In a recent essay, entrepreneur and author Ben Casnocha, wonders about how young people’s self images are affected by their social network profiles. Ben says filling out the open-ended sections of profiles, especially ‘bio’ boxes may not be a bad thing if it leads to teens introspecting and trying to understand themselves better, but the other more tightly-defined sections of the profile may result in them developing a rigid mindset.
Ben comments on his blog:
Imagine the tens of millions of 15 year-olds who go to set up their profile and see a big white text book that says “Bio.” As the cursor blinks, they ask themselves, “What is my biography? What are my interests? What are my religious views? What is my relationship status? Am I sexually interested in men or women?”
As younger and younger people set up profiles, they end up confronting some of the central angst-inducing identity questions early in life. Insofar as this all prompts reflection on issues, I say ’tis a good thing. But there’s also a risk of people too quickly pouring cement on their identity. A 15-year-old selects from a drop down menu “Liberal” and views his page a few times a day. What does that do to his willingness to evolve his mindset?
There should be a checkbox at the top of your profile labeled “Keep Your Identity Small”. There should be a drop-down option for “Uncertain” in each category.