Amoral, E-Moral, or iMoral?

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

imoralBefore reading an article in the Telegraph this morning that warns that we’re breeding a generation of computer hackers, I had never heard the term “e-morals,” and now I kind of hope I don’t again. The practice of putting an “e” in front of any word is nearly as bad as an “i.”

Apparently lacking “e-morals” means that kids today “have no scruples about hacking into other peoples’ emails, bank accounts or personal networking profiles.” The study made the following revelations about their amoral Internet behavior:

  • More than 10% of kids aged from 12 to 18 said they thought it was “cool” or even “funny” to pose as someone else online
  • 1 in 7 12-to-13 year-olds admitted they already had
  • 1/3 would consider hacking or spying on the internet if they could earn money by doing so
  • 40% have logged on to another person’s social networking profile or accessed someone else’s online banking or email accounts

It should be noted that this study was conducted only among kids in Britain, though I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing for the stats. Still, I’d be reluctant anyway to call kids who try to guess their friends’ MySpace passwords “hackers.”

The researchers are concerned that parents are setting a bad example. It’s already been suggested that kids growing up with file sharing will not have any intuition about copyright as “theft” – but when the U.S. president may not even understand the law, maybe we shouldn’t expect them to either. Doesn’t it make you long for the days before iPods, when you could walk into Tower Records and put a CD under your jacket and just know you were stealing?

So there you have it – kids today are not only iMoral, but they’re growing up amoral about e-morals.

[Image Source: Flickr]

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10 Responses to Amoral, E-Moral, or iMoral?

  1. The thing I hate about these kinds of surveys is that they are completely out of context. Sure, PERHAPS similar numbers of computer sauvy adults would not consider some of this. But if you surveyed adults about amoral acts of piracy, theft and plain meanness that they would have committed at the same age, would they have been significantly less?

    It's unscientific, but I would suggest that 50 somethings like myself were just as "amoral" as kids today based on my experiences as a teenager. We taped songs off the radio or from friend's albums. When VCRs came around, we taped movies from the tv. Many of the kids I grew up with saw nothing wrong with going through someone else's locker if it were left open, taking "notes" or diaries and sharing them with the general public.

    The only difference is that that sort of thing was fairly local in impact. Only the kids in your school and maybe one or two close ones knew if you were having sex and were stupid enough to write it in your diary. Now the world can know–if it cares–if you post it online.

    This is, as usual, just a load of tripe handed out by ignorant adults who want to PROVE that kids are worse now. Remember: "What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" It's attributed to Plato.

  2. The thing I hate about these kinds of surveys is that they are completely out of context. Sure, PERHAPS similar numbers of computer sauvy adults would not consider some of this. But if you surveyed adults about amoral acts of piracy, theft and plain meanness that they would have committed at the same age, would they have been significantly less?

    It’s unscientific, but I would suggest that 50 somethings like myself were just as “amoral” as kids today based on my experiences as a teenager. We taped songs off the radio or from friend’s albums. When VCRs came around, we taped movies from the tv. Many of the kids I grew up with saw nothing wrong with going through someone else’s locker if it were left open, taking “notes” or diaries and sharing them with the general public.

    The only difference is that that sort of thing was fairly local in impact. Only the kids in your school and maybe one or two close ones knew if you were having sex and were stupid enough to write it in your diary. Now the world can know–if it cares–if you post it online.

    This is, as usual, just a load of tripe handed out by ignorant adults who want to PROVE that kids are worse now. Remember: “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” It’s attributed to Plato.

  3. Did they include "without authorization" in their questions? My sister has logged into my account on the home computer to retrieve a backup for me, and I've logged into her Facebook, with permission, to fix her spelling errors on her profile.

  4. Did they include “without authorization” in their questions? My sister has logged into my account on the home computer to retrieve a backup for me, and I’ve logged into her Facebook, with permission, to fix her spelling errors on her profile.

  5. What annoys me about articles like this is that the media throws such a bad light on hackers. First off, these kids aren't hackers. Second off, these "hackers" or no worse than the punk kids from yesteryears. Just because their vandalism and what not occurs on a computer it becomes so much worse than all the vandalism kids have been committing since forever. *sigh*.

  6. What annoys me about articles like this is that the media throws such a bad light on hackers. First off, these kids aren’t hackers. Second off, these “hackers” or no worse than the punk kids from yesteryears. Just because their vandalism and what not occurs on a computer it becomes so much worse than all the vandalism kids have been committing since forever. *sigh*.

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