You never get a second chance to make a first impression and today it's well known that your first impression is likely your digital one.
This cliché is very common and can never be said enough because it's that important -- especially to our youth.
As a Rotarian, our motto is service above self. If you aren't familiar with this, it's about giving back and paying it forward. This doesn't necessarily mean monetarily, there are so many other ways to do good in your community and for others.
It's about what Dr. Michele Borba would describe as being an UnSelfie.
In our hyper-connected, social media saturated society, many of us are so obsessed with snapping "selfies" and living a virtual life online that we're forgetting how to care for people who are right in front of us or in our community.
That resulting Selfie Syndrome is leading to an empathy crisis among today’s youth—teens today are forty percent less empathetic than they were just a generation ago, and narcissism has increased fifty- eight percent according to Dr. Borba's research in her upcoming new book, UnSelfie, Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About Me World.
Potential college students and today's teenagers need consider their offline lives to enhance their online resume. As parents, talk to your child about how their online behavior can impact their chances with recruiters. Students can impress college recruiters with their sense of caring, kindness and compassion for family, friends and community. Service above self -- start making it your motto and creating your digital design today.
Caring about others isn’t just about playing nice; it’s a skill that’s vital for children’s mental health, leadership skills, and continued well-being, today and tomorrow. Dr. Borba spent ten years researching and traveling the world to find the best ways to cultivate empathy. Her nine step plan, which starts before kids can talk and continues through their college days to pave the way for a future of happiness and success, is what UnSelfie reveals.
Tell your kids, it's not about eliminating selfies:
Make your selfies matter. Tell a story. Why is your selfie important? Are you doing something for others in your picture? Share it with your audience and don't forget to tag the organization you're volunteering for.
Selfie not selfish. Start limiting your numbers of selfies to ones that have meaning. Are you helping your sibling ride their bike for the first time? Share it!
Selfies for shout-outs. Make it about someone else. Be genuinely happy for someone's success and achievements. You are a cheerleader, and colleges will like to see that you would support them too.
I can give the statistics of how colleges are scouring social media footprints. I can even preach about how potential employers may pass students over due to social media behavior (it's not always about content). But this post is about starting to get you to think about what you can do offline to start creating your compassionate, caring, empathic and polished digital resume that college recruiters will notice.
Ask your kids:
How will you stand out - both offline and online?
What have you done - for others?
How do you express your passion and interests - in your community?
Are you an influencer or someone that simply wastes time on their social platforms?
Let's turn our selfie generation into an UnSelfie population of people that are making a difference through their leadership skills, empathy and their keypads.