Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-personality

5 September 2011 at 21:18 Leave a comment

Just come across a review of Elias Aboujaoude’s book Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality, by Steven Handel.

In the review, Handel summarises the negative personality traits that tend to manifest in our e-personality or digital self:

  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Narcissism
  • Aggression
  • Impulsivity
  • Infantile regression and the tyranny of the emoticon
  • Love and sex recalibrated
  • Illusion of knowledge
  • Internet addiction
The basic argument is that the internet is “a unique kind of environment that creates a very different kind of self-perception (one which can affect both our online and offline behavior).” It allows a separation of the e-self from the real-self and opportunities for an increasingly ungrounded e-self to develop with negative tendencies such as impulse buying, aggressive email or social media comments and just plain addiction to online.
As a psychiatrist, perhaps Aboujaoude’s focuses on the morbid end of the spectrum, but I agree with Handle that we should all aim to be  very mindful of our behavior when online as we spend more and more time on a range of devices.

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