Imagine the days where face-to-face conversations were prevalent. There was once a time where the beauty of outdoors fascinated young spirits. Hopscotch, Double Dutch, Pogo Sticks, Basketball Tournaments, Bicycle Riding, Skateboards, Marble Shooting in the dirt, Softball in the park, Swimming all day on hot sunny days, Football in the middle of the street, Foot Racing with no shoes, Catching Tadpoles in the nearby creek, Rock Throwing contests, and Tree Climbing just for the heck of it. Those were the days so serene and far from the prevalence of technology.
As an adult who yearns for a sense of normalcy, I often drift back down ‘Memory Lane’. As an educator, I fear for the horrors that await our youth of today. I remember learning from my elders how to conduct myself in public as a youngster. I had to talk and walk a certain way. My presentation to the world had to reflect my upbringing was the result of persistent parental involvement. I was taught not to embarrass the family name. Back then,I had far less distractions and temptations our youth of today have.
Let’s talk the topic of ‘Social Media’…a world we live in located right on the other side of Earth. In the minds of most of our youth, this location provides solace to all that isn’t right in their lives. They go out into this fantasy type arena looking for acceptance at all cost. In their looking, many find themselves sacrificing their morals, and often fall prey to elements awaiting their simple-minded ways. Social Media is a public forum with ‘privacy’ settings that are far from private.
Young people, listen very carefully. I’m going to give you a bit of advice in regards to your social media interactions:
1. Please understand once you hit your “send, post, comment, or tweet” buttons your business is everyone’s business on a worldwide scale;
2. You do not have ownership to these various outlets. Therefore, you are not entitled to explanations for your ‘privacy’ being ‘invaded’;
3. If you make posts boasting about illegal activities of sorts, please understand you are subjecting yourselves to the scrutiny of law enforcement;
4. Romance, dating, nor lovers’ quarrels should take place in such a public arena. Therefore, ensure your posted pics are those of high morals;
5. The ‘DELETE’ button doesn’t necessarily mean your ‘potty mouth’ posts have gone away. Just like in real life here on Earth, they await the ‘trash truck’ in cyberspace to retrieve them from the cyber-trash can.
Social Media is fun and an excellent networking tool if you utilize it for things that won’t formulate reasons for people to cast judgment upon you in a negative light. What you do and say via social media can have an everlasting impact on your young lives. Don’t be in such a hurry to be an adult. Inappropriate social media interactions can cost you an employment opportunity. They can in some cases get you suspended or expelled from school. Social Media can be addictive, causing you to lose focus of priorities that demand your attention. Fatal vehicular accidents are on the rise due to the temptation of driving and technologically socializing. Simply put, it can wait. Ask yourselves this question and answer it honestly: “Am I addicted to or distracted by social media?”
Young people, I challenge you all to step away from the world of Social Media to explore sparingly the joy of being a physically interactive kid who enjoys the face-to-face conversations with friends outdoors. Your young lives need balance and structure. Your reputation should matter to you, because it really does matter when it comes to how the world will perceive you.
If you were born into this social media wave and have absolutely no idea how to be a ‘do without technology’ type of kid, please refer to my journey I took down ‘Memory Lane’ at the beginning of this article. It’s still possible to be a kid with a sense of normalcy, even today. Don’t let the social media pandemic rob you of the beauty of childhood. I support your exploration. Life’s a breeze. Be easy.
Hovet Lee Dixon, Jr.