College is a major time of self-discovery. Being out on your own allows you and actually forces you make decisions. And those decisions begin to help you determine who you truly are as a person.
With that space and freedom, the true essence of a person is revealed.
However, in our digital society, space and freedom are becoming harder and harder to find.
Before a child is even born, parents are beginning to create a digital footprint for them. They post pictures of their birth announcements and ultrasound pictures. By doing so they are leaving a trail to their child’s personal information such as birthday, name, and sometimes even place of birth.
During their adolescent ages, parents share embarrassing photos and humor stories about the comical actions of a developing child increasing their digital footprint.
These things all seem innocent when we glance at them on our social media feeds because in our world it is strange not to have a digital footprint.
Yet, the innocence of finding ones self is being lost among the innocence of sharing information.
The more we share online about ourselves the more we solidify portions of our identity because what we share on the internet does not go away.
Thus, our children are losing the opportunity to find themselves on their own. Or once they have the opportunity such as in college, they don’t know how to use it. They run towards approval seeking means to continue to define their identity.
We have reached the point where oversharing is now normal and expected.
I think we need to give each other the freedom and space we need – but may not necessarily want – now to keep some things private. We need to refrain from posting about every little thing and start collecting memories outside of the web so that we can find out who we are.
Maybe we will be surprised we like ourselves more than we like the likes and retweets.