Call for Papers for a Special Issue with Ethics and Information Technology on

“Ethics of Social Networks for Special Needs Users”


Dear Reader,

Millions of persons all around the world are regular users of social networking sites. Their number does not stop increasing. Online social networks are used to share personal and professional experiences, keep in contact with family and friends, organise ones’ social lives, etc. They constitute opportunities in building Digital Society.

Nevertheless, social networking practices also raise unintended issues with regard to the human rights such as e.g. human dignity, right to integrity, right to identity, right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, rights of the children, the elderly and the persons with disabilities. These groups of persons represent what we call “special needs users” since their social networking practices raise specific challenges. Hence, understanding, supporting or helping specials needs users becomes a challenge for e-inclusion namely, on facilitating the usage of social networks, on protecting them for their special needs, as well as encouraging solidarities. We argue that today, solidarities among generations rely also in these types of communication and spaces of interaction and collaboration. Therefore, we need to interrogate these spaces and the resulting solidarities themselves arising from social network usage in order to tap into the conditions for these types of solidarities to emerge and relevant ethical issues.

This special issue invites submissions of original research exploring the interplay between Ethics, on-line social networks, and special needs users. Human Sciences and Interdisciplinary literature have seen an increased number of papers related to co-produced pervasiveness of on-line social networks like Facebook, Google +, linkedIn, etc., i.e. the function users develop with these technologies once deployed in different societal contexts. Most of the literature reflecting on ethical questions associated with these types of technology does not go beyond individuals’ privacy.

In this special edition, we wish to explore the ethical issues raised by social networks with a specific focus on the special needs users including children, elderly and persons with disabilities.

Focusing on values such as human welfare, universal usability, autonomy, etc., 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 usage by special needs persons? 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-bulling, 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 editor for more information,

Caroline Rizza

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Ângela Pereira

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Or the managing editor,

Noëmi Manders-Huits

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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.