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24
Sep

How to avoid making the same mistake on social media as Miss Teen USA

Posted by on in Others
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Social media may connect and empower a teenager, but it can also become a permanent record of a young person's disgraceful behavior. 

Karlie Hay, the newly crowned Miss Teen USA, learned this lesson the hard way. Soon after Hay claimed her mantle on Saturday, it became apparent that the 18-year-old Texan used a racial slur on Twitter four times in 2013 and 2014. 

Hay, who is white, vaguely addressed the matter on Twitter and Instagram, noting that "personal struggles" led to the use of language she wasn't proud of and couldn't excuse. The old tweets, however, haven't cost Hay her crown. 

"As Karlie stated, she was in a different place in her life and made a serious mistake she regrets and for which she sincerely apologizes," the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement. "Karlie learned many lessons through those personal struggles that reshaped her life and values."

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communications and Media, says the tweets demonstrated "poor taste and poor behavior." 

That Hay would use the slur in the first place is disturbing, but doing so on social media, says Swanson, is a reminder that teens need guidance about appropriate behavior online. 

Even teens who may never imagine themselves as a public figure or a flashpoint in a debate about race and culture, for example, can benefit from the following tips:

1. Consider social media a permanent record of your behavior. 

When posting something questionable or offensive, don't rely on the delete button or a platform that deletes content within a certain time period. Another user can instantly screenshot your comments or images, even if you hastily scrub your timeline of them after thinking twice. 

Swanson says teens should consider anything they post to social media as part of their permanent internet history and record, searchable by potential employers and college admissions counselors, not to mention friends and family.

If you're having a hard time determining what's appropriate, think about whether you'd make the same comments to someone's face, or whether you could hear someone you trust and admire behaving similarly. Even that's not always an adequate measure since adults, particularly on the internet, can behave cruelly or disrespectfully. Ultimately, if you have any doubts, it's probably best to skip that post. 

2. Remember that you're bound to make mistakes. 

Teenagers' brains aren't fully developed until they are young adults, says Swanson. The natural progression of growing up means you're going to shape your identity through trial and error. While that ideally wouldn't involve slurs of any kind, it's likely that you'll say or do something regrettable. "This is embarrassing, but this is not surprising," Swanson says of Hay's tweets.

Until the rise of social media, however, those moments didn't live on in infamy for most teens. The nature of viral content means that your tossed-off post could stoke national or international outrage — just ask Justine Sacco

So even if it makes posting to social media more complicated, keep in mind that learning from poor judgment is part of maturing. By letting loose on social media, you may inadvertently share that process with the rest of the world. 

3. Don't underestimate who you'll become.

"I don’t think the day she was sending those tweets she thought she would be a national public figure," says Swanson of Hay. 

There's no doubt that many teens feel that way too. It may seem impossible to imagine the public scrutinizing an informal conversation between your friends or criticizing you for an impulsive tweetstorm. Yet that can and will happen under certain circumstances, particularly if you've long forgotten about those exchanges and aspire to become a public figure. 

And for this, Swanson has some inspirational advice: "We have to remind kids that they want to keep as many doors open as possible...Don't set [your] goals too low." 

 

Source : http://mashable.com

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