Terrance's Playground

Alter Ego: Are we lost in our digital selves?

written on 22 November 2021

In this article, I share my view on our alter ego.

Alter ego: the part of someone's personality that is not usually seen by other people.
- Cambridge Dictionary

Decades ago, if the phrase ‘alter ego’ was to be mentioned, most of us would have thought of the hidden identities under the masks of superheroes and villains in the comics. Nowadays, the phrase is more commonly used to depict our second self- our identities on the internet.

It is already a common acknowledgment that we increasingly spend our time online, be it on the social medias, games, or video streaming sites. We wake up early in the morning to respond to phone notifications, leave comments under posts while having lunch, and publish photos of our dinners on every single platform.

We have successfully made our lives look better while ironically, worsening our relationships with those who sit around us. We give up the opportunity to interact with the people right in front of us, to impress those who don’t even care about us. This is unheard of before.

I have never imagined myself being addicted to the internet. At least not ten years ago. Now, I spend more than 8 hours ,which is already one third of my day on my gadgets. Besides those hours of working from home on my gadgets, I scroll through social media posts, and stream videos after videos. I underestimate the seduction of the internet. Or should I say, I overestimate my mental fortitude to resist temptation. I have inevitably fallen into the sinkhole of ‘internet addiction’.

We are so obsessed with upkeeping our alter ego, to the level that it actually does harms to our true selves. We take hours to edit our photos, only to post perfectly angled pictures and good-looking selfies. We exchange comments online, yet we end up talking nothing when we meet in real life. Posting beach photos without really relaxing on the beach is hardly called a vacation.

It is not that the internet is all evil. The key here is the moderation. To use everything we have in hand moderately, and not abusing it. To not being overly obsessed over imaginary things like fame and power. Tools are made to be used. Money is made to be spent. And social medias are made to connect people. We should be in control of them to achieve our goals, not the other way around.

I am in deep concern over our future generation. Our education system has yet to prove its capability in making our children a better person. Most families and parents are confused and some, reluctant to change and adapt. This will eventually widen the disparity between the well-educated and poor-educated, as habits and attitudes are extremely easy to be instilled along family lines, whether they are good or bad.

This is an issue worth exploring and reflecting, in my opinion. I hope at some point, we all can find a way to fix this, but first perhaps we should just acknowledge it as a problem to start with.