It’s expensive being a loudmouth. How about the Orange student fined $105,000 for badmouthing a teacher on twitter. Or the Sydney couple fined $15,000 for a facebook post that suggested a neighbour may or may not be related to Satan. And that’s just for starters.
The thing is being a keyboard warrior is a pretty dumb way of dealing with your personal issues. Because once posted those words are there for the world to see for a long, long time. And if you really p*ss someone off it can be very expensive.
With the world changing at lightening speed, now more than ever we need to develop emotional intelligence. And while teens with only half a brain really need to learn these skills, it seems quite a few adults do too. Because behaving badly online is just not smart. Not only won’t it sort out your problems, it can cause even bigger ones.
So what are some of the tools we can teach our kids?
What EQ tools can we learn for ourselves?
One of the most important tools to master is the GAP. Because when you’re being emotionally intelligent it means you take a gap before you act and consider the consequences. How the other person might feel for example. Or whether your words will come back to haunt you. Or what it might cost you in terms of your own reputation. Or how to work out a better way to deal with the issue. Emotional intelligence means you might stop to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes rather than just sledging them. Maybe they’re acting like a jerk because something is going on for them that you have no knowledge of. Or maybe you’ve just got the bull by the tail and haven’t got the whole story anyway. Being emotionally intelligent may mean that you deal with your dirty laundry privately and upfront. Rather than air it in front of the world. Emotional intelligence may mean that you find a way to forgive someone for being a jerk rather than let them get control over how you feel. After all, the way we choose to respond is always our choice.
Feelings come and go. But words sent out into cyberspace have the potential to stick around for years to come. Because mud sticks. And the only winners in the increase in online defamation cases are the lawyers.
Emotional intelligence is one of life’s greatest skills. Not only can it save you a lot of grief it helps you create a lot more happiness.
So how can you develop your emotional intelligence?