(NOTE! This article is written by one of my cooperation partners in Brazil – Giselle Welter, PhD and psychologist. She is CTO at the company RH 99 Sistemas Ltda, in Sao Paulo)
Do you remember the little electronic toy called Tamagotchi? It was a real fever among children in the 1990s. This toy was a kind of virtual pet , which needed care like a real pet . The pet 's owners , in this case children and adolescents, had to 'feed' it regularly, 'bath it', 'play with it', 'take it for walks etc. so that he could 'grow', 'develop' and, mainly, remain 'alive'.
A fun, seemingly harmless idea, it caused a lot of problems, as children brought their digital pets to school to care for them. There was a risk of 'dying' in less than half a day, which corresponds to the period they stayed at school, if they did not receive adequate care. The death of the Tamagotchi was a very painful event. The children mourned his death as if it were a real, flesh-and-blood loved one. They even went so far as to have his funeral.
As with cell phone access in the classroom, teachers were uncomfortable with the interruption of classes and the distraction of students, represented by the attention devoted to Tamagotchi. Faced with the ban on taking their virtual pet to school with them, as a way of guaranteeing his care, the children began to delegate this care to their own mothers. But what if the mother neglected him? What if he died at her hands? It would be a terrible drama!
What about your Tamagotchi on the internet?
While Tamagotchi was a toy that only affected the lifestyle of children and teenagers – a fad that passed –, the need to take care of our digital existence on a day-to-day basis is now a reality that is here to stay. We become hostages of our digital profiles.
When we create an account on social media, we create a digital profile, which needs to be continuously fed. It is not enough for him to be there to exist, as he needs to exist for others. We have to be seen, recognized. Indifference is digital death, our social death. In order for us to remain alive digitally, we have to feed our profile with new content every day. The daily feeding of our digital profile requires preparation, as it cannot be fed with just anything. It needs to have content. The preparation of this 'food' takes time and requires creativity. Our 'Tamagotchi' grew and enslaved us.
What is the image of your Tamagotchi?
But if taking care of our digital profile on social media already takes a lot of time, how will our avatar management in the Metaverse be? Will we know how to take care of him? What will happen if we neglect it? How to realize this? The solution is to outsource, like the children who delegated the care of their virtual pet to their mothers . Professionals specialized in generating content for social media are now hired just for that.
Our profile on social media is our window to the world and, like any window, it needs to be constantly renewed, so that it continues to attract customers. What will become of us if our digital profile is not fed? Will we cease to exist for an audience, often unknown, eager to 'snoop' our life in the “ Fucabook ” and lacking models to adopt? Will we miss business opportunities? Can't we get a job? Will we be alone?
By creating an avatar in the Metaverse, an idealized representation of ourselves, we acquire an identity in the digital world. The avatar will occupy our space in this parallel reality. At some point, this digital identity, created and nurtured on a daily basis, will compete with our real identity, with our biopsychosocial being, which needs food, physical activity, sleep, in addition to meaningful social relationships to maintain our physical health and mental.
What are the risks of this?
The Internet brought us closer to people, right?
Yes and no!
Although we are connected and we know what people are doing, with the possibility of giving our opinion in the comments, we miss the essential: the quality of interpersonal relationships. The digitization of our existence, the continual creation of content to sustain it, is competing with our real interpersonal relationships. Being connected virtually, digitally, does not meet our need for physical and psychological closeness.
Considering that human needs remain the same, since primordial times, how to meet socio-emotional needs in the midst of the ongoing technological revolution? Will the basic need for contact, expressed by orality, which corresponds to the Contacts factor in HumanGuide, cease to be met? What about the need for bonding and security, which corresponds to the Stability factor?
The dazzle with the infinite possibilities that digital reality can provide can distance us from reality as such. What will our destiny be? What will be the fate of humanity? We get sick, physically and mentally! We will become alienated beings. When we fall into reality, we will be hopelessly out of it.
Giselle an interesting point! At first I like that you give it a name Tamagotchi. I like that because it helps your memory to remember it and also talk about it.
It also brings up many thoughts. One important – always – is the Swedish word LAGOM, ie not too much, not to too little – just good enough;-) You need to have in mind: Why are you "profiling" you on internet? If you do it well you gain good relations and gain time, but it could also be a burden... Therefore, you need a strategy, which suits you!
At first you should BE YOU in a good way, because then you attract people, who have a similar personality and interests as you. There you have good guidance from your HumanGuide PersonProfile. That is always important to keep in mind, because if you let it govern your way in life, then you get a high Passionindex and it contributes to a good life.
Your personality (drives) is also important in another way – you should figure out the way you nurture your profile, so it is harmony with your personality, ie you do what you like to do. Don't copy other people. Do it your way. Eg I have a high value on Quality (HG language). This means that I like to help people. That combined with my age 7.6 ;-) means that I have a lot of insights and experiences to share. I do and I enjoy;-) But of course that I need to be observant for feedback, so I get a receipt that what I write is appreciated by the right people. The ones I like to have in my network. Some also around my fire;-)
PS But of course real meetings are the best. The highest level is when you have the feeling that time doesn't exist. You have so-called report. Then your Sensibility (HG) is very happy. But don't forget to write in a personal way on the internet, so you feed Sensibility eg in emails now and then personal photos, etc.