Developing an Online Identity

Photo by This is Engineering from Unsplash

Online spaces are important for adolescent identity development, and I think the same is true for adults. The article speaks about how intertwined our online and in person lives are, and I think that is why everyone using the internet is heavily impacted by it. Students are using the internet for education, but it is providing a lot more than that. They are also hearing about the world, keeping in touch with friends, understanding their interests, etc. Things that may otherwise have gone unknown lay at their fingertips. Young people are growing up with this technology surrounding them, but even adults likely find themselves relying heavily on technology. Especially during covid, it has become a lifeline for the population. Our lives are made up of technology and that technology shapes us in return (Wängqvist & Frisén, 2016).

Bozkurt & Tu (2016) share some important ideas with the previously mentioned article. I found their discussion over whether or not we are truly ourselves online very interesting, and I think that answer is different for everyone. They also speak about the two way street that exists on the internet, shaping going both ways. This seems both helpful and to learning in different ways. If the internet is shaped by us, we are all able to share and will likely find information that interests us. In that same breath, we are all shaping a digital landscape, so control over content is very limited. Is all of the information we are absorbing true? The answer is no, but to what extent?

Alec Couros’ TEDtalk raised interesting points about the risk that the internet poses, and also about the incredible connections it creates. In my opinion, the only way to keep children and people safe on the internet is to teach them about the dangers of being online. Whether or not parents and teachers accept it, students will find ways to get online. They will be making the choices that impact their safety, so it is our job to make sure they know what to do. Creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable talking about being online and how they are spending their time on the internet will help in addition. Armed with an understanding of the risks, people are able to partake in the positive, uniting parts of the internet without finding themselves in trouble.

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