W.A.I.T. on Social Media


It is a rarity to find an individual, especially a teenager who does not have some sort of wall, blog, webpage, account or something online. This is the new generation and older generations are catching up to it quickly.  Psychiatrist Dr. Gorrindo included a blog in 2010 on “Healthy minds Healthy lives” on the importance of teaching teenagers (and adults) to W.A.I.T. on social media.

He states that teenagers (and some adults) have limited capacity to hold off on their impulsive behaviors. Additionally, they do not fully appreciate the long-term consequences of their actions. Dr. Gorrido states he sees children in his practice and often encounters their immature and poor thoughts before saying “and posting” online. So he created the mnemonic W.A.I.T.

W. Wide-audience

“W” asks the question: Would I say this in front of a school assembly? He explains to give the teenager the example of visualizing himself in front of 800 peers in his school stating his post aloud.   Still sound like a good idea?
A. Affect
“A” asks the question: Am I in a good emotional place right now? Teaching the teenager that thoughts and feelings are connected and that their mood is managing what they are about to say. When they feel differently they will think differently.

I. Intent
“I” asks the questions: Might my intent be misunderstood? This helps the individual stop and think how the comment will be interpreted and/or misunderstood.

T. Today
…tomorrow, or the next day? “T” asks the question: Can this wait a day? Since the goal is to “wait” or slow down the emotional impulse to post something, this questions just evaluates the urgency of their post. It might be important to add here about how will this affect the individual today and to consider tomorrow.

Dr. Gorrindo ends by stating “I recognize that it’s unrealistic to expect that teens will W.A.I.T. every time they want to share something on a social media site, but I ask the teens I work with to write it on a post-it and stick it on their computer with the hope that it’ll slow them down. Using this technique, teens learn a structured way of evaluating whether or not something belongs on the Internet. It also provides clinicians and parents with a structured conversation tool to engage teens in discussions about what they are posting online”


To see full post go to: http://apahealthyminds.blogspot.com/2010/08/posting-something-to-your-social.html

professional counseling and care for the mind, body and spirit

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