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ICT Ethical Issues Assignment: Child Tracking By Parents


Task: Choose one ethical issue arising from the use of ICT that has been reported in the press in the last one year (Excluding the Cambridge Analytica - Facebook data scandal), and discuss it in depth. Show why or how the technology creates or contributes to the problem. Produce an article, discussing both sides of the issue (pros and cons) drawing on both technical and philosophical literature. In addition, argue for your own view of the matter, giving your reasons for your point of view and showing why you believe that they are better than opposing views.

You will be assessed on your ability to reason, analyse and present cogent argument for the particular case. You should outline the main statement you wish to make about your chosen ethical issue along with your reasons and others’ objections to it. You may use any appropriate technique to set out the basic structure of your article.

You are required to submit the following:

A comprehensive and coherent article containing your critical analysis of the ICT related ethical issue.


This ethical issues assignment focuses on application of personal surveillance and tracking technologies increased over last few years.. The growing prominence of applications to monitor movement, mindfulness, health, eating habits and sleep can create ethical dilemmas in parenting. Usage of software that enable parents to track and monitor GPS location, call and text records, as well as internet browsing history of their children can pose serious sociological and psychological damage to the well-being of the child and the parent. The problem statement of this issue on this ethical issues assignment is that tracking technologies may transform prudence into surveillance in consideration of ethical parenting. This study therefore aims to elaborate on the issue of ethical dilemma faced by advanced information and communication technologies.

Main issue
There are three main issues on this ethical issues assignment relevant to the present concern of information and communication technology; privacy breach, data abuse and trust. The prominent issue is that often the applications that are used for tracking information over the web, sell the data to third party collaborators for huge profit. According to Bagot et al. (2018), the purpose of tracking apps are not to maintain safety of children or aid in parenting. These applications are largely designed to collect and sell information to vendors. Hence, application of these technologies to monitor children's activities can be leak private data (Ghosh et al. 2018). Moreover, another highlighting fact is that it may degrade the relationship between a child and their parents.

Ethics technique
Overview: Global Positioning System(GPS) is made up of a group of 24 artificial satellites that calculate the time, position and velocity of receivers. Ethical issues may arise in case an individual is carrying such receivers that can transmit their location to an unauthenticated third party. This kind of tracking can create a broad range of applications that include tracking children and patients. As per the studies of Fahlquist (2015), GPS tracking ethics lacks a considerable assessment. Similarly, Barry et al. (2017) investigate ethical concerns resulting from real time people tracking through GPS-driven services. In recent times, these technologies are used by parents to track the movement of their children both geographically, and digitally.

Facts: This ethical issues assignment investigates reports published by Gabriels (2016) who estimates self-monitoring software for the purpose of parenting can cross the net revenues of nearly $71.9 billion by the year 2022. A major part of this share is not gathered by the manufacture of the application but the amount of data generated through it. In addition to this, cases of considerable privacy risks have grown exponentially in the last decades. The study of Goodyear (2017) evaluates devices, which cannot be usually traced are still under the radar due to insufficient features of privacy. In addition to this, Scott et al. (2015) report there is a growing number of children who have been seeking psychological help owing to the fact that they are growing distant from their parents. Lack of trust is also evident among these children as they feel uncomfortable with the information that their parents are watching their every move.

Main issues: The main issue is thus that the data generated from the tracking apps are sold to third party organisations such as political campaign bodies and advertising agencies. Hence, the devices are not essentially associated with general well-being of the population, but profit generated from the information. In case a parent starts tracking their children, they are aiding these companies to maximise their gain (Goodyear, 2017). This can lead to the-anonymity of their children's information that can expose them to risks should they fall into wrong use. According to the study of Nebeker et al. (2016), ethical consideration can arise over the concern of privacy breach of children. It is argued that despite young age, children should be allowed their own private space to enable a healthy environment for their growth and development. A majority of people has shown reliance on GPS tracking to monitor their child. Hence, the failure of systems are not readily highlighted in this otherwise profitable market. As stated by Stahl, Timmermans and Flick (2017), there is a possibility that multiple organisations may lose people and businesses from their target if the ethical manipulations are considered.

Affected parties: The affected parties in these cases are the children who are being tracked by their parents. According to the prominent studies of Fahlquist (2015), mental and physical health of children can be reduced owing to this practice. They may feel the need to hide things from their parents due to constant supervision. Lupton and Williamson (2017) found a number of android mobile applications send unencrypted data over world wide web and can reveal the location of the usage. This ethical issues assignment also investigates usage of information with wrong intention can harm the integrity of the children with time. In consideration of the long term effect of the usage of these tools, it can be stated that parents are also affected.

Ethical issues and implications: Multiple ethical implications arise from radical GPS technology adoption in the modern society. As commented by Bagot et al. (2018), ethics can be defined as a set of moral guidelines that are utilised as a benchmark for human actions. Morals can be relative to the concern that differs right from wrong. The ethical issues assignment also reviewes studies by Lupton and Pedersen (2016) aimed to determine the recognition of real time monitoring and tracking of children as per moral ethics. Application of GPS as navigation tool for assistance can pose no considerable ethical issue. However, the major ethical problems arise when the data of a location is transmitted to a different location through this technology. According to Gabriels (2016), a considerable ethical issue pertaining here is privacy breach. It is the responsibility of the government and the parents in collaboration to analyse the accuracy of their decision. The laws of various countries can pertain to the system that ensure that it has been crafted for the betterment of the people using this facility.

Theoretical perspectives
Duty based theory: Deontological or duty-based ethics refer to the reasons that drive actions being performed due to their ethical or moral worth. These kind of actions can be differentiated with the actions that are merely performed in consideration with duty. As commented by Rooksby et al. (2016), ethical actions must not be implemented from personal inclination of an individual but should also reflect their duty. This reasoning behind the ethic is considered as goodwill and can relate to action from duties that can surpass the good in its own self. This concept has been proposed by Immanuel Kant who developed the criterion for analysing moral value of a course of action. Universalizability is one of the criteria that helps to analyse the performance of the ethical scenario. According to the findings of Nebeker et al. (2016), another such criterion is individual dignity. The analysis of the ethics is that it can be used to teach that human dignity or need to perform act of goodness can be based on their inherent capacities. Moral legislation can be a more stringent approach for it can adopted throughout the society in rationalism of law and order.

Contract based theory: Contract theory refers to the study of businesses constructs and individuals promote legal agreements. Ghosh et al. (2018) state this can also analyse different behaviours decisions that can help to create contracts with specific terms for case conditioning parenting techniques. According to contract theory of moral or virtue ethics, ethical concern originates different social approaches that can result in better results for parenting. According to Bagot et al. (2018), humans are driven by a specific purpose that are reflected in their actions. In order to show excellence in their specific actions, they strive to gain well-being and happiness. Barry et al. (2017) confirm a prominent method to attain happiness is to promote positive character traits, which can bring long-raged flourishing. The traits are termed as virtues as they involve justice, magnanimity, temperance and friendship. However, various ethics continued during to be of interest in these issues of ICT dilemma. As per Gabriels (2016), contract-based theory sheds light on the concerns in areas of parental supervision over their children’s internet and physical movements. The people thus in this case can be considered to have developed virtues of justice and moral good.

Possible interventions
A considerable intervention to this issue is to understand the needs and preferences of the children before imposing a tracking device on them. More important information on this ethical issues assignment is identified on the study performed by Scott et al. (2015), the assumptions of ethical dilemma are made in terms of GPS accessibility. Parents can correlate with their children through appropriate discussion and creating a comfort zone that can help them access a considerate position in their child's life. One of the most well-accessible location indicators can be considered as GALILEO a web based service that tracks real time movement and sends it over the digital tracking media. The study of Fahlquist (2015), reveal that children prefer to engage their parents in face to face communication over promotion of digital media tools. There are additional location driven services that are still under development that can be considered as an alternative to GPS programs.

According to Lupton and Williamson (2017), good parenting skills are based on the capacity to make decisions that serves in the best possible interest for the welfare of the child. Lupton and Pedersen (2016) comment setting high standards to motivate parents can help the children to achieve better results. The ethical issue in this case may relate to privacy breach. Hence, it is advisable for parents to communicate with their children in a way that can involve a direct and formal approach. The widespread and popular usage of a GPS can be currently under consideration of parental rights to ensure the safety of their children. However, it is not possible or ethical to constantly document the movements of their child with a tracking device.

Alternative options
Alternative options in his scenario is to understand the effect of adverse and positive outgrowth obtained from ethical issue of ICT in child monitoring. According to Goodyear (2017), as the child starts to grow up they may often feel suffocated due to constant supervision and monitoring. Hence, on this ethical issues assignment, it can be considered that tracking device post a considerable barrier to the privacy of children. According to Barry et al. (2017), when the children are in the age group of 10 to 15 years, they start showing signs of discontentment and often work against these devices. Hence, an alternative strategy would be to ensure that there exists a direct communication in the family. A child must never be afraid to open up about their problems to their parents. The fear of being rebuked should not surpass the sense of safety, lest it can bring adverse outcomes to this problem.

Appropriate strategy and rationale
Substantial improvements in the strategies are seen in this segment. The sets of both plausible and anticipated interventions indicate the need for direct communication among the child and the parent. Stahl, Timmermans and Flick (2017) opine the distance suffered by the children-parent relationship can worsen over time with equivalent patterns of speed. Possible strategies that can be recommended are:

Effective awareness about the software: Prior to the usage of the technology, the parents must ensure that they have ample awareness about the specifics of the gadgets. Internet of Things allows the parent to track the movement of their child in both real time and digital platforms. This software can be utilised to offer detail on highways, roads and location (Grant and Grant, 2018). However, the software that uses personal details must be abolished at once, with terms of congruence settling for the need of privacy, irrespective of their social status.

Child Awareness: Children must be aware of the facilities of these gadgets that are used to track and monitor their activities both on and offline. In case, Nebeker et al. (2016) state they experience a discontentment over the issue, they may choose to remove it. This can be considered in terms of the national legislation that protects the welfare of the child should they feel unsafe in any condition.

Benefits and limitations of the issue
Benefits of the issue: There are multiple benefits posed by GPS tracking in terms of ensuring children safety for the parent. According to Scott et al. (2015), wearable GPS trackers and additional miniature devices are possible to be attached on the jackets and backpacks of the child or can also be slipped into their pockets. The primary benefit of this technique as identified during the research performed for this ethical issues assignment is that it helps to record, monitor and keep track of the children in places they are prone to getting lost (Burmeister, 2017). Additional benefits of the GPS can involve recording and documenting the position of the children in case of attempted abduction. This can allow children to feel a sense of freedom as there involves no helicoptering parent during their playtime (Nebeker et al. 2016). The children who have special needs can often wander, in which cases GPS locator can track them effectively. The children can also be monitored with their behavioral problems and bring peace to the minds of the parents

Limitations of the issue: A prominent limitation of this issue is that the children may feel that their privacy is being breached with time that they start to grow up. this is often a common problem for teenagers who can then develop a neurocognitive emotion to be defensive and hide information from their parents. As commented by Lupton and Pedersen (2016), the lack of trust in the relationship of children and parent due to the usage of this device can also result in significant limitations. The issue of data theft and exposure to third party vendors can incur major risk to the wellbeing of the children in long and short term bases. The data can be used for major criminal activities and can harm the social and overall safety of the children (Lupton and Williamson, 2017). It can also give rise to selling data over to multiple other companies for profit thereby putting the privacy of children at a stake.

Hence, this ethical issues assignment analyses the grey area of ethical consideration involved in tracking and checking the movements of children by their parents or guardians. The present consideration is held for debate in terms of personal surveillance application and tracking technologies. The steady increment in the usage of these applications has been growing in prominence to the monitor movement, health, mindfulness and social habits of the children. Application of these technologies exposes both the child and the parent to dangers of data trafficking. A majority of parents opt for open interaction with their children to inform their usage of GPS tracking devices. However, technologies that go a step further to track their activities in terms of social media and phone records can create multiple issues for the child and their relationship with the parent. Thus, it is advisable for the parents to undertake a considerate viewpoint while attaining this sensitive ICT issue. Overall this ethical issues assignment has identified participation and awareness of parents in healthy parenting as an effect tool to reduce this ethical dilemma that has shown its prominence in the recent years. Ethical issues assignments are being prepared by our IT assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable assignment help online service.

Fahlquist, J.N., 2015. Responsibility and privacy—Ethical aspects of using GPS to track children. Children & Society, 29(1), pp.38-47.

Scott, K.M., Gome, G.A., Richards, D. and Caldwell, P.H., 2015. How trustworthy are apps for maternal and child health?. Health and Technology, 4(4), pp.329-336.

Gabriels, K., 2016. ‘I keep a close watch on this child of mine’: a moral critique of other-tracking apps. Ethics and Information Technology, 18(3), pp.175-184.

Barry, M., Doherty, K., Marcano Belisario, J., Car, J., Morrison, C. and Doherty, G., 2017, May. mHealth for maternal mental health: everyday wisdom in ethical design. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2708-2756). ACM.

Bagot, K.S., Matthews, S.A., Mason, M., Squeglia, L.M., Fowler, J., Gray, K., Herting, M., May, A., Colrain, I., Godino, J. and Tapert, S., 2018. Current, future and potential use of mobile and wearable technologies and social media data in the ABCD study to increase understanding of contributors to child health. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 32, pp.121-129.

Rooksby, J., Asadzadeh, P., Morrison, A., McCallum, C., Gray, C. and Chalmers, M., 2016, November. Implementing ethics for a mobile app deployment. In Proceedings of the 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction (pp. 406-415). ACM.

Nebeker, C., Lagare, T., Takemoto, M., Lewars, B., Crist, K., Bloss, C.S. and Kerr, J., 2016. Engaging research participants to inform the ethical conduct of mobile imaging, pervasive sensing, and location tracking research. Translational behavioral medicine, 6(4), pp.577-586.

Goodyear, V.A., 2017. Social media, apps and wearable technologies: navigating ethical dilemmas and procedures. Qualitative research in sport, exercise and health, 9(3), pp.285-302.

Lupton, D. and Williamson, B., 2017. The datafied child: The dataveillance of children and implications for their rights. New Media & Society, 19(5), pp.780-794.

Lupton, D. and Pedersen, S., 2016. An Australian survey of women's use of pregnancy and parenting apps. Women and birth, 29(4), pp.368-375.

Ghosh, A.K., Badillo-Urquiola, K., Guha, S., LaViola Jr, J.J. and Wisniewski, P.J., 2018, April. Safety vs. surveillance: what children have to say about mobile apps for parental control. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 124). ACM.

Nebeker, C., Lagare, T., Takemoto, M., Lewars, B., Crist, K., Bloss, C.S. and Kerr, J., 2016. Engaging research participants to inform the ethical conduct of mobile imaging, pervasive sensing, and location tracking research. Translational behavioral medicine, 6(4), pp.577-586.

Grant, C.T. and Grant, K.A., 2018. Improving Moral Behaviour in the Business Use of ICT: The Potential of Positive Psychology. In Business Education and Ethics: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 1178-1200). IGI Global.

Stahl, B.C., Timmermans, J. and Flick, C., 2017. Ethics of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies On the implementation of responsible research and innovation. Science and Public Policy, 44(3), pp.369-381.

Burmeister, O.K., 2017. Professional ethics in the information age. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 15(4), pp.348-356.


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