Storing up trouble?

Via B2fxxx an interesting article in New York Magazine suggesting that the advent of things like MySpace and Facebook have given young people a different attitude to privacy.

“So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact—quaint and naïve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up “putting themselves out there” and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it.”

Well, perhaps. On the other hand, we can point to plenty of savvy teenagers who wouldn’t even dream of using their real identities online, far less reveal all in MySpace. The article seems like a good example of the tendency to make sweeping generalisations about young people based on what some of them do. Some women are happy to use the pages of magazines to reveal the lurid details of affairs with their sister’s cousin’s nephew, but nobody extrapolates that all women therefore reject the notion of privacy.

If anything, the article highlights the lack of appreciation displayed by some young people of the potential danger of splashing one’s personal information around, the permanent nature of internet confessions, and the regrettable uses to which an employer or journalist might put Google in years to come.

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One Response to Storing up trouble?

  1. Ray Corrigan says:

    I couldn’t agree more. One of the problems with hard-won civil rights like privacy is that we will only ever truly appreciate them once they are gone.

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