It’s common for college coaches to scan the social media accounts of prospective recruits. Sometimes kids fail to realize that what they say online can hurt or help them throughout life.
Case in point: College football coach, Herb Hand, once tweeted about a potential recruit. He wrote, “Dropped another prospect this a.m. due to his social media presence… Actually glad I got to see the ‘real’ person before we offered him.”
Another college coach, Justin Stepp, tweeted, “Came across an awful Twitter account today. Shame the kid was a really good player…On to the next one…get a clue!”
Your child may not be nearing college yet, but teaching kids the importance of online respect and safety is important for kids of all ages.
Teach your sports kid these six rules and help them create a safe social media experience while still having fun.
- Stay safe. You never actually know whom you’re talking to on social media. There are harmful people who hide behind fake profiles and act as someone else in order to gain the trust of unsuspecting children. Remind your child never to post any personal information such as address, school or phone number. They should also turn off tracking devices that tell where they are.
- Refrain from being negative. Never post anything negative or critical about someone else. Hurting someone’s reputation online is cyber bullying. It’s a real threat and can do extreme damage to kids. Also refrain from complaining online. Talking bad about a practice, game, teammate or coach can get you into trouble and make you lose friends and playing time.
- Use social media for good. Use your social media presence to inspire and motivate. Post educational, encouraging or inspirational quotes, memes or photos. Motivate your teammates and cheer them on through your posts. Follow positive role models whose posts can motivate and encourage you in sports and in life.
- A post is permanent. Period. Once you post something it’s out there for the world to see. Yes, even if you delete it. Someone could take a screen picture of it, keep it and share it. Think before you post anything. Ask yourself if you would want your parents, teachers or coach to see it.
- No pictures in locker room. Never take and post pictures from inside the locker room. You can accidentally include something or someone in the background that should be private. A locker room is a place where people expect some privacy.
- You are what you retweet. Be careful what you retweet. Just because you didn’t write it, retweeting it means you agree with it. Think through whether or not to share it just the way you would with your original posts.
Reminding kids of these basic social media rules can help your young athlete stay safe and out of trouble. And if they’re ever up for a college scholarship someday, they won’t have to worry about their previous tweets, posts and pictures.