Virtual Morality – Its Effect On The Society
Virtual morality is the art of making moral choices in a virtual setting such as while playing video games, watching videos online, or when interacting with others on an online communication platform.
The morality principles followed in everyday life come with many restrictions. The ethical principles of individuals remain intact due to the fear of punishment they have. However, in a virtual setting, these principles can be abolished as there are no consequences for actions in this environment.
Considering this, a question comes forward regarding the aspect of virtual morality. Does it influence the real-life moral choices of an individual? Is it just harmless fun? Or is it a channel to let out the emotional frustrations of everyday life?
Virtual morality in video games
Aggression and violence have become a significant part of video games. In online games like Grand Theft Auto, players are empowered with the opportunity to murder or harm pedestrian cops and even prostitutes. Some suggest that the game ignites the feelings of power and of being in control amongst vulnerable individuals who live in an otherwise oppressed environment. Hence, as a result of this experience, these individuals may exercise those immoral choices in real life to experience an augmented version of this emotion.
However, another perspective may suggest that individuals who make immoral choices in the game are susceptible to making those choices in real-life situations as well. These individuals may be using the game to diffuse these feelings and prevent themselves from taking such measures in real-life situations.
The games of moral choices
The use of AI technology to develop video games now gives individuals the chance to test out situations that can place them in an ethical dilemma. Many applications provide users with two choices that allow them to live life without any consequences. It is up to the users to choose whether or not they desire to be ethical or not.
The lack of consequences can push many individuals over the edge and coerce them into engaging in actions, in real life, which can cause harm to society. The high experienced from the game can make the individual crave for it. In the state of frenzy, the person may not consider the severity of consequences of those actions in reality.
On the contrary, people who play these games may use it for moral enlighten. Some individuals participate in the applications to test out their moral principles. By experimenting with reflecting on how the choices make them feel (both moral and immoral), individuals can identify the degree of altruism, egocentrism and hedonistic tendencies present within them. With this number highlighted, individuals can work on the areas which they would like to improve on.
Hence, the games allowing freedom form the principles of morality does not always cause harm to society. A debate suggests that individuals with sadistic tendencies will make immoral choices, regardless of the platform presented to them. Whereas, those who are willing to better themselves will use any platform to refine themselves to become a better person.
The morality in trolling
Internet trolling is a slang term that refers to the act of getting out an emotionally-infused response from any party on an online platform. Trolling has become extremely common in the age of the internet.
The debate regarding the morality of trolling has two stances- it is done without intending harm, or it is a form of cyberbullying.
Trolling as a form of entertainment
Many morality experts consider trolling to be a form of entertainment. With the frequent use of social media platforms, trolling has become escapable. On these platforms, trolling others have been viewed as a form of entertainment. When people connect with others on these platforms, they are permitting others to express themselves without being judged. As trolling comes with a good intention (entertaining the self and others), should it even be considered immoral?
Trolling viewed as cyberbullying
In most moral perspectives, trolling is also viewed as cyberbullying. When someone sits behind a computer, they have no regard for the other party. They are unable to empathise or feel for the other person. Thus, stating immoral things becomes relatively easy. However, despite not being able to see the other party, the implications of this act can be severe. While trolls can get away with most of the things they say, the hurt stays embedded within the victim.
Morality is a concept that has been under investigation from the beginning of time. However, with the advancement of technology, new debates have been started on the concepts of virtual morality. The lack of consequences may be harmful from a holistic perspective, or it may be used to diffuse the presence of immoral character traits.
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