Advice for Student Athletes

10 Social Media Tips for Teens

Social media is one of the most powerful forms of communication teens and adults use today.  As parents we sometimes assume that our tweens and teens already know the rules but social media responsibility isn’t a one-time discussion.

Check in with your kids often to be sure they are making wise decisions online and on their smart phones. Be sure they understand that you will be keeping an eye out to ensure that they are following the rules and exercising good judgement.


These 10 rules are a great way to start the social media discussion with your teens:

1. Respect yourself. Show off how great you are and represent yourself accordingly on social media. Make sure your photos are appropriate.  Do not post or text photos of yourself naked, dressed provocatively, or making obscene gestures. Avoid uploading anything you would not want your grandmother to see on the front cover of the Express or Wired 868! Social media plays a major role in building and ruining personal images.  

2. Post with positivity. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t post. Avoid ranting or arguing with people on social media and posting when you’re upset. You may be upset with your mom but it would be very disrespectful to share your anger with the world. Share positivity and good vibes on the web.

3. No “twerking”  or gun posing videos. Do not post videos that portray negative images of you, your friends or family involving profanity, sex, nudity, crime, drugs, discrimination, violence, lewd gestures, or anything that could be offensive to the public. Keep your video posts kid-friendly. You don’t want a video of you intoxicated and “twerking” inappropriately with friends to surface while you are campaigning for political office in 20 years.  

4. Know your followers. Allowing strangers to follow you can be very dangerous. Even if their account looks harmless, be aware that there are many fake accounts where creeps follow their prey. If you don’t know them, ignore them and don’t let them follow you. Also, use privacy settings to protect your accounts from being viewed by strangers.

5. Be careful what you post for likes. - You don’t want to end up “instafamous” for something that could destroy your future.  Keep your posts positive, dignified and smart. Social media is a great way to build a web presence for future endeavors.  Don’t compromise your future for “likes” or “followers.”  

6. Play nice.  No one has the right to harass anyone based on their sex, race, age, orientation, personal beliefs, values, etc. The impact of harassment is heightened and can have deadly consequences when acted out over the Internet. Avoid engaging in cyber brawls on Twitter and status face-offs on Facebook. If you have a personal issue with someone, keep it off the Internet. If anyone is saying things about you on social media, report their account and let a relative know.

7. Think before you post. Nothing is ever truly deleted, so be very sure about what you post before you hit the post or send button. Once you post a picture or a status it is stored on the site’s server and can normally be retrieved even if you delete it from your profile.

8. If you see something, say something. Report anything inappropriate. Block or un-follow people that post negative comments on your timeline, make you uncomfortable or harass you in any way.

 

9. Manage your use wisely. Too much of anything can become a bad thing. Is social media keeping you from getting work done? Try putting time limits on your social media usage to make sure it is not impacting your productivity.
 

10. Don’t post your every move. Leave some information to share with your real friends and family over the phone. Your best friend would probably want to know you and your boyfriend broke up before the whole world knows via your relationship status change.  Also be careful sharing info when you are going out of town. You don’t want to alert a potential burglar that you will be in the Bahamas for a week with your family.As a teenager it is important that you are aware, informed, and understand the risks that come along with using social media.  Remember to protect yourself, censor what you post, and chose the crowd you associate with wisely.
 

The information age has given high school or college students the ability to form opinions about colleges before ever stepping on a campus for a visit. But they’re not the only ones using the Internet to gather useful information.

College coaches now have a much quicker and convenient way to form a first impression of a potential recruit’s character — through social media.

For some young players, that may not be a good thing. In a US Youth Soccer survey of college coaches, 322 coaches said they check social media profiles of potential recruits, and 89 percent of those coaches said a player’s social media presence has negatively affected how they view that player.

Clemson men’s soccer head coach Mike Noonan said his coaching staff regularly uses social media, and he said “without question” coaches can find out a player’s personality by his or her social media habits.
“You don’t want to read too much into social media because it’s more about information than it is a character analyzation of the player. But if someone posts things that are inappropriate, that tells you a lot about whether you want to recruit the player or not,” Noonan said. “If someone is being critical of a teammate, coach, referee or situation on social media, that may be suggesting some potential problems down the road.”

Noonan couldn’t give specifics of any situation, but he said he has been one of those coaches who has seen something posted on social media that negatively affected the way he viewed a recruit.
The prevalence of young athletes harming their image on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms has led to websites like SocialStudentAthletes.com, which provides blog posts teaching students such lessons as “5 Easy Steps to Killing Your Recruiting Chances with Social Media.” The website acknowledges college coaches’ use of social media and lists social media practices for high school athletes to avoid.

In Noonan’s mind, recruits simply need to do a little thinking before posting something on their profiles.

“They should avoid putting out things that are socially unacceptable, whether it’s language, situations involving alcohol or lifestyle issues that are controversial,” Noonan said. “It’s a common sense type of thing. The general rule we’ve always used is: ‘If it’s something you want a future employer or your parents to know, that’s your barometer for what to post.’”

While a lot of discussion focuses on what to avoid doing on social media, there are ways for recruits to help their cause through their online presence.

Simple updates on games, schedules, what schools a player is visiting, and other football events provide college coaches with useful information. If a player is part of a Youth National Team, a synopsis of a game and how he or she played will help generate interest from coaches who are following the player.
“They should use social media to promote themselves and what they’re doing in games and the values they have as young people,” Noonan said. “If they do well academically, make the honor roll, those types of things. It should always be something positive.”

Even if a recruit’s youth team is coming off a loss, Noonan said it’s good to see a post that acknowledges a tough defeat but looks forward to the next game or opportunity with a positive attitude.
No matter what young athletes post on social media, it’s important for them to remember coaches and potential future employers see much of the same information on those platforms. Just as kids use social media to first hear about news, coaches use it to start the process of learning about potential players for their program.

“Social media is the most prevalent source of information that’s out there today,” Noonan said. “As a player, you have to stay current and have to stay vigilant to make sure you’re being portrayed in the way you want to be portrayed.”