Morality on the Internet

January 12th, 2010 at 3:02 pm by David Farrar

A very interesting survey done in November by UMR of 1,000 adult NZers about morality on the Internet. I blog most of the findings below. It is important to remember this is a poll of all NZers, not just of Internet users.

Respondents were asked about eight activities and if they thought they were morally acceptable or morally wrong, regardless of legality. Morally acceptable percentages are

  1. A single person using Internet dating 82%
  2. A single person flirting online 69%
  3. A single person watching porn online 41%
  4. Watching copyrighted TV online via Youtube 31%
  5. A married person watching porn online without spousal knowledge 21%
  6. Downloading copyrighted music for free 18%
  7. Downloading copyrighted movies for free 13%
  8. Married person flirting online without spousal knowledge 6%

I think the first three are morally acceptable, but the last four are not. No 4 depends a bit on context – if that is the only way to see a TV show in your country, I don’t think it is morally unacceptable.

I’m am amazed that some people think it is morally unacceptable to use Internet dating if single.

Men in all eight categories are more likely to say something is morally acceptable. The biggest difference is with a single person watching porn online – 56% of men say morally acceptable and only 26% of women.

Age difference also pronounced. 59% of under 30s say pron watching is fine for singles, while only 17% of over 60s agree.

Also og interest is 47% of respondents said they have downloaded music files even though only 18% say it is morally acceptable.

Poll on Morality

September 14th, 2009 at 7:53 pm by David Farrar

I’ve just blogged at curiablog, on a morality poll by UMR. Respondents were asked how morally acceptable (or unacceptable certain activities were. Below is the morally acceptable score for each activity and the net acceptable score (acceptable less unacceptable)

From most to least acceptable, they were:

  1. Divorce 81%, +68%
  2. Sex outside marriage 77%, +59%
  3. Having baby outside marriage 71%, +48%
  4. Stem cell research 63%, +38%
  5. Homosexual relations 61%, +29%
  6. Euthanasia 55%, +18%
  7. Abortion 55%, +21%
  8. Gambling 52%, +10%
  9. Animal medical testing 52%, +12%
  10. Wearing or buying fur 48%, +4%
  11. Death Penalty 43%, -7%
  12. Animal Cloning 27%, -40%
  13. Suicide 20%, -48%
  14. Married people having affairs 13%, -70%
  15. Polygamy 11%, -74%
  16. Human cloning 7%, -81%

Now this was asking about moral acceptability, not legality. So while only 55% think abortion is morally acceptable, that doesn’t mean only 55% think it should be legal.

Now what would my answers have been. None of the first ten I would regard as morally unacceptable. I do regard the death penalty as unacceptable – not keen on states being able to kill it citizens. Tend to regard suicide as morally unacceptable in most circumstances but not all (ie terminally ill). While generally I think it is not a good idea for married people to have affairs (and if married I would not), I’m wouldn’t label it as morally unacceptable as it is between those two people. I don’t think polygamy should be legal but nor do I regard it as morally unacceptable. And finally I don’t believe human cloning is automatically morally unacceptable.  I favour very very tight restrictions on it, but think there are potential benefits.

So bottom line is there is very little I believe is always morally unacceptable. Mainly just the death penalty really.

I’m sure very few here will agree with me!