Bridging the Virtual Gap: The Challenge for 21st Century Teenagers
Are you challenged by modern day teens? OR are you a teen YOURSELF? In either case, you will probably recognize something of your experience in the following story.
Sixteen year-old Leah and her mother are sitting at the dinner table. Both are reading their emails on hand-held devices. Every few seconds the silence at the table is broken by pings and pops as a new email arrives. The blue light from the screen lights up Leah's mother's glasses giving them an eerie glow. She fervently reads her screen. Suddenly the mother looks up. She squints at Leah and asks “Leah can you do the dishes? It’s your turn and you have missed the last three times.”
No reply. Leah’s head is fixated on her i-phone, her dexterous fingers texting her friend. Her earphones block out all sound under eight-five decibels. Her mother reaches out and touches Leah gently. Only physical contact can break the spell of separateness between them. Leah is lost in her virtual empire. Her mother taps her again, a little harder to gain her attention.
“Fuck you, don’t molest me, you retard” Leah snaps at her mother. “That's assault you bitch!” Leah's mother’s mind races, reeling from her daughter's angry response. Inside of ten seconds Leah places her i-phone in front of her mother’s face, snapping a photo and then uploading it to Facebook with the words “My mother hit me again.” The mother’s photo and reputation is now visible to Leah's 1500 “friends.”
Leah's mother's simple request has suddenly evaporated into an emotional maelstrom gone public. Perplexed, the mother stares helplessly at this strange creature, her daughter, and sighs.
In my fifteen years working with teens as a High School Teacher and Professional Certified Life Coach I have often encountered many teens in situations like Leah's. I have witnessed social changes that have required me to consider deeply the challenges teens, parents and teachers face every day.
Several key issues I've identified in trying to help teens include: their difficulty to express their needs clearly; over-dependence on technology; poor health; a confused morality which includes their inability to take responsibility. Teenagers today have been armed with a variety of reasons and excuses for their issues: from ADHD to obesity to anger management issues. Doctors, behaviorists and therapists quickly point out quick fixes such as medication and therapy as the only alternatives to help our children.
Common sense is often overlooked.
As a Professional Certified Life Coach and a cutting-edge educational consultant my mission is to empower and help teenagers tap their creative spirit to become healthy and robust leaders and pioneers of the twenty-first century. To do this I am bridging a gap between two worlds. The first world is the virtual one where teens (and now parents and teachers) are absorbed into electronic social connections and entertainment, often at the expense of deeper relationships with others. The second world is not mediated by a screen. It is where communication and relationship come first, and the consequences of our actions are explored and understood.
The results are powerful. Teens quickly develop:
For more information on how coaching works and what it can offer you click here.
LAWRENCE CARROLL EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT & LIFE COACH
"Lawrence Carroll's workshop on personal stress management, which he conducted with my Columbia Grad School class
was a huge success."
Neal Pilson, Columbia University, Former President, CBS Sports