By William D. Jackson
As a presenter at two recent conferences, AME Youth Leadership Conference in Palm Coast, Florida and the Hip Hop Men’s Health Summit in Orlando, Florida my presentations focused on Social Media content as it relates to Bullying and Cyberbullying.
Speaking with over 300 young men at the Hip Hop Conference attending my session, there is a disconnect between teens, young adults and their parents. This motivated me to write this blog about parents Goggling their children to see what they are doing online.
Parents your child’s SoLoMo or Social Local Mobile online presence is influenced by their use of digital media, the platforms that provide a Social Media Presence. Technology has integrated, infused and intruded into millions of youth and teen’s lives. Students from elementary to high school have direct communication with each other 24/7 – 365, many parents have no clue to the connective power of Social Media. Presenting days earlier at the AME Youth Leadership Conference in Palm Coast, Florida students share how technology benefits their lives and creates challenges in Bullying, Cyberbullying and other issues.
The influence of Social Local and Mobile technologies is so powerful it can influence a student’s opportunities for college acceptance, employment, Internships, military acceptance and even academic/social performance in school.
The world is very competitive and students are competing for the best colleges and careers. Social Media has an affect on their positioning. The establishment of a student’s online reputation is determined by the content they create and post.
Reputations are influenced tremendously because the first impression society has of youth today is through Social Media platforms. Examples can be seen through the Trayvon Martin case and his posted content. So powerful is this that both sides of this legal battle are focusing on exposing or hiding Trayvon’s digital content. Social Media content has created a paradigm shift (Anthony Butler, Sr. E3 Business Group) in a youth’s reputation and their first impressions to the world. Parents your children should understand that their Social presence has far ranging consequences and what they post online never goes away. A youth and teens Social Media presence and content will never go away. There’s no longer the initial physical handshakes that create a first impression in a traditional manner. The handshake is digital, graphical and multimedia.
The middle and high school students in attendance at the Hip Hop conference were asked to take out their cell phones to reflect on the value of thinking and reasoning. The increase in Social Media platforms has influenced students even at elementary age (8-12) to spread their content across the world. Parents must understand that their children are cloning themselves across a digital landscape, their Avatar clones: textual, graphical and multimedia are on Pinetrest, Facebook, Youtube, Vine, Vimeo, Instagram, Socialcam, Twitter, Google +, Rebelmouse, and the list continues to grow.
Businesses and colleges are investigating potential candidates and those in their networks and friends to see if they are worthy of acceptance and hiring. The Google Me process is a safeguard or a stopgap to check what is visible from content postings. This should be done at least twice a month so parents can view what their children are doing and how they are active especially during summer break. Colleges want to make sure their students are not bringing controversial agendas on campus similar to the recent Boston bombing suspects. The best way to track or monitor a student’s psychological and emotional state is to look at their digital content. Looking at postings that are representative of the challenges and struggles, successes that a student experiences. Maybe parents need a Prizm to monitor their children online activity or in laymen’s terms create digital condoms to protect against posting potentially damaging content. Parent are concerned about who “physically” enters their home, but have no clue who or whom has digital access inside their homes. This digital invasion or inception is just as dangerous and pervasive. Parents should view their child’s Social Media pages until their child is at least responsible for their ability to financially support their access. Parents must set the foundation for Social Media use. The potential for Bullying, Sexting, Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking are a possibility as young men shared from the Hip Hop Summit.
In a digital society using SMH, LMAO, WT* represent the extension of emotions. Emotional drama is still present and influences discussions. Social Media trainings and workshops should be available for youth and teens to prevent drama that can be destructive in nature. Media elements focus on the negative digital life styles of youth as seen by the reports of Trayvon Martin. It is remarkable that the media can access a youth or teens Social Media platforms and manipulate the perceptions that will either offer sympathy or condemnation against that teen.Parents must understand what their children are posting and Google their children every 2 months to check on content, pictures, video and activities along with who they are associated with.
During my presentations terms I use: “guilt by association,” “responsibility and integrity,” and accountability and spirituality.” All play a part in youth and teens judged by the company they keep
and interact with in online environments.They are guilty by association because of the postings of friends and family. If teachers, law enforcement personnel, congressmen, attorneys, and other professionals can lose their jobs from inappropriate content a warning to be sure to see potential conflicts in SoLoMo Social Mobile Local content.
Teens now have global exposure and must be taught how to gauge their content. If a youth or teen is not responsible for their Social Media content there maybe far reaching consequences that transcend into the adult world. Maybe the Prizm is not a bad idea for parents to use or a programmer can create a Social Media condom to protect youth and teens from posting damaging
information. For now it is up to parents that are responsible and accountable to and for their children.
Summits that I have presented and participated in: the Education Summit in Jacksonville, Journey Into Woman Hood in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Urban League Leadership Summit, Save Our Sons Jax in Jacksonville, AME Youth Leadership Conference in Palm Coast, Hip Hop Health Summit in Orlando and the upcoming Man Up for Health http://ManUpforHealth.eventbrite.com this Saturday, June 22nd.
These summits, workshops, expos, conferences should be filled to capacity by parents, educators, politicians and those that represent all our religious and ministerial denominations. To empower and
engage parents, to strengthen families and build intelligent youth, teens and young adults that will lead us into the 23rd century