We feel the empowering nature of presumed anonymity when we sign online. No matter how long we've been alive or how smart we may be, we often neglect the permanence of the data we contribute to the internet.
Photo by kated (Shutterstock).
Young developer Will Smidlein explains the problem concisely and poignantly:
The problem with the internet is that nothing is temporary. There's always a cache, a backup, a screenshot, a file. And teens use the internet. And when people use the internet, they don't always think before they act. ... Technology abstracts us from the emotions that humans require for every day interaction. Trust, fear, compassion, empathy. It all goes out the window with a screen name.
We easily hurt ourselves and others when we act first and think second. It may have once been common sense, but with personal responsibility abstracted thanks to a series of tubes we have to take that extra step to remember ourselves.