Prolonged use of computers and the internet can lead not just to physical harm but affect the relevant cognitive skills as well. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out that every child has a right to develop a full potential free from hunger and want, protection from harmful influences, abuse, and exploitation and the right to participate fully in the family, social and cultural life. These principles can become a reality only when the family and school together put in their best efforts in the guidance and protection of the child.
Ignorance prompts children to commit cyber crimes and the best way to combat this is through the right education. To take advantage of the internet, without being taken advantage of, the children need two things – information and supervision (CyberAngels 2005). Adults teach by example (Doug Johnson) and hence the responsibility lies with the parents and the school authorities to ensure that the children are taught not just to use technology but to use it productively and wisely. The same internet is used for education and also to download pornography.
Cybercrimes today are carried out more by teenagers than adults. Hacking and spreading of viruses are amongst the most common of the problems (Cerias). This brings us to the subject of ethical issues and productive choices. The rules and systems are built in a society based on ‘ reasoned insight and personal experiences’ (The Evolution of Ethics) that reveal which actions are right or wrong or better than others. This helps in product choices and later these take the form of moral and ethical laws.
Any action or behavior that corrupts culture or distorts the peace of the society is considered wrong. On the other hand, that which contributes to the well being of society is supposed to be right. This necessitates that ethical and moral laws are formulated and rules established. This is in conformity with Immanuel Kant’ s moral theory which is deontological and states that ‘ the ultimate principle of morality must be a moral law conceived so abstractly that it is capable of guiding us to the right action in application to every possible set of circumstances’ (2001).
Kant further states that the right actions are those that practical reason would will as a universal law. In sharp contrast to this is the Utilitarianism theory, which according to John Stuart Mill (cited by Henry R. West) states that an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse.
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