Dumb kids with smart phones

I hope I’m not one of those dumb kids with smart phones.

I attended the National Urban League Conference last Thursday and was enlightened by speakers like Vice President Joe Biden and Mayors from Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Memphis and other cities about increasing job opportunities, as this year’s theme was One Nation Underemployed.

One issue that came up in the panel discussion with the mayors was not only increasing access to technology for today’s youth, but also making sure they take full advantage of it.

It’s easy to get lost in the entertainment of Candy Crush or Twitter, but kids should be aware of all the empowerment opportunities present in those addictive, rectangular devices.

As Jeff Johnson, Chief of Strategy at Illume Communications said, we need to stop having “dumb kids with smart phones” — a statement that the audience welcomed with grins and chuckles.

It’s true though. Kids that are fortunate enough to have such devices don’t always see the full potential. You no longer have to wait until you’re admitted into college or until you make it in the “real world” to network with professionals and even get your name out there because of the reach that these devices can provide.

From my personal experience, we are told constantly of all the precautions that must be taken on social media: don’t post personal information; don’t post inappropriate content; don’t post something you wouldn’t want your grandma or future employer to see. While all of those things are most certainly true and definitely should be taught, it’s a very defensive strategy.

There are also ways to use these platforms proactively, ways that should be emphasized more. Establishing a positive online presence can be a benefit professionally because it helps you build you own brand and make connections. It shows that you’re putting yourself out there to get what you want.

So  go ahead play Candy Crush and Temple Run. Follow those accounts that publish humorous memes. But along with that, follow the New York Times and NPR. Get in touch with professionals from the field you hope to pursue. Do some self marketing.

It’s  important to become well rounded and take full advantage of the outlets we have available to us.



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