1. You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal. You proceed to the school and find your son in the Principal’s office. The Principal informs you that your son had been found wandering aimlessly in the grounds during the time classes were in progress. The class teacher further informs you that your son has lately become a loner and did not respond to questions in the class, he had also been unable to perform well in the football trials held recently. You bring your son back from the school and in the evening, you along with your wife try to find out the reasons for your son’s changed behavior. After repeated cajoling, your son shares that some children had been making fun of him in the class as well as in the WhatsApp group of the students by calling him stunted, duh and a frog. He tells you the names of a few children who are the main culprits but pleads with you to let the matter rest.After a few days, during a sporting event, where you and your wife have gone to watch your son play, one of your colleague’s son shows you a video in which students have caricatured your son. Further, he also points out to perpetrators who were sitting in the stands. You purposefully walk past them with your son and go home. Next day, you find on social media, a video denigrating you, your son and even your wife, stating that you engaged in physical bullying of children in the sports field. The video became viral on social media. Your friends and colleagues began calling you to find out the details. One of your juniors advised you to make a counter video giving the background and explaining that nothing had happened on the field. You, in turn posted a video which you have captured during the sporting event, identifying the likely perpetrators who were responsible for your son’s predicament. You have also narrated what has actually happened in the field and made attempts to bring out the adverse effects of the misuse of social media.
(a) Based on the above case study, discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of social media.
(b) Discuss the pros and cons of using social media by you to put across the facts to counter the fake propaganda against your family. (20)
- The case study involves a government official facing a complex ethical dilemma surrounding the use of social media in response to a crisis involving their child, and the use of social media as a countermeasure for fake propaganda.
(a) Ethical issues involved in the use of social media include-
- Invasion of privacy as the students who denigrated the son and family did so without consent.
- Bullying and harassment causing online abuse and its psychological impact.
- Lack of responsibility and accountability due to anonymity.
- Misuse of technology.
- Balancing parental responsibilities with addressing the misuse of social media by children.
(b) The pros and cons of using social media to counter fake propaganda include-
- Information Dissemination: Social media allows for quick dissemination of accurate information, enabling the protagonist to present the true facts to a wide audience.
- Transparency: Using social media to provide context and evidence fosters transparency, potentially dispelling false narratives and rumors.
- Support and Solidarity: Sharing the story on social media may garner support and solidarity from friends, colleagues, and the online community, which can be emotionally uplifting.
- Escalation: Responding on social media can escalate the situation, as it may attract further negative attention and comments from both sides.
- Privacy Risks: Posting personal information or images of the perpetrators without their consent may infringe on their privacy rights and potentially lead to legal issues.
- Cyberbullying: Engaging in a social media feud may subject the protagonist and family to cyberbullying or harassment from online trolls.
- Misinterpretation: Online communication can be easily misinterpreted, leading to unintended consequences or misunderstandings.
- Impact on Child: Involving the child in a social media dispute may have unintended psychological consequences, potentially causing additional stress and harm.
- In this case, using social media to counter fake propaganda should be approached cautiously, with a focus on transparency, accuracy, and a commitment to ethical principles. The protagonist should consider involving school authorities and legal channels to address the issue effectively while safeguarding the family's privacy and well being.