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You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal. You proceed to the school and find your son in the Principal’s office. The Principal informs you that your son had been found wandering aimlessly in the grounds during the time classes were in progress. The class teacher further informs you that your son has lately become a loner and did not respond to questions in the class, he had also been unable to perform well in the football trials held recently. You bring your son back from the school and in the evening, you along with your wife try to find out the reasons for your son’s changed behavior. After repeated cajoling, your son shares that some children had been making fun of him in the class as well as in the WhatsApp group of the students by calling him stunted, duh and a frog. He tells you the names of a few children who are the main culprits but pleads with you to let the matter rest. After a few days, during a sporting event, where you and your wife have gone to watch your son play, one of your colleague’s son shows you a video in which students have caricatured your son. Further, he also points out to perpetrators who were sitting in the stands. You purposefully walk past them with your son and go home. Next day, you find on social media, a video denigrating you, your son and even your wife, stating that you engaged in physical bullying of children in the sports field. The video became viral on social media. Your friends and colleagues began calling you to find out the details. One of your juniors advised you to make a counter video giving the background and explaining that nothing had happened on the field. You, in turn posted a video which you have captured during the sporting event, identifying the likely perpetrators who were responsible for your son’s predicament. You have also narrated what has actually happened in the field and made attempts to bring out the adverse effects of the misuse of social media. (a) Based on the above case study, discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of social media. (b) Discuss the pros and cons of using social media by you to put across the facts to counter the fake propaganda against your family.

(a) Ethical Issues Involved in the Use of Social Media Based on the Case Study:

  1. Cyberbullying: The students used social media platforms to mock, ridicule, and harass the son. Such actions can lead to severe emotional and psychological trauma for the victim.
  2. Spreading of False Information: The fake video alleging physical bullying by the parent is an example of how misinformation can be rapidly spread on social media platforms. Such fake news can tarnish reputations and cause unnecessary panic or outrage.
  3. Violation of Privacy: Recording videos of someone without their consent, especially when used for mockery or false claims, is an invasion of privacy.
  4. Peer Pressure and Groupthink: Social media can sometimes amplify group behavior where individuals feel pressured to conform to or support a popular narrative, even if it’s false or harmful.
  5. Lack of Accountability: Many people feel emboldened by the anonymity or distance provided by social media platforms, leading them to commit acts they might not do in person.

(b) Pros and Cons of Using Social Media to Counter the Fake Propaganda:

Pros:

  1. Clarifying Misinformation: By posting a counter-video, I can directly challenge and clarify the falsehoods, ensuring my side of the story is heard.
  2. Public Awareness: Highlighting the negative impacts of cyberbullying and the misuse of social media can raise awareness and promote more responsible use among the public.
  3. Support and Solidarity: Publicly addressing the issue might bring out supporters and others who have had similar experiences, providing emotional and moral support for me and my family.
  4. Addressing Concerns: Friends, colleagues, and others who have seen the fake video will get an authentic account of what transpired, thus allaying their concerns or doubts.

Cons:

  1. Escalation of the Issue: Responding might inadvertently give more attention to the initial fake video, causing further harm or making it more viral.
  2. Potential Backlash: The act of naming or identifying the perpetrators in the video might lead to claims of defamation or further negative attention directed at me.
  3. Personal Stress: Engaging in a public debate or battle on social media can be emotionally draining and time-consuming for me.
  4. Distracting from Core Issues: By focusing on a personal issue, I might inadvertently divert attention from more pressing professional or public matters.

In conclusion, while social media is a powerful tool for communication, its misuse can lead to significant ethical concerns, especially when it comes to the propagation of false information and bullying. Balancing the need for clarity and truth with the potential negative impacts of engaging in online disputes is essential for me.

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20% Special Sale Ends Today! Hurry Up!!!