Dear Young Men of Social Media…

Dear Young Men of Social Media, 

I read an insightful piece, FYI (if you’re a teenage girl), written by a mom, like me. Mrs. Hall has a strong message for teenage girls in social media. I read it right after I had posted on Instagram and saw a young man from our local school and town “like” a picture I had also “liked”. I didn’t recognize him from his derogatory handle name. I recognized his profile picture. I clicked on his profile to see the sexual hashtags he was using, gross “selfie” captures of himself and his interaction with kids younger than him in our school. 

While Mrs. Hall was talking to teenage girls, I have one for you, boys. Yes, you are still boys, working on becoming young men. And I am a mother to one of you, a 16 year-old son. 

You see boys, I am engaged in social media for passions I have. I train others how to use social media for good. But I know and see there is a lot of bad in social media. And I want you to run from it. But instead, I see more of you glomming on to the bad and failing to do good social media. And you think your moms or anyone else doesn’t know about the bad.

I know that you now avoid Facebook because Facebook is Mombook. You are friends with your mom on Facebook and think your social media privacy has now been invaded by your mother. 

So instead you moved over to Twitter and Instagram. But you think your mom doesn’t read Twitter or Instagram. Keep believing that if you want. 

I have been on Twitter for years, that’s centuries in social media time. And even on Instagram I now have social media longevity.

Do you think we don’t see your smack talking, foul language, where’s the party at, smokin’ weed, licking beer cans posts in other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram? Do you think we don’t see the disrespectful, degrading comments you make about women? Do you not realize everything you post in social media is public?

Your coaches can see it. Your teachers can see it. Colleges are watching. Young kids, that look up to you, are watching, thinking this is how to be cool, like you. Or maybe they have a mom, like me, that is in social media seeing what you post, giving heed and warning to my 16 year-old. 

Future employers are watching. It’s time to grow up boys, in real life and in social media, for the sake of your future. Be leaders for good. 

Don’t be “that guy”. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t post garbage. Don’t ruin your future by being stupid in social media or for that matter, in real life. What you post is public and it’s not just adults watching, it’s young eyes. 

iPhone learning

 And older eyes are watching. My grandma stays connected to me by reading my tweets, looking at my Instagram feed and is now my Facebook friend. She is my filter. While she might not agree with everything I post, I never want to say or post anything that is disrespectful to her. 

And my son knows she is watching too. My son makes mistakes. I make mistakes. But we are accountable, to Grandma, offline and online.

Dear Young Men of Social Media

So, boys, I want you to grow up to be respectful, honest and kind young men. I don’t want your futures ruined by your naive stupidity in social media. Delete your disrespectful tweets. Delete your partying and gross photos. And give yourself a chance to save your future. I believe many of you are our future leaders, doctors, business owners, educators and farmers. Think of your future the next time you share. Think of your grandma. And think of how you can do good in the world by the technology and tools at your fingertips. 

All the best to each of you, 

Katie Pinke

 

Comments

  1. Yes, this.

  2. Great post. It is amazing the posts I see on Twitter from young people. I am not a parent yet, but I am a potential internship employers or might be judging your scholarship application. People always have eyes on you.

  3. Lovely post. My kids are too young to have their own accounts yet, but I can only hope and pray (and teach them) that they can be respectful. The word respect comes up a lot in our house. Unfortunately it seems that it’s not something that is taught as much as it used to be. You make good sense and I’m glad to read your posts.

    Thanks – from one parent to another.
    ~Leslie

    • Thank you, Leslie. We waited a long time for our son to have social media accounts but now he is learning to “fly” on his own. And it is not easy out there. I appreciate your kind words.

  4. Amazing post! What a way you have with words. I would love to hear you speak sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Good view. (The original post by Mrs Hall didn’t resonate with me after I saw the photo of her boys that she included. I wouldn’t let our teenage daughter view that.) But your message is good. As a fellow mom who works in social media, I read all our kids’ and friends’ posts in all mediums (even vine, which I just don’t get), and haven’t yet had to urge “delete.” Yet.
    Take care, thanks for the perspective!

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. I am so happy to read you are diligent like I am in social media. I do want to delete a few of my son’s tweets. But he is really on his own and keeping his filter in mind. You pointed out something I thought but didn’t write. I was careful what photos I chose for this post because I also did not care for Mrs. Hall’s photo choice of her boys on the beach. Thanks again!

  6. Roxy Henke says:

    Wise words. Great post, Katie!!

  7. Interesting reading this! Good points and written a little more tastefully. For some reason Mrs. Hall removed my comment on her blog. I guess she didn’t want others to see what I wrote? I wrote the following:

    It seems hypocritical that some of the photos you have displayed in this post are photos of your sons half naked. The argument you are trying to argue is that men struggle and women need to understand this and be respectful of their struggles when posting photos on social media websites. At the same time though, in attempt to getting your message across to young girls, are you making the girls stumble? Girls struggle with lust too, don’t believe the old-wise tale that says only men struggle sexually when they see images.
    Furthermore, perhaps a better approach would be to encourage the “sleazy” girls directly in a loving way. Perhaps ask them, “What is lacking in your life where you feel the need to post provocative photos on social media websites?” And then following your question, actually sit along side them and see how you can encourage them to be the women you find desirable for your boys. Perhaps be the person in their lives who tells them they are beautiful without having to undress.
    But if you want a quick and easy solution to your dilemma, stop using the Internet altogether. Will blocking girls from Facebook really stop your sons from typing the word “pornography” into the Google search bar?

  8. This is a great post! I wish more people would use “filters” while using social media. So many go out of their way to post nasty things. I just don’t get it. Most I know who do this wouldn’t act that way in public so why would they act that way on the internet?

    Thank you for this. I’ll be sure to reach out to some of the younger men in my life that could use a good read!

  9. Bravo Katie! This is a topic which needs much, much more discussion, but sadly our current social media driven culture doesn’t seem to have the stomach or energy for it. Very sad what is happening to our boys…and girls! Keep up the good work. Btw…I’ve always used the exact same analogy. Don’t ever put anything on the on your phone, computer, internet etc., that you wouldn’t show or say to your Grandparents. It’s a great guide for our kids.

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