Sunday, May 1, 2016

Social Responsibility

Working in education, specifically with High School students, one topic we continually go over is social responsibility. This generation of students is the first to grow up not knowing "life without the internet" and/or social media. We talk about being kind online, posting responsibly so when colleges or jobs search a name there isn't concern of what they will find, and most importantly even if posts are deleted, the content remains in a screenshot, text, email or on an app backup server. It's really unknown how this "connected world" will affect the Millennial Generation long term in their careers and beyond as they are the first generation to grow up "connected".


But, there is a flip side to an online presence.

I've thought about this for a long time....as adults are teaching and preaching in homes to be socially responsible, they are often the ones living an irresponsible online/connected life. "Innocent" conversations over text, apps, email or in the workplace that give illusion to an availability that isn't reality. The reality is one, or both, engaging in the conversation is in a relationship, and often times in a serious relationship and/or married. We've seen it in the news; the Madison fallout, the "caught in the act" photos, and on and on, but still the regular person believes "that won't happen to me".

I can speak to this irresponsibility because it's happened to me...

A lack of commitment to establishing a relationship with me because ultimately "hanging out" doesn't require any commitment or responsibility.

Dating someone I didn't meet online and finding out they had and still actively maintained online dating profiles, which were known as hook-up sites. 

Friends who are in serious long term relationships that maintain an appearance of single on their social media accounts. 

An invitation from a married person/friend to meet on a weekend, to go to dinner and crossed a line that I had to cease any conversation/draw a deep line in the sand. 

"I've filed for divorce and just waiting for the papers to be signed".

Most social media sites have a place to designate "Relationship Status"...and it's our responsibility as adults to honor relationships; in dating, seriously dating, engaged and marriage both online and off.

Lessons I've learned to avoid through much angst and frustration, but this I know:

If your're worried about what someone might see on your phone/tablet or computer

If you're only available during certain times

If you won't take pictures with someone

If you block "tagged in photos" from showing up 

If you aren't where you say you're going to be

If you take your ring off and put it in your pocket

If you aren't accountable to anyone

...chances are you're not socially responsible. 

Despite a seeming roller-coaster of dating for me, there are so many beautiful relationships and marriages I get to witness who are both teaching and modeling social responsibility in their homes. Their lives are certainly not perfect, and they don't hide behind filtered, cropped and edited snapshots. Instead they are alongside each other in the trenches everyday, seeking accountability and wise counsel to fight for the next day and the next until forever together. And, for those teachers I am forever grateful. 

While hearing from teachers and adults about social responsibility Millennials are also growing up in a world that is changing due to adults and their social irresponsibility. When we aren't sure how an online presence will affect them as adults, we also can't be sure how the generations before them are affecting Millennials. 

And, this I also know...if we subscribe to the generations before us who taught us to think before we speak, that honesty is the best policy, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all and actions speak louder than words...we will leave our Millennials in good hands.

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! And, it's countdown to summer time!!! Hooray for you!!

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  2. This is full of such wisdom. Love you!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you friend and for sharing your sweet family with me too!! xo

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