Of Boys, Social Media, and dealing with distractions

Thursday, October 24, 2019


I love me my LinkedIn. Above Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other gram, LI remains my favourite app.

I know, I know… it is full of over-achieving geniuses: super-babies, who earned doctorates at 14 years old, and numerous entrepreneurs who built million-dollar companies from nothing, in less than 2 months.

El Oh El.

Asides the ‘window-dressing’, I find LinkedIn really educative and interesting, throwing up diverse areas for discussions, and providing fodder for writing content.

Like the other day, when I was casually strolling through its streets, and bumped into this very interesting poser posted by former school-mate and celebrated Nigerian-Canadian STEM wonder-woman, Prof. Rita Orji:

My initial reaction was haq! haq!! haq!!! at the terror of the curve-ball served by those precious kids. I mean, one would be prepared to answer all things technical about science, technology, finding undergrad scholarships, and winning as a woman in a male-dominated field. But who knew the poor kids had far bigger pressing issues right before them, of staving off boys and the lure of social media’s sinking hole?

So I promised this post in response to these questions. Not that I am an expert in fighting temptations distractions, but I have decided to pen down this response for future references, when our mentees (and even daughters) raise these questions again.

Here goes…

Boys

One thing we learn as lawyers is the ability to help clients find solutions to their problems by themselves, rather than foist an omnibus solution, which may turn out to not really be what they want.

Questions like “why do you think this is a mistake?”, or “what would you really prefer?” help point out to clients what their desired course of action really is.

This is the perfect opportunity to apply these skills.

I would start by asking the girls “why do you think boys are a distraction?” Because for me, the answer to their question lies in this question.

It is likely that the answer will revolve around something like “so that I can concentrate on my books, and make good grades”. Voila! That’s the teaching moment right there.

Start with letting them know that this is ALL the reason to place ‘boys’ on the back burner; at this stage of their life, their education (and personal development) is what really matters.

Their grades are capable of determining the trajectory of their life, such that while they may WILL have several opportunities to enter into (not so platonic) relationships with the boys, they have only this opportunity to score the best grades for their present level, and move on to the next.

It is placing this understanding at the top of their minds that will enable them firmly say no to casual invitations to ‘night out with the boys’, while remembering that that time could be better applied in searching for scholarships, or finishing a term-paper.

This is not to ignore that puberty builds the army of butterflies, which begin to signal weak knees from passion for one’s love interest or crush. Heck, at 15, I could only dream about my wedding to Keanu Reeves.

(I still nurse that dream, till date) *wistful sigh*

We should let them know that it is ok to acknowledge these feelings/emotions. But as aspiring adults, who would be required to prioritise every facet of life in adulthood, now is the time to practice prioritising, by placing education above the allure of ‘boys’.

And for the ones who have commenced relationship with boys already, it does not automatically equal failure in all things books. I mean, people have met the love of their lives in high school, while acing their grades... right??

The only thing however is that this would require firmer (and more committed) prioritising, in that clear timetables must be allotted and abided by for studying and school work, to be juggled with ‘relationship-time’. The need for this schedule to be strictly observed cannot be over-emphasised, and if one must be sacrificed at any point, it should DEFINITELY not be the books. 

I repeat, the boys will ALWAYS be there.

On a final note, you can also throw in that whatever attention they think they are getting from boys now, will be nothing compared to the attention when they have grown into older, much more beautiful and self-assured women, gallantly slaying in their chosen career fields.

Na dem go dey run from ‘dem bois’.

Social Media

Ok, I do not have to reach into my inner lawyer to answer this one.

It goes without saying that what was originally created to add ‘flavour’ to human existence, has morphed into an avenue for major distractions. Even we adults struggle with this, daily.

Unfortunately, social media is a relatively new phenomenon, which old goons like me did not have to navigate during our early adolescence. (The most of our “entertainment” was in hard-cover novels and black-and-white tee-vees, with horrible horrible reception)

However, and truthfully speaking, even as an adult, I have had to deliberately re-define my relationship with social media, in order to harness the communication and informational advantages it presents, while diminishing its negative interference in my work and personal life.

(Oh... social media can hold your life to ransom, if you let it)

So I’ll share some personal hacks I have developed over time, which curtail my social media activities. Maybe it can help these kids too.

Deliberate “Socialising”: One must consciously refrain from joining EVERY social media platform out there, so as to avoid spreading one’s self too thin. For younger persons, one platform (two at the tops) is sufficient, especially considering that these social media platforms are not likely to add real value to their academic growth and self-development, at this stage.

Notifications: This is one hack which permanently works for me. You know those red flashing lights, which always prompt you to pick your phone, then suck you down the rabbit hole for three hours doing absolutely nothing? Simply go to your phone’s settings, and turn off notifications for your social media platforms. This way, you only see new notifications, when you specifically search for them in the particular app

(Now you understand that I was not just ignoring your Instagram shout-out)

Carry reading material around: The biggest culprit in distraction through social media is the mindless scrolling through the feed, to kill time. But this scrolling causes addiction, to more scrolling. One way to counteract this is carry a book or magazine in your bag, so that when one is bored, rather flip out the phone, you bring the book or magazine to begin reading.

Wear wristwatches: Wearing an actual time-teller reduces the incidence of you looking down on your phone for the time, and getting unnecessarily distracted.

Strict timetables: Again, this works for me a lot, especially when I have looming deadlines or important projects. I generally allot a certain time for social media during the day, and schedule strictly guarded 5 - 10 minute breaks to scan through social media for updates. You may say even that I take it too far, as during work most times, my data is off. I get emails on my laptop, and important messages reach my actual text messages, or phone calls.

Just like the prioritising in boys, there is need to prioritise in Social Media.

Complete breaks: From time to time, I take total breaks from my social media platforms, to focus on personal projects. This is either by deleting the apps off my phone, or deactivating my accounts. If the girls genuinely think that social media is a distraction, perhaps, they could take complete breaks when exams are approaching, and resume after.

No social media?? I know; I sound like the evil Auntie from the Wild-Wild-West, for suggesting that adolescents stay back in the 1990s. But there is need to remember that the most important thing at this stage of their lives is their education. Social Media will do little to nothing in adding to this, unless (perhaps) LinkedIn, which they still may be considered a bit too young to independently navigate. So wicked auntie-ish as it may sound, I would certainly proffer this as a possible solution.

While I cannot beat my chest or tout my ‘skills’ as a relationship and/or social media navigator, I hope this helps in guiding adolescents (and even you adult reading this) on navigating the possible distractions, which relationships and social media may pose.

Have other suggestions?? Please share them below.

Paz,

Meg.





Photo-Credits
1. www.unsplash.com - Priscilla Du Preez
2. www.linkedin.com - Rita Orji

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1 comments

  1. Quite inciteful. Basically, there's time for everything. If one doesn't plan their time properly, distractions are bound to arise.

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