Thursday, March 22, 2012

Healthy Use of Social Media

Social media has certainly changed the world stage in many ways. The communication and information sharing processes now available are truly amazing. The impact of these new communication modes will probably not be fully realized for a generation or two to come, but it is abundantly clear that it will be nothing short of profound.
Although Twitter and Facebook and the like can do great things, they can also leave lasting negative legacies depending on how they are used. Alright, you might be asking, what am I, a health, exercise, and conditioning professional doing writing about social media. Well, I believe that good health isn't just physical. It also encompasses our psychological and emotional health. When we don't take care of those areas, our physical health will suffer from it.
I am writing about it for the following reasons. Every day I see things online that truly shock me. People (mostly kids but many adults as well) posting pictures of themselves getting drunk, skipping work or school, smoking all kinds of things, slobbering all over other people, and generally acting like morons. Guess what? In our current modern world, kids or not, you won't ever live it down. But, we think to ourselves, we deserve a good time, right? and we were all stupid kids at one point, right? Yes, but now it is all posted online forever in high-resolution picture and video.
Not only will these postings affect you, but your kids and grandkids will one day look at these images.  It'll make it easier to decide that, since mom wore practically nothing and hung out with a bunch of wannabe drug dealers, I can too.  Since dad drank beer everyday and cared about nothing but girls and partying, I will too. Adults participating in this may not live long enough to truly realize the ramifications of their actions, but kids may someday understand the problems created by their postings.  It may be too much to ask that kids actually think about how their actions will affect them in the future as most of them cannot plan for more than next weekend, but I hope not. Kids will always be kids, but the difference is that now they will never be able to get rid of those images or statements that they posted in permanent ink online. That difference is the consciousness that now has to start occupying the decision-making centers in the brains of young people. It's a different world and one that may come back to haunt them.
Good emotional and psychological health demands a self-acknowledgment of our behavior and decisions. Teaching our kids to make smarter decisions will increase the chances of healthy emotional lives. This increased psychological awareness combined with excellent physical conditioning makes the payoff of total good health much more available.
So for the adults and kids out there in the middle of our social media revolution, here is my guide for those of you who care: 
1)   Don’t post pictures of you making out with random people
2)   Don’t post pictures of you smoking pot or anything else in that realm
3)   Don’t post statements about how hammered you were last night
4)   Don’t post statements about how you skip school/work to go party
5)   Don’t post things that will stop you from getting employed
Many of us can look back at our own lives and think 'thank god no one had a digital camera', but times are different now and you aren't so lucky. Good decisions lead to good heath and that's my business. Let's reach for health that encompasses all parts of our lives and not regret social media decisions ten years from now!


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