"Cyber Ethics" Conference Set for October

WASHINGTON (05/08/2000) - Although schools are doing a better job at teaching children how to use the Internet, they are not addressing cyber ethics, some say. That will be the focus of a national conference in October.

"Cyber Ethics: Teaching Responsible Use of Technology" will focus on teaching educators how to teach their students cyber ethics.

The conference will feature educators, government officials and business leaders who will speak on how to address the issues for students in kindergarten through college. It will be held from October 6 through 8 at Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia. The event is a sponsored by Marymount and Cybercitizen Partnership, a joint venture between the Information Technology Association of America and the U.S. Department of Justice.

When typical crimes are committed on the Internet, students do not see them as a crime, said Cherie Geide, the conference director.

"They don't see anything wrong with it because they see it as a prank. It's more unacceptable to do it verbally where people can overhear it. They think it's anonymous on the Internet," said Geide, a former principal and an adjunct professor at Marymount University, teaching curriculum development and technology in the classroom.

Geide said young computer users do not see hacking, e-mail threats, cyberstalking, Intellectual Property Rights (such as in software or music) and virus distribution as crimes.

"This is something that needs to be instructed as routine curriculum," she said. "That these behaviors are as unacceptable in cyberspace as in the physical realm.

One of the main goals of the conference, Geide said, is to produce goals for further development of curriculum to address this topic after the conference.

It will also focus on teaching parents and others about instilling cyber ethics in students.

Invited speakers include U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Donald Upson, Virginia secretary of technology; Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America; and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia.

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