Online identity is a viral phenomenon that has hit the college generation and all the ones following. These younger generations who are in middle and high school believe to put their Reflexive identity online, which is what we think we are. However, many of them are, in reality, putting their Ascribed identity online, which is what society believes them to be. This is exhibited in the social media outlets like Facebook. Unfortunately, these young generations do not understand how they impact their fellow peers through their online aviators on social media.
These naïve actions are further explained in the article On Facebook, Bullies ‘Like’ if You Hate by Emily Layden on the New York Times website. This article explains how middle school students use their online identity to bully other students by posting ‘hate’ likes. ‘Hate’ likes, in other words, are posts that ask you to ‘like’ it if you agree to ‘hate’ it as well. Layden explains, “For my brother’s half — the younger set, the one that did not grow up in step with the Internet, but rather with it already established — there is no wariness, no understanding, no concept of an Internet identity. There is no such thing for them, for example, as “Internet famous.” There is only fame, and the allure of instant gratification. This is how cyberbullying has reached a fever pitch, and where I feel my half of this generation has failed the younger.” This article starts to open the eyes of the older generations that are selling this digital life idea to the negative impact they may be having.
The article by Layden further explains how these children’s online identities not only give them too much power, but also shows a perfect example of interactivity. Interactivity is briefly one judging people on the internet that are not like us, basically being uncivil to one another. Therefore, through these aviators these young generations are able to mask their true identity and act out in cruel and unfair ways towards their innocent peers. If this progresses further, which is inevitable, the concept of ‘bullying’ will no more be as simple as It might have been back when the college and older generations were back in their grade school days. Through these various identities, cyberbullying will continue to grow and go viral through the internet. This will leave a stamp on these young generations’ records to forever be known as being bullies or forever be known as being bullied. Nevertheless, this concept of online identity may have positive outlooks for some, but there can always be pitfalls to good things.