Friday, June 15, 2012

Call for papers: Ethics of Social Networks for Special Needs Users

Call for Papers
 Ethics and Information Technology
Special Issue on Ethics of Social Networks for Special Needs Users

Millions of persons all around the world are regular users of social networking sites. Their number is still increasing. Online Social networking practices often raise unforeseen problems with regard to the rights, needs, and interests of the vulnerable, e.g. children, the elderly, and the persons with disabilities. These categories represent what we call “special needs users” and their social networking practices raise specific challenges. Understanding, supporting or helping specials needs users poses problems of e-inclusion, access to social networks, protecting them from harm and exploitation, and accommodating their special needs, supporting their emancipation and political participation, as well as encouraging solidarity with and among these groups.

This special issue invites submissions of original research exploring the interplay between Ethics, on-line social networks, and special needs users. We are particularly interested in contributions that identify ethical issues and their resolution by devising policies and proposing design solutions to the problems identified. Social sciences and Interdisciplinary studies have seen an increased number of papers related to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn. Most of the literature reflecting on ethical questions associated with these technologies does not go beyond the consideration of individuals’ privacy. In this special edition, we wish to explore a broader range of ethical issues raised by social networks, with a specific focus on the special needs users including children, elderly and persons with disabilities.

Values that come to mind in this context are wellbeing, voice, equality, autonomy and freedom, usability. Researchers are invited to propose papers addressing the key question of this special issue: what are the specific ethical considerations that need to be addressed in the design, deployment and governance of social networks use by special needs persons? Original articles on for example the following themes are welcome:
  1. minimum age and protection of minors;
  2. effect of a daily use of social networks on kids development including school performance;
  3. cyber-bullying, harassment and violence arising from SN usage amongst children;
  4. accessibility of elderly or disabled persons to SN;
  5. digital divide and e-inclusion; 
  6. ethical issues such as: identity, agency and autonomy for special needs users; 
  7. generational gaps and solidarities arising from SN usage; 
  8. types of solidarities arising from SN usage.
The editors at Ethics and Information Technology are seeking articles for a special issue in these areas. Submissions will be double-blind refereed for relevance to the theme as well as academic rigor and originality. High quality articles not deemed to be sufficiently relevant to the special issue may be considered for publication in a subsequent non-themed issue of Ethics and Information Technology.

Closing date for submissions: 30 September 2012

To submit your paper, please use the online submission system, to be found at

Please contact the special guest editors for more information: Caroline Rizza and Ângela Guimarães Pereira.

Or the managing editor, Noëmi Manders-Huits

Ethics and Information Technology (ETIN) is the major journal in the field of moral and political reflection on Information Technology. Its aim is to advance the dialogue between moral philosophy and the field of information technology in a broad sense, and to foster and promote reflection and analysis concerning the ethical, social and political questions associated with the adoption, use, and development of IT.

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