That Online Services Companies Need To Be Moral -- But Individuals Don't?

from the just-wondering dept

And here we go again. The latest politician to point the blame gun at the wrong target is the UK's education secretary, Alan Johnson. He was out complaining about cyberbullying and said that websites that host videos have a "moral obligation" to filter such content and take it down. There's been a lot of overreacting to cyberbullying lately, including things like banning YouTube in schools because it's been used for cyberbullying. However, again, the blame-placing is totally misguided. It's not YouTube or any other site's fault or "moral responsibility" to deal with the sophomoric actions of kids. It's the kids themselves and their parents. If YouTube has a "moral responsibility" to guard against this type of thing, then why don't the kids themselves have a much larger moral responsibility? Why isn't the education secretary focused on, I don't know, actually educating students about bullying, so they can learn how to better deal with it, rather than pretending he can hide it by asking online sites to deal with the problem. He also seems somewhat confused (someone should educate him) about how the internet actually works, and why it's really not reasonable or feasible for these sites to monitor and filter such content. Finally, the focus on the "cyber" part of the bullying is also misguided. Bullying is bullying -- and why should it matter if it's done online or done in person? The focus should be on bullying, period, without worrying about whether or not it involves the internet. Pretending that you've solved bullying just because you've taken it offline is a head-in-the-sand approach, where you pretend that just because you can no longer see it, it's gone away.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 12:16am

    Cyber-bullying is good for kids. The Internet is a free-for-all, and folks need to learn how to cope with it--the earlier the better. If you can't cope with someone hassling you with data, you're not going to cut it in the information economy.

     

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    ridley4, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 3:31am

    Personally, most kids just take the internet WAY TOO SERIOUSLY, especially for the kid's own good, does an certain hero come to mind?
    Here's a thing for those kids like that:You can replace an iPod. You can deal with bulling. You can't bring back a life.

     

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    David W (profile), Apr 12th, 2007 @ 4:53am

    It might be worth noting that the only reason the Education Secretary has spoken up about this is not primarily about students being bullied on the internet but is in fact about teachers being bullied. Classroom pranks are filmed on a phone and then uploaded to YouTube.

    Though I agree with the sentiment of the article this point is worth noting.

     

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  4.  
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    Jess, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:07am

    Part of Life

    Bullying is a part of life. Everyone I know has had to deal with bullies including myself. Everyone says or does something that people don't like. Instead of outlawing about such behavior people should be taught to control it and not to take what others say of them seriously.

     

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  5.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:19am

    Shifting...

    So according to this Education Secretary video upload sites are resposible for cyberbulling? Video sites are only the medium on which cyberbullying is distributed. Well based on his own argument does that mean old fashioned brick and mortar bullying is the fault of the school? Let's face it all bullying hasn't been magaically transfered to online sites, there are still plenty of in-your-face bullies that operate in schools. Sounds like this guy wants to pretend that brick and mortar bullying has dropped drastically since the advent of video upload sites.

     

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  6.  
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    James, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:55am

    It's About Time

    Finally! Someone realizes that parents need to become parents again, and start raising their children.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:09am

    parents need to take some initative from birth to teach there kids how to be individuals and act correctly in todays world. it is not the internet video hosting sites that cause the bulling and filtering content just causes more problems for the cites. we should make the parents be parents and not let them hope the school system will turn there kids into good kids. they need to teach the ethics and morals to there kids so the can actualy function.
    blame the parents for neglegence not the cites because they dont feel like waisting the time to filter the content idiot kids put on there sites

     

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  8.  
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    nerd man, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:09am

    stupid people

    parents need to take some initative from birth to teach there kids how to be individuals and act correctly in todays world. it is not the internet video hosting sites that cause the bulling and filtering content just causes more problems for the cites. we should make the parents be parents and not let them hope the school system will turn there kids into good kids. they need to teach the ethics and morals to there kids so the can actualy function.
    blame the parents for neglegence not the cites because they dont feel like waisting the time to filter the content idiot kids put on there sites

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Superfli95, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:51am

    Easier

    Its easier for people to go after companies than it is to go after individuals. Less time consuming and cost effective.

     

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  10.  
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    Andrea, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 7:28am

    Welcome to the UK

    The culture here, as it appears to my reasonably unbiased eyes, embraces not taking responsibility for anything and everything going wrong as someone else's fault.

    Therefore, students that are out of control are not the fault of the parents, but of the video sharing sites.

     

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  11.  
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    trilioth, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    What is cyber bullying anyway?

    Is some kid making a video talking a bunch of trash to another kid? I have seen something like that on youtube once. It was presented in the from of a rap video, which didn't suprise me becaue the only difference between it and a mainstream rap video was it was shot and preform by amateurs.

    On this issue of who is responsible, the individual is responsible for his actions, and to say that parents are to blame as well is to point the finger at every adult in that childs life. For as adults we are all responsible for the influence we have on others, especially children. Education begins in the home, yet it extends other family members, neighbors, teachers, clergy, polictical figures, and clebrities and media figures.

     

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