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Children’s Moral Concept of Privacy

PHOTO: 69 University St
February 6, 2024
room 01/016, 69 University Street, Queen's University
13:00 - 14:00

Centre for Children’s Rights Seminar Series

In Conversation with Sarah-Jane Conrad, Berne University, Switzerland

Children’s Moral Concept of Privacy

Audience: All students and staff across Queen’s University. To attend, RSVP to Evie:

This article presents the results from a qualitative study focussing on children’s ethical understanding of privacy. 162 children aged between four and twelve engaged in nine philosophical dialogues in Switzerland in 2021/2022. Their meaning-making processes during the dialogues inform us about their conceptualisation of privacy, in what contexts they consider privacy to be relevant and the value they attribute to it. The analysis of the data, based on Grounded Theory Methodology and Philosophical Argument-Reconstruction, clearly shows that children feel entitled to privacy from an early age on and they consider privacy to be key for their well-being. The analysis suggest that the children opt for a partially relational and context-sensitive conceptualisation of privacy. This becomes apparent in the ethical frameworks in which they embed privacy over different contexts: At home children tend to favour a contractualistic interpretation, at least to a certain age. In school and with friends, however, they frame privacy deontologically.

Sarah-Jane Conrad is a Reader at the Berne University School of Education, Switzerland, and works in the field of philosophical and social learning as well as learning for sustainability. Many of her activities are located at the interface between curriculum learning and education. She is currently working to ensure that children's rights are consistently integrated at all levels of the School of Education. In her philosophical research, she focuses on the question ‘why philosophy with children not only enriches philosophy and ethics of childhood, but must be seen as an integral part of it’.

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
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PHOTO: 69 University St