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Mindful : December 2013
For our full inter view with Tristan Gorrindo, go to mindful.org/wait How many friends do you have on Facebook? For teenagers who use the social media site, the median count is about 300, according to Teens, Social Media, and Privacy, a Pew Center repor t released last spring. That’s a lot of rapid-fire, non-face-to- face communicating. Add in an ado- lescent’s proclivity for impulsivity, and you can land in the world of sexting and cyber-bullying pretty fast. “Adolescents are biologically more prone to making decisions that are not well thought out,” says Tristan Gorrindo, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The part of the brain right behind the fore- head, which controls judgment, is at that time undergoing a rapid period of devel- opment,” says Gorrindo, who is studying the way families use technology. In the process, he has created a practice called W.A .I .T. It’s designed with teenagers in mind, but for anyone living in today’s digital world, these questions could prove valuable: W = Wide Audience “Would I say this in front of a school assembly?” A = Affect “Am I in a good emotional place right now?” I = Intent “Might my intent be misunderstood?” T = Today “Today, tomorrow, or the next day? Can this wait a day?” Evaluating the urgency of what we’re about to say can provide a helpful injec- tion of perspective. Why is it so urgent? What will happen if I wait? And if I wait, might I feel differently about it later? ● WAIT a Minute OVERHEARD “I wish so bad I could go back to that day and change my focus. I wish I could go back and say, I can do these texts when I get to my stop, when I get there. I don’t have to do them when I’m driving.” — Chandler Gerber, who caused an accident that killed three people because he was driving and texting. From Werner Herzog’s documentary From One Second to the Next December 2013 mindful 13 December 2013 mindful 13 Illustration by Gavin Potenza