Instant access has taken the simple act of growing up and transformed it into a field of land mines for today’s teen. Even the smallest misstep, in the unforgiving environment that is social media, can have harsh and long-term consequences.
“Acting impulsively is part of growing up. Teens will make mistakes and learn from them. It’s the natural progression to adulthood,” said Bridget Mostek, LIMHP, licensed mental health practitioner at CHI Health. “What we’d like to prevent is for those mistakes to be forever on public display, diminishing their reputation before it’s fully developed.”
Lecturing teens about how their online presence could affect applying for a future job is valid, but it might not matter to teens today. Emphasizing that it could make or break their current reputation or a friendship might help them understand.
Mostek encourages teens to think before posting and then think again. “Getting ‘likes’ is enticing, some even argue addictive, but don’t fall victim to regret. If you wouldn’t say it or show it in person, to a large group, then absolutely do not post it.”
Before your next post, take some timeless advice from Buddha: “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”