A few weeks ago, a local attorney stopped by our school to tell us the 10 mistakes teens make using social media. This attorney has spent years representing schools and families on issues of social media. The 10 mistakes are:
1. Posting/Discussing Illegal Activities
3. Unprofessional Public Profile on Social Media,
4. Trash talking your school, teachers, opponents
5. Posting Personal Information
6. Not Using Privacy Functions
9. Violating the School Social Media Policy
10. Sexually Explicit/Racist Language
To see more details about the 10 mistakes, click here. Some of these mistakes aren't just wrong but they are illegal (which means you can be arrested for doing some of them). We followed up with a discussion in our Mentor groups. I asked the guys why they think teens post information that's illegal. The most common response is that teens do things without thinking. They also don't understand the consequences of some of there actions.
Beyond social media, I notice that many of you teens make terrible decisions because you don't stop and think about the consequences. You're living for the moment and what matters at that moment is the rush of taking risks. I get that. Take risks and have fun but don't do stupid stuff that can screw up the rest of your life or the lives of others (like drugs, alcohol, sex, stealing, etc.). I had one teen tell me the other day that part of the rush is doing things because of the risk of getting caught. I've heard that before but it only takes one major mistake to ruin everything that you and your parents have worked so hard for. I have seen teens, one after the other, do some down right dumb stuff. Because of this, they have been kicked out of school, arrested, and/or have ripped their families apart all because of a 5-minute, silly decision. Is it worth it?
You guys are also in need of advisers aka, mentors. How many of you have adults (outside of your parents) that you can talk to about anything? It's great to talk to your parents but let's be real. How many of you talk to your parents about everything? That's my point. You need other adults that have lived past the teenage years and have made something of themselves (or some that haven't-they have awesome advice too). You need an adult that you can openly talk to about what's going on in your life. Then you need to listen to their valuable advice. Imagine you're building a house. You sort of know what you're doing but you don't really know how to do it. Do you ask any random person to help you or do you ask someone who has done it a few times? That's my point. Your "house" is your life. You're building it and although technology and times have changed, you have people that have "built houses" before and the concept is still the same. All you have to do is let them help you. While some of your friends are great to chill with (and get a little help with laying some "bricks" every now and then), none of them have lived past the teenage years so they don't have the wisdom that an adult has in "building houses". Trust me on that. Think twice & take advice so you can make the best of your life (and the lives of all that are attached to you).
Written 12/28/2013 by John Weaver