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Kant's Deontological Theory: Child's Privacy Essay

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In Kantian ethics it is unethical to develop and install software to help a friend monitor their 16-year-old child’s phone and computer activity without their child’s knowledge. This would be a violation of the child’s privacy and everyone has a perfect duty to provide other people with privacy and not monitor or spy on them without their knowledge.
According to Kant, rational people have to act according to the categorical imperative, which can be thought of as a sort of tool or set of rules that people can use to decide whether or not an action is genuinely morally acceptable. There are multiple formulations derived from it. The first formulation states that people should only act according to certain rules or maxims that can become universal laws that apply to everyone without contradictions. This means that in a given scenario, the situation should be generalized into a universal law. If this universal law is applied to everyone in a hypothetical world, it must make sense and be possible without contradictions. Even the hypothetical world does make sense without contradictions, it must also be a world that people would want to live in. If an action does not pass this test, Kant says that we have a perfect duty not to do that particular action ever. For example, people have a perfect duty not to lie because in a world where everyone lies, no one would ever know who was telling the truth, no one would trust anyone, and it would be a world that no rational person would want to live in. For each of these reasons, humans have a perfect duty not to lie to one another. It is also possible for certain things to be considered imperfect duties, or things that you should do some of the time but you’re not necessarily always obligated to...


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...child myself, I wouldn’t want to provide the tools which enable my friend to do so. I believe that people have a perfect duty not to spy on one another. As someone with a reasonable technical knowledge, I would inform the parent that there are other ways of controlling their child’s computer and phone usage without directly monitoring them and reading their conversations. For example, the parent could instead opt to block access to adult websites from the router, restrict functions such as video chat or picture messaging, and limit the amount of time a child can spend on their devices without viewing each and every individual thing that the child does. This way the child will understand what is expected of them with regards to their electronic device usage without feeling that their every move is being monitored and that their private conversations are being read.



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