Twenty-First Century Do’s and Don’ts

By Nina Milsted

IMG_0129Okay, we’re going to take a self-evaluation. Don’t panic; no need to call your psychiatrist. No one is grading you. Be honest, and just simply answer these questions.

When we were young we were taught manners: how to sit at a dinner table, how to chew our food, and how to introduce ourselves to strangers.

Protocols designed to encourage easier integration with people of similar values.

Three out of four teenagers have access to the internet and 94% of them use more than one social media. This generation has a tool that no other has ever had. How do we use it?

As communication develops it is obvious that new manners must be innovated, rules on the “dos and don’ts” of social media and technology. We must adapt our lives to these recent inventions in order to manage and tame this monster that’s on the verge of taking control of us.

Question 1:

You’ve planned a reunion with your old college friends, it’s been 5 years since you’ve last seen them. You arrive at the restaurant, and after greeting them, you sit down and place your phone on that nice white tablecloth, face down obviously. Why? Why face down? Why even on the table at all? You do realize that this sends an indirect message to your friends saying “Hey, I really did miss you but if I get a notification I will check my phone because that’s more important than the conversation we’re having”

We are consistently connected, I know that, but try and make it less tempting for you to check that one facebook message. Put your phone on silent mode, and leave it far away from you. Show your friends you are interested in what they say.  

Have control.    

Question 2:

Your daughter has been rehearsing all year for her piano recital, the endless evenings of off key clanging have all led to this moment. As she walks onto the stage, you get this urge and grab your phone out of your bag and press play. Before putting your newborn star to bed, you want to show her one last time how well she did, so you watch the video and it turns out all you can see is an old bald man’s head. How charming! Not only is your recording useless but you lost the live moment forever. Wasn’t the memory of the recital enough? Did you have to take all those videos and pictures? Or is it now a force of habit?

Embrace beautiful moments.

Remember them.

Question 3;

For all the youngsters out there, posting daily, would you really want your grandpa to see that photo of you? The new generation is not consciously aware of what they post anymore, from pictures of girls proudly holding a vodka bottle, to guys flexing their muscles as they pose in front of the mirror in the gym. Social media steals precious innocence and underlines naivety, without us even realizing. So tell me honestly why did you post that picture? Was it to be “cool”? to receive compliments from people you barely know? To bolster your self-esteem?

Be mindful of what you put out there, some of those pictures could damage your future, change how people look at you and maybe even define you.

Think twice and ask yourself “would grandpa approve ?”

We can grow and help each other improve as individuals instead of endless posting and looking back on millions of pictures. We must embrace this technology, I don’t oppose that, but let’s do it elegantly like our elders would have.



  1. Office of Adolescent Health. “February 2016: Teens’ Social Media Use.”, US Department of Health and Human Services, 13 May 2016,


3 thoughts on “Twenty-First Century Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Staff Writer Harein V

    I love the way you constructed your argument and spoke about a topic that is not really talked about. Also, the scenarios you presented were very relatable.

  2. Sterre Verwoerd

    This is pretty good! Very interesting outline/layout to write your essay in, it makes it easier to read. Not only is it well written but it is something that everyone should know.

  3. Li-Kay Teng

    I loved the way your piece was constructed and your voice is so clear in this. It was so engaging to read through your piece as the scenarios you created in your writing are so relatable to modern day society. A super cool piece, I loved it!

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