Introduction to Computer Information Systems and Ethics
This text provides a comprehensive overview of how information systems relate to ethics. While reading, consider the relationship between ethical action and legal remedies. Many people think that the ethical issues raised by new technologies are just the same issues in a new form. Do you agree or disagree? Has technology created a new class of ethical issues? What are the difficulties raised by creating new laws and regulations to solve these issues?
Computers and Your Health
There are some physical problems that can be caused by computer use such as eyestrain, blurred vision, fatigue, headaches, backaches, and wrist and finger pain. One kind of health problem that occurs is repetitive stress injuries, which is when doing the same thing over and over causes hand, wrist, shoulder, or neck pain. Using the keyboard and the mouse can cause repetitive stress injuries. One repetitive stress injury that is related to repetitive finger movement is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful condition of the hands and wrists. Another repetitive stress injury is related with typing on the smaller keyboards of mobile devices and this is called DeQuervain's tendonitis. There can also be many eye problems caused by looking at a computer screen for too long. Another concern is hearing loss because many portable media devices can be turned up too loud and cause hearing problems. There is also a concern with radiation that can be emitted from wireless devices. Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS is a certified doctor of natural medicine and of chiropractic manipulation and is a clinical nutritionist, who believes electromagnetic radiation (RMR) from cell phones is harmful to our bodies and our brains, resulting in cancers, tumors and dementia. He also believes we need further testing to discover just how dangerous cell phones (and other EMR-emitting devices) really are. There are ways to avoid the physical health problems caused by computers. One way is to make sure that you are comfortable while at the computer and that you use a good chair that will be supportive for your back and neck. It is also important to just be aware of these possible physical health risks caused by computers because it is something that is often overlooked. Of course, to avoid EMR you'll have to avoid using cell phones, which is highly unlikely to happen.
As mentioned before, most people today interact with some type of computer daily. We have learned that there are many risk factors associated with the extended use of computers. Some of those risk factors include eye strain, fatigue and upper and lower body discomfort. Luckily, there is a solution to these problems. It is called ergonomics. Ergonomics is a technology which focuses on making the work space as functional, safe and comfortable as possible. One thing computer users should consider when using the computer is wrist strain. It is important for the user to keep his wrists as straight as possible. Some causes for a bent wrist can be the keyboard being too low or high, or it being tilted upward. A solution to this can be to adjust the keyboard to the appropriate height or adjust the height of the chair. Another solution could be to use a split keyboard or what is known as an ergonomic keyboard. Another risk people face with extended use of the computer is back discomfort or even back disorder. This can be caused by an inadequate chair that lacks support for the back. It can also be caused by a lack of foot support or from slouching due to fatigue. Some solutions to these problems would be to use a lumbar cushion or to utilize a foot rest. It is also important for a user to take frequent breaks and change positions often. Many people today are exposed to extended computer use whether it is for a job or for entertainment. It is important for computer users to know the risks associated with over-usage and to be familiar with ergonomics in order to create the safest and most comfortable environment for themselves.
Computers in Medicine
In the same way that computers can be hazardous to one's long term health, they can also be used to monitor and, in-fact, encourage healthy habits. Sitting at a computer sedentary for hours on end day-in and day-out can lead to eyestrain, headaches, etc. as was previously discussed. However, in recent years, health and medicine have capitalized on the use of computers to further their industry. In hospitals and labs, CAT scans, X-rays, EEGs, EKGs, heart monitors, blood pressure and blood sugar scanners, and much more have been used to assess and monitor an individual's health. Certainly these additions to the medical field have made medicine a much more precise science and helped countless individuals who were suffering. However, computers have not only been used in reactive situations. They now can also help an individual be proactive about their health with the introduction of embedded computers, monitors, and biometrics. One example of this is the three-dimensional accelerometer (better known by the brand name "Fitbit"). These technologies allow the mechanism to gather data about the human body, interpret the data into usable information, and also store it in case a medical professional needs access to real-time health records. They can give an individual information about heartbeat/heart rate, sleep patterns, amount of physical activity, etc. and, in some cases, can even recommend that a person change certain behavior to combat unhealthy habits.
Stress of Ever-Changing Technology
Today we see many kinds of changes that are causing a great deal of stress and anxiety. Most of these changes are directly related to the digital revolution and have only become problems in the last 10 to 20 years. Modern technology has infiltrated the workplaces, people's cars and their homes. According to the Angus Reid, 14% of Canadian workers identified new technology in the workplace as a significant source of stress. Never before have individuals been asked to adapt as rapidly. Instant communication and exponentially growing technology lead us to one of the few absolute truths – technology change is constant. Technology has reconfigured the nature of work and our social relationships on the job. People feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails and calls that they receive. Though people cannot stop this technology roller coaster, they can use a variety of practical strategies to develop resilience and renew and replenish themselves. Some of the simplest skills that the people can learn to be more resilient to stress are deep relaxation and self-care. It can convert fatigue into energy and restlessness into calmness.
Because of our fast growth and use of technology there are many positive advantages of using computers; however, in recent years emotional health has become an important factor when using computers and technology. The use of computers in general can cause much stress and anxiety for workers in different fields today. When computers were first introduced to the working field, secretaries had to learn how to change from a typewriter to a keyboard. Many people now widely understand the use of computers, but the downfall is keeping up with the changing technology. Every few years a new system, computer design, etc. is updated and sent out to the market. This makes operating a company more difficult when programs and systems need to be updated. Because the Internet can be accessed 24/7 the stress of being "on-call" is worrisome to many workers. They worry they do not have enough down time for themselves once they come home from work that day. In the U.S. information is right at citizens' fingertips, which can sometimes create an information overload. There is always news to be caught up on, as well as catching up with email, text messages, and social media. Many can become exhausted from being on the computer (or cell phone) too much. This is called burnout which is long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. A more common type of "emotional health" deals with teenagers who have a technology addiction. Social media plays a huge role in this today.
The virtual world is similar to reality. People can play their chosen online roles, similar to the masks people put on everyday. At the same time the virtual world seems to have advantages over the real world. You can achieve success through creativity while concealing defects. Virtual reality (VR) gives individuals the opportunity to take on any role without having to take any of the responsibility and without fear of the consequences of rejection or condemnation. The person feels protected and inaccessible and can easily express their opinions, even if they are not able to do so in real life. The virtual world gives the illusion of protection from loneliness. At the same time it provides an opportunity to get away from communicating with real people, whose opinion would have to be considered. VR allows you to simulate reality by creating a state of endless possibilities. Surfing the Net gives the feeling of being in the "flow" and a disconnection from reality with a sense of being in another world, another time, another dimension.
Many people today are addicted to the internet but do not know that they are. There are many signs of internet addiction. A good example is if they are always thinking about the internet. If a person is using the internet more and more in order to receive satisfaction, this could be a sign of addiction. If they feel restless or depressed because they're not on the internet, this too could be a tell-tale sign of internet addiction. Some tips on breaking this internet addiction are to understand that they have a problem with the internet. Next is to build coping skills. Many people become addicted to the internet because it is their outlet for stress and anger. Being able to change the way a person copes with their problems would be extremely beneficial. There is also therapy, counseling and support groups to take advantage of and help with this addiction. It is important to be able to overcome an internet addiction to be able to fully appreciate life.
According to stopcyberbullying.org, cyberbullying occurs when a minor is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another minor using the Internet. These acts can be committed through interactive and digital technologies, or mobile phones. To be considered a true cyberbullying incident, minors must be involved on both sides, or at least instigated by one in an attempt to harm, another. If and when adults become involved, it then becomes cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, and is wholly different from cyberbullying. For most, it is usually not a one time event, unless it is a legitimate threat of serious harm. Children are typically aware of the extent of danger or hurtful ideas, while parents may be more concerned about offensive language used. Ultimately, cyberbullying could lead to a misdemeanor charge, though if the child is young enough, juvenile delinquency is an option. Often, it does not go that far, yet many parents try to pursue criminal charges. If hacking, password breach, or identity theft is involved, it can be a crime of state and federal law.