Social media is a recreational tool for high school students that’s only increasing—a way for students to communicate with friends and express their beliefs and emotions. For high school athletes, social media can also be a trap that impacts their likelihood of being recruited by college coaches.
MyTownTutors.com, a web site that provides information for parents of high school students, offers the following advice in talking to your son or daughter about being careful on the use of social media:
There’s no such thing as private social media. Social media platforms may offer a user to have a “private” account, but anything in a private account can be saved using apps or by capturing a screen shot. MyTownTutors.com reminds students that anything they put up on any digital media can be shared with the world.
Delete doesn’t mean it’s deleted everywhere. MyTownTutors.com says that athletes often get in trouble via social media even though they deleted the Tweet or post within 10 minutes of putting it up; it had already been captured by other people multiple times and copied into files. MyTownTutors.com also notes that Twitter has expressed the following about its re-tweet formula; “If other users have re-tweeted your Tweet with a comment of their own, their Tweets will not be removed.”
MyTownTutors.com brings up a very good point: Your sense of humor is not necessarily the same as others who may read your post—especially college coaches. The website states, “There are thousands of instances of athletes sending out something that they thought was funny which resulted in hundreds of negative responses and had serious repercussions…Think carefully before you put out something that you think is ‘funny.’”
Re-tweets/shares can also lead to trouble. As MyTownTutors.com writes, “When you re-tweet something or share it out, you are endorsing the content. We see over 50,000 posts, Tweets, pics from student athletes each month and male high school student athletes often muddy their feeds via re-tweeting/sharing misogynistic or sexually explicit content.”
MyTownTutors.com does point out that “Facebook is a fantastic platform to use to build your athletic resume. College coaches, and your high school team’s fans can easily follow the historic feed. Essentially a Facebook page can be your free mobile website. An athlete’s Facebook page should reflect life off the field as well as on the field—but steer away from sharing pictures of last weekend’s party.”
It would be terrific if coaches have a conversation with their athletes about this topic and come to agreement with them on what is acceptable to put up on social media. But because that’s not likely to happen, parents of athletes need to talk to their son or daughter about what is, and is not, appropriate to put out on social media.