Social media means bullies aren't left at the school gate.
Social media means bullies aren't left at the school gate. milanvirijevic

OPINION: Hindsight not always helpful when talking to teens

"ONE day you'll look back and it won't matter."

It's a phrase most of us know to be true but we are fooling ourselves if we think this advice alone cuts it when it comes to comforting bullied or troubled kids who are only focussed on the now.

If teenagers had crystal balls and the ability to make decisions, control emotions based on what they will later learn, we'd all have likely taken fewer risks, made different choices.

The biggest challenge we face is overcoming the frustrating aspect of what we know and instead listening to what they are telling us.

Social media has changed the rules. Bullies aren't left behind at the school gate.

"Don't look at it" might sound like sound and sensible advice but seeing sense in an all-consuming environment where electronic devices are like an extra body part and everyone you know is looking at that post is hard-going.

"Back in my day" - also useless. Stand your kid on a table and show them how to deliver a strong right hook and they are the ones who will likely be suspended.

We need new rules, new approaches, more accountability for bullies on and off-screen and better lessons in listening and seeing signs.

Today is what matters most.

If this has stirred issues for you, call Lifeline 24 hours on 13 11 14.