Keys to Being Social: Discretion

Keys To Being Social: Discretion

Our society worships youth. Does it go back to the 60’s or to Ponce de León’s quest for the Fountain of Youth?

Either way, the effect is the same. New technology breeds the expectation that the young, who have grown up with it, are the most qualified.

But I think any generation lacks something their senior generations have: discretion.

Sure, they may be able to play Nintendo from the womb, but it’s not enough. The young of today may have left Facebook for Snapchat. They may know how to buy songs online. But does this mean they have the advantage over Gen X or even Baby Boomers?

I say no.

Listen up Gen Y, Millenials, and anyone else born after 1990. You have to develop a sense of discretion.

What is discretion?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

” the right to choose what should be done in a particular situation

: the quality of being careful about what you do and say so that people will not be embarrassed or offended : the quality of being discreet”

And, pray tell, how does one get this quality?

More often than not, by experience. The older we get, the more we’re able to learn by other people’s mistakes. The “folly of youth,” as they say, is to make many mistakes.

Discretion is also a function of judgement and inhibition. The human brain hasn’t fully developed until the age of 25. Do you ever wonder why your car insurance rates drop at 25? I’d bet this has a lot to do with it.

“Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected until the prefrontal cortex of the brain has fully developed.”  Lucy Wallis, BBC News “Is 25 The New Cut Off Point for Adulthood?


Every adolescent and parent of an adolescent should watch this.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

Stupid or Foolish?

I think we call much behavior stupid when really foolish is the right word. The problem isn’t a lack of learning or intelligence. The problem is a lack of wisdom.

Two news stories caught my eye today that back up my claim that “the youth” shouldn’t be automatically viewed as the most qualified.

Exhibit A is a story of a teenager’s R-rated tweet about her job before she even starts. Exhibit B is a story of a teenage murderer taking a selfie on Snapchat with his victim.

The moral to the story is that nothing is private on the internet. Screenshots give extra life to online photos, tweets, and posts —  even the ones that “disappear.”

So think of these examples, small business owner, before you hire your niece to do your social media. The young may have technical advantages but character develops with age, often through hard lessons. Do you want a 16 year old cutting her teeth on your brand’s channel?

Read more Keys to Being Social posts here.

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