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27 minAPR 16
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The Internet Never Forgets

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Do you have memories from adolescence you’d rather forget? Previously, that choice — whether to open up that embarrassing high school yearbook or keep it firmly closed — generally rested in your hands. But for kids growing up in today’s social media landscape, the digital footprint they (or their parents) create can immortalize childhood and its growing pains forever. Kate Eichhorn, a professor of culture and media at The New School and author of The End of Forgetting, has researched how the permanence of social media chips away at our “agency over traces of the past.” What happens when a digital record won’t allow you to forget? Or when the digital breadcrumbs we create as minors are interpreted as an unshakable portrait of who we are in adulthood? According to Eichhorn, there can sometimes be painful consequences when young people grow up.