Metaphors and morality: Are digital media epistemologically compatible with moral socialization? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



Recent neurological research supports a media ecology approach to suggest an epistemological incompatibility between digital and mobile media and moral and ethical socialization. The digital transformation of social and interpersonal discourse may cause succeeding generations of digital natives to develop an inability to conceptualize, contemplate and subsequently act on moral concepts and ethical principles. Media ecology, as defined by Neil Postman (1970), examines how media influence perception, understanding and value, and their impact on our survival. These issues are at the heart of morality and ethics. Neurological research has shown the brain’s plasticity allows use of media technology to alter how we think as well as the anatomy of the brain itself. A comparison of the epistemological requirements of moral socialization and the epistemological characteristics of media indicates that digital media may be particularly ineffective in communicating essential moral concepts. Implications for future research and the associated responsibility of educators and media practitioners are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): brain; ethics; Internet; media; metaphors; morality; Postman
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