Environmental Factors in The Search for Self-Identity

Our metaperceptions and how others view us is one thing, but the influence of both our Silicon Valley culture and our school adds a whole new level of complication. Students in Silicon Valley grow up in a very tech-heavy environment, which allows social media and the internet to have large impacts on their developing lives.

In the Silicon Valley, students are encouraged to be “in the know” with the newest social media and technology more so than in other regions. Students tend to spend a lot of their time on sites like Facebook or Instagram in order to have certain social interactions, interactions that used to only be possible face-to-face or over a phone call. Research also suggests that teens and younger kids are more susceptible than adults to lures such as Youtube and the endless distractions of the internet, which can affect their performance in school and how their minds develop.

The flipside is that the internet can also act as a huge database for information, allowing students to expand and develop themselves more independently than they could before. In a community like we have in the Silicon Valley, and more specifically at our school, the internet and technology around us are constantly playing a significant role in the development of teen minds.

Looking more closely, Los Altos High School itself has a very academically rigorous culture, and also tends to be a very accepting community.

As far as academics go, a high-achieving community could end up both helping or hindering students in their search for self identities. Having academics set at such a high priority and living in a community where students are encouraged to push themselves, gives developing students plenty of opportunities and methods through which they can expand themselves. However, it can also pile on a load of stress, something with which many students currently struggle with, and which can potentially harm a student’s search for self-identity.

Los Altos also happens to be a very diverse and accepting community, which can provide a lot of positive support for students who are seeking to refine their self image. Having a community that is not only diverse, but accepting of diversity acts as a very positive force in student’s lives as they head into a time period where they seek to define themselves.