“The potential danger is no longer childhood’s disappearance, but rather the possibility of a perpetual childhood. We may, in short, have traded screen memories for screens.”

People who transition, for instance, often rely on having a clean break, visually, with their previous appearances; as Eichhorn points out, one of the early promises of the Internet, when it was just “texts and clip art,” was that it “presented itself as a safe place [for transgender youth] to try on an aspect of their identities they could not explore in their material lives.” Now that the Internet is more permanent, and more pervasive, it’s hard to avoid the relics of past identities. Eichhorn cites one of her students, Kevin, an aspiring film critic from a small town in upstate New York. By his second year of college, Kevin says, his Facebook stream “was getting really weird. I had my new friends from New York posting about queer performance art and these guys from my high school posting about dirt biking in a gravel pit and tagging me in photographs from high school. I needed to move on.” Although he deactivated his social-media accounts and created new ones under a pseudonym, he continued to be tagged in old photos. “I guess that Kevin is out there for good,” he says. “I just have to live with him and all those people he was trying to escape.”

Full article : https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/how-social-media-shapes-our-identity?