Looking for a go-to guide on digital ethics? Well, look no further. The dean of the School of Communication and a former Loyola professor have published Digital Ethics: Research and Practice, a compilation of work that was collected after the first digital ethics international symposium Loyola hosted in the fall of 2011. Don Heider, dean of Loyola’s School of Communication and former Loyola professor Adrienne Massanari, PhD, collaborated to pick the best essays and research that were presented at the conference to publish.
The edited volume is an introspective look at how modern age technology is presenting a new set of ethical dilemmas for those engulfed in the digital world. The research featured touches on loss of face-to-face contact, the anonymity of the web that leads to lack of accountability, and a plethora of other ethical shortcomings Gen Xers and future generations are bound to face.
“There are huge ethical implications of digital ethics and technology and I started to think about the areas it could impact people,” says Heider. “These excellent papers are worth publishing to help people in the field.”
“We had in mind the outcome of the conference was this published work and we wanted to start a larger conversation,” says Massanari,” There are a lot of people that are wrestling with these issues, so it takes an interdisciplinary look at the implications of the digital space.”
Highlights include a forward by Charles Ess, who is considered the founder of digital ethics, an essay on the shadow users leave on the Internet by Erin Reilly, as well as a discussion about legal and ethical issues people are facing online by Loyola professor David Kamerer. Heider and Massanari’s collection of research aims to address the differing ethical issues of the digital age in a number of fields, including communication, law, information studies, education, computer science, and business.
“People now have their own set of ethics in their own space. Thinking about ways people are using the web in their own ways and others in which we react negatively too is important,” says Massanari. “I hope that people will take away that the space requires us to think creatively about ethical guidelines that we need.”
Massanari’s expertise in digital ethics spans from extensive research in social and cultural impacts of new media and youth culture. Her section is focused on the subversive use of the Internet and the ethical implications.
“It’s also about being aware and acting ethical and being informed. At the same time, we’re not well served by viewing everything as negative. We need a more balanced sense of being ethical.” Massanari is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ethical issues in the digital word is a topic that both editors are well versed in. Heider is the founder of the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola and Massanari is the former program director. Heider says the idea for collaborative research on the issue was something he had always wanted to put together and he is pleased with the level of research that is complied in the book.
“It’s worth publishing this to help people in the field and to grow momentum to establish Loyola as leader in digital ethics,” says Heider.
Both Heider and Massanari hope the extensive research they have put together will shed some light on a rising problem so that educators and media experts alike can better address ethical issues. For more information on the Center for Digital Ethics and policy, click here. For more on Digital Ethics: Research and Practice, click here.