The Messages We Send

The Messages We Send

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is modeling appropriate use of social media. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be a teenager right now, trying not only to navigate through today’s physical world but also trying to navigate through their online world.  Bad choices with social media can have huge, life impacting consequences. We know that adolescent’s ability to take into account other perspectives is still developing. We know that they often engage in risk taking behavior. Navigating social media often means that kids are making adult decisions and choices without a fully developed toolbox. It is up to the adults, to act as role models, helping them navigate this slippery slope.


Unfortunately, too often we are terrible role models. Recently, two young men from Alabama were arrested for starting a forest fire several miles from where I live. This fire would ultimately be contained but not before burning down eight homes. The men did not intentionally cause they fire. They started an illegal fire on private land and then failed to properly extinguish it. They made a series of uninformed, terrible choices that had devastating consequences. They are certainly guilty of making bad decisions but to see the postings on Twitter, you would think that the fire and its path of destruction was premeditated. They were attacked for being from Alabama, for supposedly not being able to read, for being transient. The list goes on and on. The response on social media was disgusting. I understand that homes were lost and beautiful land was darkened. I understand that people are upset with them. They have a right to be upset with them but too many of the postings were uncalled for. We are the role models. Kids look to the adults in their life for guidance, whether or not  they recognize and acknowledge it. By viciously attacking others in a social forum, we are sending the message that this is acceptable behavior. It is not. As adults, we need to be so much more cognizant at all times of the behaviors we are condoning. After all, our kids are navigating this world every day without a fully developed toolbox. Let’s do a better job of helping them not only complete their toolbox with the right tools but show them how to be appropriate, positive, kind, productive and intentional with these tools.

Photo Credits

2 Replies to “The Messages We Send”

  1. Hi Erin,

    Thanks for using Blogtrepreneur's social media photo in this interesting blog post. We have many themed images posted to Flickr under the Creative Commons Attribution License that are free for authors and bloggers like yourself to use.

    The only requirement is to provide an attribution somewhere on the page via a link to: ""

    You can read about the attribution requirement in the original posting on Flickr:

    I can see you picked up the image from Photopin a site that aggregates Creative Commons images. If you can correct the attribution we would appreciate the update.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *