The FBI is pushing for online ethics education in schools,
October 10, 2000 10:31 AM   Subscribe

The FBI is pushing for online ethics education in schools, but I wonder if it's even possible to teach good ethics in school anymore? It must be a great time to be a young geek: music is free, porn is plentiful, you can save anything on the web by simply right-clicking and choosing save as, you can easily trade and copy reports online, cracks and warez mean never having to pay for software or games again, hacking tools are freely available to anyone, and you can be male/female/old/young online and no one knows the difference. How could you possibly teach kids that all those are bad things?
posted by mathowie (12 comments total)
Saw a story on this while watching the news the other day. The kindly FBI agents explain to kids that hacking a website is akin to spraypainting your neighbors house - it's just plain wrong.

Were I an 8 year old in that class, I'd no doubt start planning a spree of web hacks and property defacement right then and there.

This 'education' will result in a breed of super hackers - you just wait and see.
posted by aladfar at 11:34 AM on October 10, 2000

Shouldn't we start with offline ethics and work our way from there?

*grin* Great, yeah, put another burden on teachers' shoulders. They don't have enough to do already.
posted by solistrato at 11:37 AM on October 10, 2000

Damn kids are spoiled rotten these days.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 11:40 AM on October 10, 2000

The clear solution, of course, is to lock all children away in a gigantic vault until they're 21yrs old, at which point they can be safely extracted and placed in a convenient menial job.

This is an optimum solution, and I will brook no dissent. The vault, if properly constructed, will protect the children from all possible contamination. At present, the Central Planning Committee proposes a thirty-mile wide, two-hundred mile long block of meter-thick tungsten. That should prove sufficiently safe for our precious precious children.
posted by aramaic at 11:44 AM on October 10, 2000

Why does the FBI's push for ethics education make me think of the J. Edgar / COINTELPRO years and shudder?
posted by harmful at 11:53 AM on October 10, 2000

But Matt, with the exception of the massive file storage, I've been able to do all those things since '92 or '93, when I started BBSing. Yes, free music, too. Sure, it wasn't pop music, but there have been folks out there writing electronic music and trading it online for years.

Oh, not to mention friends who I traded dubbed tapes with, or software with, or any other data using hardcopy.

I grew up ethically, regardless of my exposure to porn or free software. Hell, I'll even BUY software, after I've downloaded full versions! Crazy!

Good ethics are teachable, regardless of the freedom children (or adults) have. Your ethics should be something that are ingrained in your being, not something you put on when going out for dinner with your significant other's grandparents.

Yeah, it takes a while to teach kids that, but that's why humans have long "gestation" periods. There's a whole whack of time we require to be adequately socialized and independant, before we go out and see the worlds as an individual person, as opposed to "Bob and Helen's kid" (to take a personal example. :-)

The real question is are the ethics the FBI want to teach children the same ethics we, as current or potential parents, want our children to have? And are they actual ethics, or are they crowd control?
posted by cCranium at 1:35 PM on October 10, 2000

If they even thing about touching on "deviant behavior" I will walk strait out of the classroom, along with about 50 of my classmates (only 60 kids in the grade).
posted by Ptrin at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2000

Big Brother is watching you. Can someone please explain to me, when it became the governments job to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. If the parents cannot do that themselves then these 'parents' should think twice about becoming parents. Wow, i used the word parents three times in that sentence.
posted by Zool at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2000

aramaic, your vision of a platonic fascist state is starting to get to me.

where do I join?

posted by lagado at 5:41 PM on October 10, 2000

Take a look at and see which corporations are working in "partnership" with the FBI to see that our children will meet their standards of ethical behavior. This is not just about the FBI, but the FBI working to help make this a web that meets standards set by corporations like and Boeing.
posted by Sqwerty at 7:36 PM on October 10, 2000

As long as there's people like us to re-ethicisize (re-ethicisize?) those kids once they get here, it's all good, dawg. What's more attractive than "remember what the businessmen told you the internet wasn't meant for? go nuts."
posted by tomorama at 8:10 PM on October 10, 2000

I too would have a problem with the FBI teaching anyone about ethical behavior. I'm not quite sure it's in their brief and I'd be extremely uncomfortable having the likes of, America Online, Inc. or AT&T (just to go through the A's) lecturing my kids on ethics. This kind of company doesn't make the arguments themselves bad but I just think it's coming from the wrong source.
posted by leo at 11:17 PM on October 10, 2000

« Older look ma no pocket protector!   |   A spec for a really impressive new website service... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments