The Dangers of Social Media Every Student-Athlete Should Know
Social media has rapidly become everyone’s public platform for sharing ideas, opinions, photos, and funny videos. While this can be an incredible way for young teenagers to reach out to all their friends and come together, it can also be severely damaging to any student-athlete’s quest to earn an athletic scholarship or get college funded. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ all come across as friendly places to share your personal story, but you need to understand how dangerous these arenas can be.
The problem is two-fold. First, everything you put on the Internet is permanent. Sure, you may think twice about saying something offensive and delete that tweet or post two hours and 20 negative comments after posting it, but it doesn’t matter. Once you put it out there, posts are often stored by the companies’ servers permanently, or someone could take a screenshot of your post, saving it forever. Depending on what you say, your athletic future could be in jeopardy. Always think long and carefully about sharing your opinions over the web, as they could have serious repercussions. People lose their jobs daily over inflammatory posts or pictures, and it’s often because they didn’t stop to think for a second about what their boss might think before they hit the share button.
The second problem is that young people often say or do inappropriate things. It’s part of growing up, amidst the desire to become an adult. You begin to have opinions on all sorts of topics, and while saying something stupid to a couple friends might be met with a few laughs, putting it on the Internet for everyone and their mother to see is a very bad idea. The same goes for things like underage drinking. Of course it’s illegal and you shouldn’t be doing it at all. But if you do decide to partake, the last thing you should be doing is posting pictures of yourself holding a drink for all the world to see. Remember, future coaches want to learn all they can about your character and personality. They will very likely take a look at your various social media accounts. Do you think they want to see you partying it up on Friday night?
Social media pressure is heightened for high schoolers because it boils down to some sort of popularity contest. It feels good to get followers and likes, and it makes you feel like the world cares about you. Talented student-athletes are often very popular, and they have tons of followers, especially if they gain national attention as top recruits. Realize that every one of these followers will see your post, even people you’ve never met. Understand that Instagram posts set to public can be seen by anyone in the world, and that in posting to the site you give up any rights to the photos, meaning that anyone can embed your photos and use it at their freewill. What you choose to share with the world matters greatly, and has the potential to ruin any hopes at playing your sport in college.
Therefore, take great caution when using social media. Reserve your posts for positive messages and things that inspire hope. Don’t use it as a political platform or to show off your reckless ways. Keep potentially inflammatory opinions and actions to yourself. Additionally, be sure to follow Recruiting Realities on social media for tips and suggestions on how to make your college recruitment process a success.