Individuals living in information societies, like China or the United Kingdom, increasingly perceive their personal identity online (PIO) not just as their personal information available online, but also as who they are online. For them, the quality of life that they can enjoy through their PIOs is crucially important, as it has wide repercussions in terms of the quality of their onlife (both online and offline) experience.
This is evident when considering, for example, the effects of cyber bullying, i.e., the harassment perpetrated online on someone’s PIO, especially on young individuals. Cyber harassment rates for young people across the EU countries ranges from 10% to 52%. Young individuals who report being victims of bullying online also experience stress and exhibit problematic behaviour offline, such as running away from home, truancy, using alcohol or drugs, and, in the most tragic circumstances, committing suicide. PIOs pose increasingly pressing, ethical demands for a healthy and rewarding online experience, in which individuals may enjoy more affordances and spaces for self-expression, in other words, a ‘the good life online’.
However, current policies still treat PIOs as mere collections of personal information available online (a typical example is the ID for an online bank account) and hence focus almost exclusively on the protection of privacy and anonymity. Thus, they crucially underestimate the need to support PIOs and their proper developments educationally, ethically, and socially, in order to enable individuals and groups to enjoy a good life online. This project will develop an innovative and effective approach to the ethical management of PIO.