Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Leader Resource 1: Integrity Dilemmas

Part of Virtue Ethics

Dilemma 1

A friend confides to you that he has committed a particular crime and you promise never to tell. Discovering that an innocent person has been accused of the crime, you plead with your friend to give himself up. He refuses and reminds you of your promise. What should you do? In general, under what conditions should promises be broken?

Dilemma 2

Integrity can be compromised by pictures as well as by words. About 20% of youth admit to sexting: sending sexual messages and/or nude photos through text messaging. If the photos are of a minor, this is child pornography and a felony crime. At least 10 states have charged teenagers in court. If convicted, these youth's names can be added to a database of sex offenders, where they can remain for decades. Often, youth send nude photos to a boyfriend or girlfriend, thinking the photos will remain private. However, if one party becomes angry or thinks it is funny, these photos can get all over the Internet. Once a photo is posted, it is virtually impossible to delete it from the cyber world. Even if the photo is not posted, once it is sent, you have no control over who the receiver shows it to. For example, if the receiver looks at a nude photo of you in public, strangers may look over their shoulders and see it.

Some people argue that this is an issue about personal freedom. Others say it is about the law. How is this also an issue of integrity? What do you think about sexting?