Teenagers, Mistakes and Social Media

I was reminded this week of how young people can totally underestimate the reach and power of social media.

During one of my coaching sessions my student appeared very troubled and spoke to me about a social media issue that had come to her attention. Basically two of her classmates had created a profile on a dating website for another pupil and used a school email address for the profile contact details. The pupil was totally unaware of what had been done.

Through the discussion I was able to help my student to identify how wrong this was:

  • This was an adult website and the pupil was a minor
  • They had input the pupil’s details without consent
  • Inappropriate use of school email address
  • Risk of exposure to strangers who trawl dating websites
  • The severity of the whole situation

The other two classmates were oblivious to the serious nature of what they had done and thought it was just a bit of fun. Fortunately my student realised it was not funny and was adult and mature enough to raise it with me. I then raised it with the school as a safeguarding issue so that the profile could be deleted as soon as possible.

Coaching young people on the principles of life and making the right decision is not always easy. They are often worried about the risk of becoming unpopular by telling the truth.  I always coach my students to act with kindness, compassion, honesty and integrity. Being mindful of those core values and using them while they are young is an excellent foundation for adulthood and a successful working life.

Doing the right thing is never the easiest decision to make and getting young people to understand that is a constant challenge in my coaching life!