Content Regulations in the Digital Era
Modern technology has revolutionized communication, making global connection possible. Individuals can post and share knowledge, engage in political discussions, access information, and much more. Modern communication drastically changes the lives of individuals; yet, it also raises ethical dilemmas.
There are many benefits, challenges, and risks associated with aspects of modern technology and the way we communicate. As a society, we face ethical dilemmas concerning censorship, freedom of expression, monitoring inappropriate content, and social media. As a result, we must apply ethics to evaluate many of these unintended consequences, which arise with technological advances.
People are spending more and more time on their smartphones using mobile apps. Social networking apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are some of the most widely used apps to connect people. These popular apps allow individuals to easily upload videos, photos, voice their political views, organize protests, and get news. The rise of social networking apps brings up the ethical dilemma of how governments respond to these new technologies. Some governments have many restrictions on the content that is available to their people, while others have very few limitations. Censorship is the attempt to suppress or regulate public access to material considered offensive or harmful. Censorship has become increasingly complicated in the past decade. Many who live in the United States claim that it infringes on their Freedom of Expression, which is one of the most cherished principles in the United States. How do we determine who is responsible for writing laws that limit and monitor information that is published on such apps? Not only do we have to consider who is in charge of censoring content, but also what constitutes “harmful” content and what is the criteria for determining what is appropriate.
Another concern that spans across all age groups is internet addiction. Many people spend much of their time staring at a screen. People who use digital devices excessively can harm themselves. One thing to consider is the moral issue that stems from individuals spending an excessive amount of time online. We must recognize that some individuals are spending extreme amounts of time online to escape their physical life, possibly because they feel excluded from society. In the 21st century, technology has become an addiction for some. Although ultimately, people are responsible for their choices, as a society, we must ensure that we address the social issues that arise from technological advancement.
In many parts of the world outside of the United States, the government plays a significant role in determining what content can be accessed by the public. Regulating internet access to information is dangerous. Instant access to information is crucial for education, particularly for families in developing countries. The internet provides a means to better education and thus increases the potential for economic mobility. Technology is changing every aspect of our lives. We must consider how access and censorship of information influence the culture and development of various groups of people.
“Censorship.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorship. Accessed 12 Feb. 2021.
Abi-Jaoude, E., Naylor, K., & Pignatiello, A. (2020, February 10). Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health. Retrieved February 12, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7012622/