(2) Public or Private?


Photo taken from Bob Mackin: (GlobalCirc2/objects/articlePicture.pbo)

Our privacy is completely being invaded as the internet is never truly private; once something is posted on the internet it can be accessed by anyone who knows how to acquire such information. There is little ‘private’ life online and that can even be questioned in the future. Authority figures like businesses and Police officers have even resorted to researching an individual online to confirm of any suspicious acts or inappropriate behaviours. This makes it more difficult for an individual to get a job when perhaps their past may come back to haunt them.

The internet focused generation is losing compassion and emotion through online interactions. Sherry Turkle’s idea of online identity suggests that there is less face-to-face social interaction as a result of individuals losing patience as well as listening skills (2012). Such habits can also hinder our personable relationships by teaching new habits like portraying oneself with a desired image or defining ourselves (self-fulfilling prophecy) and being able to edit, delete or retouch such information online (Turkle, 2012). Not to mention the misinterpretation of wordiness and tone are often misread via text as one must assume what is being heard. This idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy brings up a similar point that Ellison and Boyd (2007) made in regards to individuals not being able to attain an ‘authentic’ profile; considering that fake profiles are made regularly, as well as social and technological uses will indeed shape one’s practices and uses (Pg. 220).

Not only is there a social downfall but also the academic debate of attaining the appropriate writing skills and communication approaches; individuals are introduced to a new ‘computing vocabulary’ of new terms and short terms of words (in which can also be considered as laziness) during technology discussion (Albrechtslund, 2008); accordingly, contributing to individuals losing grammar, punctuation and spelling (as everything online spell checks or corrects instantly).

I found Turkle’s point about not ‘teach[ing] children to be alone as they will [not] know how to be lonely’ (2012), very significant to my future research and theme of youth development. This concern only adds more issues around the rising depression levels and mental illnesses in children as feeling alone is a common occurrence throughout maturity and the life cycle. As being constantly connected to others gives us a sense of comfort to know that there is always someone or something to talk to/be there.

On a minor yet significant note, I can only assume our generations will have more neck, spine and carpal tunnel problems than ever before!



Albrechtslund, A. (2008) “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance.” First Monday. 13,3.

Boyd, D & Ellison, N. (2007). “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship  Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.” 13 (1), 210–230. Received from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.library.brocku.ca/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x/pdf

Turkle, S. (2012). “The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review.” April 21, 2012. Received from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?pagewanted=all

Turkle, S. (2012). “Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012”. Received from: http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/



  1. Hello. I agree partially with your comment about the privacy issue. However, I feel that the individual can control their privacy by what they choose to reveal to others online. There are still people who will not bank or purchase on line from my age group (I am 41) who have revealed very little about themselves that way, never mind via SSNs. Now I know most businesses, banks and even Government offices are beginning to transfer most of their services online, but I have little concern abut what they will find out and how they will use it. What I do agree with is how others use, interpret, and respond to what we post online. Those unregulated users who misrepresent themselves, their intentions, and goals are the ones we should be concerned about. Online predators can hurt in many ways. Either by financial loss, loss of reputation, respect, self-esteem and character or as very recent times has shown us much worse. It is in this area that I feel we need to be concerned and need to guard our privacy regarding the Internet, but unfortunately the younger generations are so used to being online they are not aware or concerned about such things

    1. You make a good point Colin, I do agree most have choice in what they post and do not post yet somehow things are still ‘leaked’ and shown to others without permission. There is so much focus around social media, popularity, relationships etc. yet not enough information around online predators – I mean, how many stories do you hear on the news about internet and e-mail scandals, people stealing money or perverted pictures..? It seems to be HEAVILY monitored (perhaps by corporations to keep just negative reviews out of the news so they don’t lose.. for lack of a better word – clients?). It seems rather worrisome to me, considering our children are going to be the ones to suffer.

  2. Hey, I agree with both your points when it comes to privacy, because even though people can take precautions from what they post, somehow others have access to these “private” parts of their lives. I especially liked how you linked the topic of loneliness and mental health issues among youth, I believe that this also relates to bullying, the Internet is a place where children can easily “hide behind computer screens” and say what they want, because they feel invisible. I also agree with the point that Sherry Turkle makes, that technology is making us lose face to face interaction, it can be seen everywhere now, two people are out to lunch but are constantly on their phones talking to other people. We want to always feel connected.

  3. Hello Michelle. I just wanted to let you know that I may be late posting my comments this week. I am travelling with my family to a soccer tournament and may not have time to do so until Saturday morning or early afternoon. i will do my best to get them up on time if possible sorry. Colin

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