Forever. Forever, forever. The (other) problem with social media and teens.



I’ve counseled more than one teen/college student about using discretion when posting on social media. This usually means no lewd photos, no information about exactly where you live, nothing you’d be embarrassed for your mama or a future employer to see.

A new wrinkle to this advice occurred me this weekend. I was looking at a young woman’s profile. She’s in her early 20s. Seems to be a lovely human. Nothing vexing about her posts….for a high school girl. There are tons of photos of her and friends 15-18ish years old, behaving like teenage girls. There are school dance photos and pics of old boyfriends. It’s juvenile…which is perfectly fine, since she was a juvenile when she posted it.

But now she’s a young adult, about to be married, looking for a job and while what’s out there is not bad or dangerous, it’s not really the impression you want to make when you’re starting off your adult life. So I’m a bit flummoxed about her predicament. Facebook is an archive of that time in her life. She doesn’t have those photos in a shoe box in her closet like I do. I don’t want to get rid of those things, but I don’t hang them on my walls either for everyone to see.

Certainly, she can change privacy settings for anything she personally posted, but she’s tagged in tons of stuff. And it’s all still out there. You can’t get pee out of swimming pool…even if it’s totally innocent pee.

So this is a small piece of the discretion on posts policy I hadn’t fully considered previously. I don’t have a great answer. I just think people really should get two social media lives if they were under 21 when they opened their accounts.

They should be allowed to grow up and behave like kids because they are kids. This just seems like a lot of pressure for humans who don’t even know who they are yet.


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