Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Young People & the Absence of Effective Ethical Mentors

3 clocks, by my father

The App Generation by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis is excellent.

Gardner and Davis refer to their Good Project as they discuss digital tech and morality. What is the effect of newly emerging media on venerable, ethically suffused issues such as privacy, protection of intellectual property, trustworthiness, credibility, and citizenship"? (Gardner and Davis, The App Generation, p. 170) Their principle findings, in summary, are:

  • "[A]s we look across age groups, there is not a radical difference in orientation toward ethical issues. That is to say, we find more similarity than differences across tweens, teens, and adults."
  • "[T]here is little evidence in any age group of proactive ethics or exemplary citizenship. When subjects tell us that they avoid missteps, they do so principally out of fear of punishment (“ If I send this file illegally, I might get caught and punished”); few state or even imply other, purer ethical motives."
  • "[M]any young people lament the absence of effective mentors who could model how best to handle an ethical dilemma." 

  • Enter the followers of Jesus into the virtue-abyss? We should hope and pray.