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Shielding Pride at the Extent of Sacrificing Ethics: Is it Worth it?

Heleina is currently a communication student at the School of Teacher Education & Liberal Arts of Saint Louis University in the Philippines.

Al Qahtani and Marghalani wrote a 2019 paper suggesting that due to the rapid growth and generation of new information technology (IT) products, there seems to be a lack of legislation and ethics in the IT field. It is important to note that the lack of ethics in the digital society is the cause of what seems to be an unceasing series of arguments and conflicts, the online continuation of an accelerated culture war. The left and right disputes and debates about our presidential picks for the impending 2022 National Elections are indeed the most current example of this.

Politics is a controversial subject, but people seem to forget that people hold differing viewpoints and have reasons for their views. According to a Center for Media Engagement article, one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century is hostility between political and socioeconomic groups, which occurs when people dislike or even despise those who hold opposing viewpoints. Bullying and humiliation occur as a result of this. While an opinion may be poorly constructed, one should not use one's political views against the other in the event of a personal conflict. Though everything is political, there is also an ethical component. Why bring up someone's political stance if it is unnecessary and could do damage to the other?

Reckless mention of political viewpoints can lead to numerous conflicts and contribute to the prevalent hatred in society, both online and offline. Hatred in society appears to be magnified by the Internet and social media usage, spreading stereotypes and more harm. (Castaño-Pulgarín et al., 2021) As we recognize it, social media platforms offer online communities with no boundaries. However, vulnerable populations who are part of these online communities seem to be at risk due to their use of social media. (Luxton et al., 2012)

As reported from the most recent national data, cyber violence affects approximately half of children aged 13 to 17 in the Philippines. (Online bullying remains prevalent in the Philippines, other countries, 2019) Teens who spend more than 2 hours per day on social media were substantially more likely to have adverse mental health outcomes such as distress and suicidal ideation. (Social media use may play an important role in youth suicide, expert says, 2021) Online bullying happens because people do not control what they say online. Suicide happens because people get depressed over what they experience and see online. This abusive behavior happens because of the lack of ethics in the digital age.

Speaking of the lack of ethics in the digital age, it is also important to highlight people's willful ignorance of unverified information in politics and everything else. Unfortunately, many fail to comprehend the impact that spreading unverified material has on an individual's perspective or belief system, consequently influencing others and the community. Furthermore, people are less likely to see the truth as a result of fake news. According to a Pew study, the threat of fake news may be accelerating the polarization process by causing them to drop particular media, absorb less information overall, and even sever social relationships.

In conclusion, ethics hold the utmost significance in today's digital society as it keeps our community together, offline and online. Although we should be mindful that the importance of ethics is not limited to protecting mental health and influencing belief systems. When talking about ethics in the digital age, there is still a lot to discuss.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Heleina Taeza

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