Virtuous reality: moral theory and research into cyber-bullying

Ethics and Information Technology 17 (4):275-283 (2015)
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This article draws on a study investigating how 11–14 year olds growing up in England understand cyber-bullying as a moral concern. Three prominent moral theories: deontology, utilitarianism and virtue ethics, informed the development of a semi-structured interview schedule which enabled young people, in their own words, to describe their experiences of online and offline bullying. Sixty 11–14 year olds from six schools across England were involved with the research. Themes emerging from the interviews included anonymity; the absence of rules, monitoring and guidance and, the challenges associated with determining the consequences of online actions. The findings demonstrate the advantages of adopting a character-based moral theory to compliment rules and/or consequence based moral theories as the basis for future research into cyber-bullying. The findings evoke some wider implications for future research into cyber-bullying that might equally be applied to investigations into other Internet related moral concerns.



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Tom Harrison
Cardiff University

References found in this work

Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.

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