Identity and Personal Intimacy

Guiding Questions: 1) How has technology lessened the prioritization of personal intimacy? What do teens end up losing in the long run? 2) Is our online activity, whether that’s countless hours on social media or communicating with various people, influencing our identity?

Hannah: As technology advances and increases, it seems as though our value of alone time does just the opposite. Individuals who spend a long time on the internet become addicted to it’s fast pace, numerous communities, and constant stream of news, ultimately becoming dependent on it. Our opinions and actions slowly become a reaction to what we see online. As a result, when we are in situations that force us to be alone, those few seconds or minutes become an eternity, and our appreciation of alone time is replaced by a frantic, almost impulsive need to be digitally surrounded by others.

Pooja: I agree in that whenever we have a spare moment to ourselves, we immediately pull out our phones just because we don’t want that feeling of doing nothing. In fact, “When people are alone at a stop sign or in the checkout line at the supermarket, they seem almost panicked and they reach for their phones.” It just seems that people don’t want to be left alone with their thoughts and in those moments they rather scroll through someone else’s page than to just take a moment to think. We are so use to the idea of being connected that when we’re aren’t we are left with this empty void that we don’t know how to deal with. In the long run teens end up losing precious time that could be spent discovering themselves. There is no down time, instead teens live in a “text-driven world of rapid response [that] does not make self-reflection impossible but does little to cultivate it.” We are constantly drawn to our phones and rather spend countless hours online. By doing so teens are depriving themselves of the opportunity to learn more about who they are and to grow as human beings. We learn from our experiences, but how can we learn if all we do is stay on our phones.

Hannah: I agree. Wherever there’s a lack of wifi, there’s a lack of teens. Even when surrounded by other people, teenagers are digitally alone, and personal intimacy no longer becomes a priority, but a choice. In the long run, there are going to be situations in which teens are inevitably going to be alone; not only does this take away from teens learning about themselves as you said, it also makes them more likely to avoid uncomfortable situations where they have no access to the web, hindering their exposure to a world without the web.

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