n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - Ethical dimension of social media in education : implications for content generation and use




Social media has rapidly proliferated in all spheres of life and has found acceptance in education, research, corporate world, government, politics and more. The spread of social media has raised concerns that people's moral and ethical rights such as privacy, confidentiality, trust, security, and data protection are being breached. This article explores ethical and moral issues of social media use in education. The paper addresses the following research questions: 1) what is the status of social media growth? 2) How is social media being used in education? 3) What are ethical and moral issues of social media in education? The focus of the discussion is on social networking sites.

A combination of Game Theory; Ethics Theories, WSIS Action Line 10; and ANIE Thematic Framework are used to underpin the subject matter of this article. Content analysis of major social network user policies and related literature were used to address the above research questions. The findings revealed that social media in general and social networking sites in particular have grown to become a global phenomenon and have opened up the classroom to become a public space where ethical and moral rights such as privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property, access/accessibility of individuals were no longer guaranteed. Social networks were being used in education to create and share content, for collaborative scholarship, education and training, creating and sharing learning materials, class announcements and discussion, etc. Recommendations and amelioration strategies proffered include education and training, legislative, regulatory and policy interventions.


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