Digital Confusion

My writing for Digital media class has asked us to reflect on the current state of digital ethos.

My assumption is that many of our youth have no idea what Digital Ethos is. So let me define this for you, Ethos means “ethics” which is the guiding belief of a person, group or organization. It is considered to be what governs our moral behavior.

After reading the article, Youth and Digital Information Credibility I realized that the youth suffer from knowledgeable leverages to better them in determining what articles via internet are credible sources or not. Since the rise of the internet and the growth of technology there has been a shift in not only credibility but quality and originality. As cited within this article Metzger and Flanagin stated that:

“Contemporary youth are a particularly important group to consider with regard to credibility issues because of the tension between their technical and social immersion with digital media, and their relatively limited development and life experience compared to adults (Metzger & Flanagin, 2008)”.

Our intentions are to prove accuracy using credible sources. Youth might have the knowledge of using technology but do they know how to decide whether a source is credible or not? Using a creditable source does not mean using someone you know.  There are a many steps that are useful in defining whether a source is credible. Below are 6 steps that I found on the University of Wisconsin that will aid an individual in deciding whether a source is credible:

  • Author – Information on the internet with a listed author is one indication of a credible site. The fact that the author is willing to stand behind the information presented (and in some cases, include his or her contact information) is a good indication that the information is reliable.
  • Date – The date of any research information is important, including information found on the Internet. By including a date, the website allows readers to make decisions about whether that information is recent enough for their purposes.
  • Sources – Credible websites, like books and scholarly articles, should cite the source of the information presented.
  • Domain – Some domains such as .com, .org, and .net can be purchased and used by any individual. However, the domain .edu is reserved for colleges and universities, while .gov denotes a government website. These two are usually credible sources for information (though occasionally a university will assign an .edu address to each of its students for personal use, in which case use caution when citing). Be careful with the domain .org, because .org is usually used by non-profit organizations which may have an agenda of persuasion rather than education.
  • Site Design – This can be very subjective, but a well-designed site can be an indication of more reliable information. Good design helps make information more easily accessible.
  • Writing Style – Poor spelling and grammar are an indication that the site may not be credible. In an effort to make the information presented easy to understand, credible sites watch writing style closely.
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