It seems that with all the liberating power digital devices are supposed to provide, they have become nothing more than glorified ankle monitors. This has ushered in a new age of technological correctness, making it hard for college students to make mistakes.
These days, students live such publics lives – using the digital devices provided to them without teaching them responsible use – that one can garner hatred over the internet for errors that would have been easily ignored 30 years ago.
In today’s climate, college students have a small margin for screwing up and experimentation. They are expected to be fully informed by the time they get to college. And if they screw up, they get shamed for being anything less what they truly are: college kids.
For example, if a college kid protesting McDonald’s spray-painted the words “Corporate Deathburgers” on any building, security footage from that incident would probably make it online. Soon enough, social media would be bursting with outrage, and the college would be getting angry calls telling them to put a lead on the Deathburger pandemic. The college would be forced to release a statement saying they don’t tolerate any Deathburger values. Op-eds will be released saying American campuses have a Deathburger problem.
And a student’s reputation will be tarnished for as long as the video lives on the internet, which is probably forever. No college kid would want to go through all of this.
Although technology is not the main culprit here, it seems we have become less accepting of minute mistakes, forcing college kids to fear to make any mistakes at all when those mistakes can help them grow and learn. It seems our vision for what innocence is has become too narrow in this digital age, and we need to widen it if we want our college kids to develop as individuals.