Facebook Timeline Raises Concerns for Emerging Adults

Brad M. Griffin | Nov 8, 2011

Im not really sure how old I was when I would have been findable online. The internet emerged broadly while I was in college, and I opened my first email account in 1994 or 1995. But finding me through a search engine, let alone actually learning anything personal? Probably another decade.

In contrast, a lot of the students we know can Google themselves right now and probably find more than even they realized. And thentheres Facebook.

Thanks to the new Facebook Timeline feature (the coming revolution of profiles), history will reappear in the present. This USA Today article last week highlights some of the concerns being raised by young adults who were, well, a little less mature a few years back when they launched their Facebook accounts. While Facebook history has had a way of fading into the background, Timelines will give new access to the whole story.

As one security advisor is quoted in the USA Today post, “A lot of people just don’t realize how much information they’ve shared in the past.” Especially at sixteen. Or twenty-one.

But many of these coming-of-age technological natives are launching their professional lives these days, and the trail of their digital past is coming with them. Timeline wont be the first or last time they have to revisit this truth. The question is how they are processing it along the way (and at what point they actually begin to care). Learning to share appropriately in the digital world is a process, as weve seen in bold headlines in recent years. In the mean time, how are we speaking into that process, or becoming a safety net for when it goes in unpredictable directions?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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