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Temelyan, Edgar
Jennifer Rodrick
English 115
December 8, 2016
Identity Shaped by Technology
Do we still have the ability to shape our own identities or do we rely on technology to do
that for us as well? Technology has advanced so rapidly in the past ten years that we have begun
to rely on it on a daily basis. If you left your phone at home, would you leave it for the night? I
know I couldnt because I rely on my phone for navigation, communication, and I stay connected
to social media throughout the night. There will always be the few that will say that technology
is negatively shaping our society and the majority is the older generation of family members,
such as our grandparents, great aunts, and uncles. While I understand why people may argue that
children stare at their phones for the majority of the day instead of playing outside, the amount of
positive factors that technology has to offer overcomes the negative. Technology has had a
positive impact on shaping identities, online and the affect in the real world by allowing social
connections for family communication with the use of cell phones, digital identities for career
enhancement for undergraduates, and identity exploration through alcohol experimentation
through the use of social media.
Technology has affected our lives in the real world by helping us stay connected with
parents, friends, and family. Without technology, the transition from high school to college would
be twice as hard especially for students who are dorming because it is the first time they are
stepping into an independent environment. Social connections are needed for students who
moved far away from home and are on their own for the first time in their lives, the best

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alternative for them to keep these connections with family would be with the use of technology.
These connections are kept and also put to use when a student is having issues supporting
themselves, as it is the first time they are living independent. With the difficulty of focusing on
maintaining a high grade point average, completing assignments, as well as juggling a social life,
where can a college freshman seek financial assistance? Of course, their parents is the answer
because whom else has a child relied on their whole live? This is where the use of technology
takes place. A study that took place in Montana State University by Betsy Palmer, Susan Boniek,
Elena Turner, and Elyse Dnn Lovell stated, Our results showed that cell phone was a prevalent
tool for family communication and revealed parental financial contribution as an unexpected
reason for family connection(293). In this quote the author states, that the use of cell phones
was a major factor in family communication for students living outside of the home. The author
also concluded that a crucial reason for this family connection was to seek financial assistance
from parents. The majority of the students that were interviewed in this study came to the
conclusion that phone calls were the main source of communication with family. Some admitted
to using email in order to send images, due to the parents not having any other way to receive
photos. This allows us to see the amount of influence that technology has for student that are
alone in a new environment. Another a student, Denise, who participated in the interview stated
my...[school] email gets full really fast, so I check that one pretty often. But my regular email
not so much. Im used to texting. Its much faster(288). Denise also uses social media, such as
Facebook and Myspace, to stay in contact with her cousins and friends from high school. This
concludes that with the use of technology, students build a finer connection with parents, friends
and family, regardless if they are dorming at a great distance from home. Another prime example

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of how technology shapes identity would be how we are presented online through our digital
Technology began shaping identities online when the first social media website was
released to the public through the Internet. A majority of the youth doesnt understand the
amount of influence a digital identity can have towards your future goals. The question that
should be asked to undergraduates today is, Would you feel comfortable stepping into a job
interview and submitting your Facebook or Instagram page on your resume? If not, then why do
you present yourself on your social media page in a way that you would not feel confident
enough to submit it to the job of your dreams? The concept that students dont understand is
that the digital identity that we build on the Internet is available for anybody to view, even to the
person that holds the decision of giving you the job that you dream for. Social media pages are
now being viewed before the acceptance of a job application. Many dont see the use of creating
a well-presented digital identity, which is why the University of Texas at El Paso conducted a
study with forty-four students that lasted through a year of research. The research included
students that were all involved in early education, near half were elementary teachers and the rest
were pre-teachers. Once the digital identities were created in a professional matter and the study
had completed, the teachers and the students that were all involved in the study had new
opportunities ahead of them and the teachers were able to enhance in their careers, as well as
advanced their skills in technology knowledge. The parents were requesting for their children to
be placed in the classroom of the teacher that had a technology based class so that their child can
have a rich education with new teaching methods. This was also a benefit to the teacher because
they had advanced in their career. As for the fourteen students that were pre-teachers, the article
by Ainsa, Trisha states, Fourteen of the students who were pre-teachers were offered

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employment in a tight job market. The pre-teachers stated that the digital identity definitely
helped them get employed and gave them an edge in the interviews and paper work
submissions(51). In this quote we understand that even with the tight job market, those who
participated in the study in creating digital identities for themselves, were offer employment
without a second thought. This goes to show that with the correct resume, digital identity and
education, advancing in a career and finding a job is always easier. Another way technology
shapes us would be the way we present ourselves through social media.
Social media is one of the major topics of discussion in todays society, which is why our
shaped identities online are considered before we are accepted into a job. Social media is used
the portrayal of an image that we want the world to see you as. Students who are being
introduced to being independent for the first time in their lives, who are entering the college
environment begin identity exploration for the first couple years. Throughout the journey of
exploration, people always experiment with many dangerous substances, which include drugs
and alcohol. According to an article, written by the Faculty of Health Sciences, from The
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Alcohol is a key component of identity exploration for
many young people, yet few studies have investigated identity construction in relation to
problematic drinking(1). This quote states that by using alcohol for identity exploration there
have been cases that have led to drinking problems in the students future. The study that took
place in the University of Sydney concluded that the alcohol-identity is portrayed for popularity
in social media website such as Facebook. According to the article, participants utilized a
variety of photographic and textual material to present alcohol as a component of their identity
on Facebook, with over half having selected an alcohol-related profile image(1). This quote
states, in order to make their social media pages popular, the students profile images were all

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associated with alcohol. Students do not understand that when they portray images like this on
their social media pages, it has an affect on their digital identities. For a job interviewer that has
never associated with these students, to see what they are presenting on their social media, the
first thought that comes to mind would be that the student is a regular drinker. In conclusion, due
to the freedom we are given to shape how others view us, students use alcohol to increase their
personal image on social media, for social popularity.

In the image we see above, some consider the sign that implies to drive slow, there are
children texting to be humor, but the truth is that this is an actual possibility. In the picture we
notice a young child that is outside using his phone instead of being involved in a physical
activity and he does not care to pay attention to where he is walking. There has been more then
one case where a child has been occupied on their smart phones and by doing so did not pay
attention to the road, and they wondered off into traffic. The sad truth is that there is a possibility
that we will see these signs on the street in the near future.

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Many say that technology is negatively affecting the youth by not allowing social contact
and communication with one another. Others say that we should be worried about our privacy,
how our children are not getting enough physical contact with other another, and most
importantly, cyber bullying within schools. These are all major issues that should be considered,
but the fact is that they can all be prevented. Schools can easily make a difference if they were to
constantly regulate their students social media pages or simply inform the students of the
consequences to their actions. These issues are the sacrifices that we made in order to benefit
from the technology we have today. Even though I agree with these points, I believe that there
are many more advantages with having social media and technology than disadvantages.
Considering the positive impact, information that would take us months or years to receive is
sent to us in matter of seconds. For families that live in different countries, technology allows us
to keep in touch with one another from our own homes, which was practically impossible only a
few years ago.
In conclusion, technology has affected our lives in a positive impact by helping us stay
connected with the world, allowing us to build digital identities and by giving us the freedom to
shape our own social image. Technology has a great deal of positive aspects on identity, but as
many of the articles stated, it can also be used for a negative as well. If everyone took advantage
of the amount of information we are exposed to, or the amount of positive capabilities
technology has to offer, the world would be a much better place. Without our current technology,
many would still lose their lives to the common cold and we wouldnt be able to share resources
with different parts of the world. Technology allowed us to travel by aircraft, by vehicles, by
train etc. Can you imagine a world without your everyday essentials? The closest thing to it
would be the time period of our founding fathers.

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Work Cited Page
AINSA, TRISHA. "College Students' Digital Identity: Perceptions Towards Employment
And Career." College Student Journal 50.1 (2016): 47-52. Academic Search Premier.
Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
Palmer, Betsy, et al. "Undergraduates, Technology, And Social Connections." College
Student Journal 48.2 (2014): 281-296. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
Alcohol In Online Social Identity Construction And Its Relation To Problem Drinking In
University Students." Drug & Alcohol Review 31.1 (2012): 20-26. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.