I pick up my phone and see three texts and a few emails and some social media alerts, mostly Facebook and Twitter. It seems that while I was napping the world had moved on around me. I Google how to make french toast, and shoot off some Facebook replies that get plans set in both my online and on-phone calendars. While making French toast from a recipe passed down through generations in the French countryside, I pull up my homework on my phone and start listening to it, streaming it audibly. There are some emails that I don't want to deal with until I am at work, which is a particular arm chair in the corner of the room, so I push them off, acknowledge some others and set down to eat while flirting with a girl 2000 miles away. What I hope the above anecdote illustrates is how reality of the internet has a notable impact on the style and substance of lives in the modern world. Any developmental model intended for such a world needs to take that into account. This literature review attempts to survey what we know about how this new world works, and how we work in it. Welcome to the future. We live here.
This literary review is divided into two categories: a synopsis of the usage reports on digital communication, primarily text messaging and social media, and a survey of some studies on the impact of digital interaction on psychological development. A study in Japan by Ito & Okabe (The Inside Text, 2005) examined the social setting created by the text messaging among the Japanese youth, coining a useful term of which we will avail ourselves: “technosocial situations” (ibid. p137). They focused on the continual contact with intimate peer groups, defining this technosocial system as a place where teens experience “a sense of persistent social space constituted through the periodic exchange of text messages” (Ito & Okabe, 2005). I am going to use this term to refer to the digital landscape in which both text and social media interactions take place, as it appears that the same phenomena by which it is defined in relation to text messaging, the creation of a persistent social space constituted through the periodic exchange of messages, is also the case with social media communication. As the two are frequently reached through the same access point, the cell phone, the impact of each should be very similar, in the consequences in the non-technosocial reality. The goal of this review is to try and identify if the use of the technosocial space is, as it appears to be, increasing, and what that might mean for the future of human development
There are several observations that rise out of this examination of the literature. The first of which is that the technosocial space is a very real part of the universe that we inhabit, and that does not appear to be likely to change in the foreseeable future. This parallel dimension of action, interaction, and self-projection has a noticeable effect on those activity spheres by its very nature. If we want to successfully incorporate this new reality into the reality that we know, we must accept the reality of it, and attempt to understand the way that the different nature of these activity spheres differ from our accustomed reality, and adjust our collective paradigms accordingly.
The first observation is that the technosocial space is real. Money that you spend here is really gone. The personas that you interact with are attached in a visceral way to real people, and your actions have a real impact both on the persona, and the real person behind it. Just because you cannot see the person you are interacting with, doesn't mean they don't exist (this is called object permanence, a skill you are supposed to pick up in the first year of life, but gets frequently tossed out the window when a shiny screen is injected into the situation). This is where a lot of the trouble in the technosocial space happens. Some people get angry when you remind them of the physical reality underlying their technosocial interactions. This could come across a number of ways, usually by shaming the offended party by asserting that whatever offense given should not offend, because it only happened on the internet, or "it's only fantasy football", or "hey, it's just a blog, relax" and the like. These diminish the alleged offense by attacking the other person's investment in the technosocial reality.
Forgive the formatting. I haven't figured out how to set this thing up for a citation page, yet.
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