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Analysis on cyber-bullying for Christian Ethics class

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1. Utilitarian Approach
One ethical approach that could be used in terms of cyber-bullying would be Utilitarianism. This particular approach promotes the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Cyber-bullying is a very extensive form of bullying because it’s not only a matter of 10-50 people, but we are talking about thousands of people who can see and who can spread a certain topic. If we say that what we should do with people depends only on the quantity of total desire that results from each mode of action to take, then cyber-bullying, in a 1 vs 10 context, will be justifiable. If there is one fat girl who posts a picture of herself in the internet and her 10 “friends” like to bully her, then, according to utilitarianism, they have the moral right to do whatever they want to her – the total desire is clearly positive if we measure the pleasure of 10 people and the pain of one person. But how about the one girl? What happens to her then? Her perspective will be considered immaterial in utilitarian approach because she is outnumbered.

2. Teleological Approach
Another ethical approach that could be used in terms of cyber-bullying would be the teleological approach. Teleological approach is characterized primarily by a focus on the consequences which any action might have. In a literal sense, telos meaning end and logos meaning science, making it the science of end. Thus, in order to make correct moral choices, we have to have some understanding of what will result from our choices. When we make choices which result in the correct consequences, then we are acting morally. When we make choices which result in the incorrect consequences, then we are acting immorally. Cyber-bullying, by definition, refers to any “use of Internet, cell phones, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person (Ruedy, 2008).” Generally, cyber-bullying, in this approach, is not justifiable because the end met is hurting the one being bullied. And hurting other people is not a good thing.

3. Deontological Approach

The next approach would be deontological approach. Deontological (duty-based) ethics are concerned with what people do, not with the consequences of their actions. Under this form of ethics you can’t justify an action by showing that it produces good consequences. The word ‘deontological’ came from the Greek word deon, which means ‘duty’, so it is the “science of duty”. Duty-based ethics teaches that some acts are right or wrong because of the sorts of things they are, and people have a duty to act accordingly, regardless of the good or bad consequences that may be produced. It is the opposite of teleological approach but it still has the same stand with teleological, because both means and end is bad in cyber-bullying. The mere purpose of the cyber-bully is to entertain himself and make the bullied feel bad.

On the other hand, if deontological approach is the so-called “duty-based approach”, then cyber-bullying in some sense can be justified. Take a newscaster for example. This newscaster gave a report about a certain issue/happening. In the eyes of a viewer he has made a biased report about it. Now this viewer believes that it is his duty to tell other people that this certain newscaster has done something wrong. So he posts something about the newscaster online sparking a forum that other netizens see. This resulted in the bashing and harassment of the newscaster. There are two sides in this situation: the viewer (bully) and the newscaster (bullied). Both the viewer and the newscaster did what they felt was their duty therefore according to deontological approach both of them did right in this situation.

4. Theological Approach

Theological ethics has as an essential component or assumption the premise that what gods or God wishes or commands are what we should be or do. No commandment of God says “go and make fun of people” or “go and embarrass your friends”. In fact God wants us to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. And the golden rule clearly states: “Do unto others what you want others do unto you.” I don’t think you would go and post vulgar pictures of yourself online right? Theological approach in this sense prohibits cyber-bullying or even simply bullying.

5. Virtue Approach

Virtues are attitudes or character traits that enable us to be and to act in ways that develop our highest potential. They enable us to pursue the principles we have adopted. Some of these virtues are honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence. The virtue approach to ethics assumes that there are certain ideals toward which we should strive, which provide for the full development of our humanity. And these principles are discovered as we go on our life and reflecting on how we can be the best. According to this approach, cyber-bullying is not justifiable because it does not develop virtues, it does not help the bully achieve his best self and it sparks the need to get even on the part of the one being bullied. 6. Justice/Fairness Approach

The fairness or justice approach to ethics has its roots in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said that “equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” The basic moral question in this approach is: How fair is an action? Does it treat everyone in the same way, or does it show favoritism and discrimination? So in this kind of approach it will have to depend on the situation. The cyber-bullying case will have to be weighed if it is fair. Take the newscaster and the viewer. Was it fair for the viewer to post negativity about the newscater? B. Sources

1. Bible
The bible opposes to cyber-bullying because there are verses opposes it.

2. Culture
Most of the time when a person is cyber bullied, the third person will not really notice the bullying going on unless it has gained a certain amount of up votes or down votes and/or it has gained a number of readers. That’s reality. Filipinos love jokes and comedy, but it’s also fair to acknowledge the fact that the most of the form comedy we practice is getting a laugh at someone else’s expense and that can be considered a form of bullying. Today, the common situation wherein a person is bullied is when that person leaves a racist comment. When the certain target race of that comment becomes aware of that then that’s when late comments and harassment to the person happens. If I were to give rough figures, I’d say against cyber-bullying won with a 60-50 score against the “fun” people.

3. Tradition
Our tradition teaches us to respect others, to the point of using “po” and “opo” in addressing our elders. It teaches us that no matter how a person looks, regardless if he has complete body parts or not, or even if he is mentally unhealthy, we have to respect them. It teaches us that these characteristics are not to be laughed at or mocked but are to be given sympathy. So clearly, tradition opposes cyber-bullying big-time.

4. Society
Let’s picture out the question: “What came first? The egg or the chicken?” I think society has always had a certain cycle for each kind of situation. The bully might have been a bullied at some point of his life and is only doing what was done to him. Can we blame the bully then? A person is molded based on his surroundings in particular and the society in general. He is only acting based on what he learned from society. Maybe the society in which the bully grew from is telling him that bullying is the way to solve his personal problems. C. Norms

1. Justice

Justice, according to the dictionary, is defined as the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals. So let’s take that the crime is bullying and the criminal is the bully. Based on the law, cyber-bullying is the illegal in a certain degree ergo, making justice against cyber-bullying.

2. Love

I agree to the saying that people have different ways in expressing love, but i think all of us will agree that cyber-bullying is certainly not a way of expressing love. Therefore the norm of love opposes cyber-bullying.

3. Peace

How can a person achieve peace of mind when he is being bullied or even when he is bullying. It doesn’t matter if you’re bullying for the sake of revenge or for the sake of fun, what matters is when you have realized you were wrong and stop because that is when you have achieved peace. Others might be laughing or hating with you as of the moment, but the next time they encounter you they would most likely avoid you in fear of being bullied. You don’t achieve peace with fear.

4. Hope

People who know their faults have low self-esteem, but people who bully have lower self-esteem. At some point we have to realize on our own that calling someone ugly does not make us any beautiful, calling someone stupid does not make us any smarter, or embarrassing anyone does not make us any better. If anything it only makes us awful people because we kill the tiny bit of hope for them.

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