In a connected world, is there such a thing as too connected? Personally, I feel a sense of loneliness when I can’t check for the latest updates from my friends and family. I’ve tried going “off the grid”, but I find myself craving the interactions. Sadly, most of the news headlines I read come directly from sites I follow on Facebook. I know, because I’ve read the research that social media giants push information to people based on what they want to see. They also push information towards people in microburst to influence their decision-making over time. At least I’m mindful of the tactics. But, are our children and young adults aware of the power of persuasion and influence? Can they withstand the draw and temptation of all that social media has to offer? As parents, we each have to make that decision based on the conversations we have with our children and their maturity level. Science tells us that the frontal lobe of the brain is not fully developed until the late 20s. The frontal lobe has many functions, but the two specific to this ‘rant’ are emotional expression and judgment. Can social media be too great a temptation for the teen brain? Is the lure of being a “micro celebrity” too great? We’ve all heard the horror stories. Luckily, my generation was able to make many bad decisions growing up and they have been long forgotten. This generation, has everything documented, catalogued and stored for future retrieval. Not because they are doing it, but because others are doing it for them. Your teen goes to a party, can images be taken that don’t actually portray actual events? Someone makes you angry and before you know it, you’ve published some hateful comment and hundreds of people have seen it, shared it, and probably screenshot it. How damaging can some of these social media posts and comments be in the not so distant future? Will employers retrieve your information and hold it against you? What is the line between opinion and slander? It’s a dangerous and slippery slope with long-term ramifications. It’s my personal opinion that if you have a child under the age of 18 with social media accounts, make sure you have their passwords to those accounts and monitors them often. I know for myself, when I was a teen, it wasn’t if I messed up or did something in poor judgment, it was just when.

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