Categorized | Opinion

Process Before You Post — Teens

By Mike T. SmithOpen Mike for web

When your parents were your age they had to post their status updates by carving them into stone. Then they just threw the stone as far as they could so everyone else could know what was going on in their life. It was exhausting.
The bright side of this is that very few negative status updates were shared publicly. The times when feelings are hurt, or anger takes over and you’re just mad at the world. We all have those moments of weakness.
Okay the stone carving was a bit of an exaggeration, your parents wrote letters when their emotions were at their worst. Then they put the letter away in a safe place for at least a few days. This gave them time to process it. They could get their self together and deal with it when they were in a better state. Often they realized it wasn’t even worth revisiting because it wasn’t a big deal after all. This processing time saved relationships, avoided unneeded conflicts, and kept many occurrences from escalating into something much bigger. It gives the emotions time to go through the motions.
As a dad to four boys, a youth motivational speaker and a former teen myself I understand and remember how emotional and pivotal the teenage years are. Emotion plays a part in every decision and action that we make. Sometimes that’s a bad thing. Sometimes that’s a really bad thing.
With the popularity and instant access of social media it is these emotional times that make you more vulnerable to over sharing. Being amped up from emotions is nothing new to teens, after all it’s been happening since Adam and Eve’s first born turned thirteen years old. Social media is great. I’m not one of those people who believe it’s the downfall of society, but like a wise uncle once said to his spandex wearing wall crawling nephew, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You must use that power wisely.
Facebook, Twitter, Kik, and Vine are the pen and paper of your generation. Those angry letters are no longer being written privately and then tucked away safely in the dresser drawer, only to be forgotten about once processed through. They are being typed up and then put out there for the entire world to see, instantly! Things are being said that can’t be taken back, and there are always witnesses around who feel they need to comment on the situation, usually escalating conflict to a whole new level. Over sharing at it’s worst.
There are repercussions to this behavior.
I encourage you to take that processing time.
Instead of immediately pulling the phone out and update your Facebook status or Kik update, next time try one of these exercises.
Take 5 deep breaths and count to 20.
Stop and TALK to a close friend or even a parent.
If you must type it in your phone, use the ‘NOTES’ app in your iPhone or  Android. It will be a private note that can be revisited later. This gives the appropriate process time to decide if it’s worth taking public. In most cases it won’t be but if it must you’ll be in a better state to deal with it appropriately. Just like your dear old mother had you do with the letter.
Even though it’s a different time, the rules for dealing with others are still the same.
Remember Process. Don’t Post.
Mike T. Smith is a youth motivational speaker and author of “O.W.N. I.T. The Teen’s Cheat Codes to Life. He resides in Bartlett, with his wife and four boys. For more info on Mike you can ask his mom or sign up for his newsletter at Go to the site. His mom’s phone is never charged.
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August 2014
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