#GirlCode. The Secret to Success in a Digital World

#GirlCode" The Secret to Success in a Digital World

#GIRLCODE speaks to little Miss Millennials everywhere – the switched on social media generation who can lack essential social skills for the real world.

We live in a time where face-to-face contact has been replaced with cyberspace presence and connecting with friends means disconnecting from reality. Sure, the benefits of technology are many, but the damage is, and continues to be, far reaching.

If social skills are the building blocks of confidence and character, then the ability to communicate effectively – without anxiety and awkwardness – is the VIP ticket to personal success.

You are the future and if you wish to be taken seriously you need to understand the intricate mechanisms of the society that exists on this side of the screen.

#GirlCode" The Secret to Success in a Digital World
Author: Michaela Launerts
RRP: $24.99

Interview with Michaela Launerts

Question: What inspired the creation of #GirlCode - The Secret to Success in a Digital World?

Michaela Launerts: In the ten years that I have been a teacher I have seen the negative impact that instant access to technology has had on young people's interpersonal skills first hand. While smart phones have become the norm, nobody had any idea that the social media phenomenon would have such a dramatic effect on the way our children learn and the way they interact with one another. From diminishing interpersonal skills and levels of literacy to impaired concentration, the consequences of complete immersion in cyberspace is already a reality for many young people. For the most part, adolescents are attached to their phones and are free to roam around, unsupervised, in an online world. When it comes to employment, it's the real-life soft skills such as being able to converse properly that will give them a competitive edge. Technology has many advantages but it can only be of any real benefit if it enhances our ability to function in society. #GirlCode was a way for me to emphasise the importance of character education and to bridge the gap between what parents think is being taught in schools and what teachers think should be taught at home. I really wanted to give young women the tools to navigate all kinds of social situations so they could have the freedom and confidence to fulfill their potential.

Question: What will readers of #GirlCode - The Secret to Success in a Digital World take away from the book?

Michaela Launerts: Young people are given such a hard time these days. We roll our eyes at their inability to demonstrate simple pleasantries like manners and a positive attitude. We huff and puff when they use their phones at the dinner table and various other inappropriate times and we scoff at them when they talk about their unrealistic future-salary expectations. The fact is that in most cases they have no idea why certain behaviour is seen as unacceptable because the world they live in seems so different to the one we know so well. #GirlCode offers detailed insight into social etiquette and why now, more than ever, behaviour is so important. Young women are creating permanent records of their lives on various social media platforms and they need support in order that they don't unintentionally sabotage the potential success of their future selves. This book will enable readers to gain back control of their self-image and help them build a good reputation on and offline.

Question: How have the 'social media generation' disconnected from reality?

Michaela Launerts: The social media generation are living between two worlds, reality and cyberspace. They have a real life identity and an online version, complete with an instant audience. The Internet has become a platform on which we can share every miniscule detail of our lives. We are celebrities of our own worlds. We are broadcasters, cinematographers, writers, commentators – we each have a voice. It's only natural that young people are drawn in. While our ability to use technology in this way has many benefits, we also need to be aware of the consequences and the potential this has to distract us from reality. The allure of celebrity status is by no means a new concept but what is it that these -Insta-celebrities' and -Influencers' of popular culture are actually famous for? Contouring? Who is setting these illusory standards? The answers to these questions are even more frightening. More than ever, young women need to be savvy when it comes to online content and #GirlCode shows them how.

Question: Can you talk us through the negative effects this disconnect has had on young women?

Michaela Launerts: Every day, young women are being bombarded with images that shape not only how they view the world but how they view themselves. Without the ability to be critical of the images they are consuming, they risk becoming capable only of measuring their self-worth based on two things: the beauty ideals of paid -influencers' and the scale of illusory attention they receive as self-made celebrities in the worlds they create online.

It's only natural that every time someone posts something, their ego is seeking some sort of acknowledgement. When you look at a teenager's behaviour through this lens, it becomes clear that every post is an appeal to gain validation - 'am I ok?" One of the dangers here is that those of us who are ill-equipped to deal with rejection, namely, children and adolescents, become so dependent on positive attention to the online versions of themselves, that they become unable to switch back into real-life mode. They are effectively trapped in a mindset in which their every unedited, unfiltered move is being scrutinized by the judgmental gaze of a real-life audience, a type of self-induced stage fright that doesn't even exist! I have spoken with teenagers as young as fourteen who view eating in public as more frightening than posting a sexually explicit selfie, young adults who are too afraid to ask for assistance in a store and scared of using a telephone to make an enquiry, and I can't help but wonder whether it's because they can't -filter' their actions in real life… #Girlcode is a step-by-step guide to building character and cultivating a personal brand so that #nofilter is required.

Question: How important is a first impression?

Michaela Launerts: First impressions are everything - you never get a second chance to make one.

Interview by Brooke Hunter

#GirlCode" The Secret to Success in a Digital World
Author: Michaela Launerts
RRP: $24.99



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