Student athletes are no different than other teens and young adults in their social media use participation. However, they may arguably be held to a higher standard given their visibility and how reputationally and fiscally important sports and athletics are to most schools and universities. While most student athletes are doing the right things online – which should be commended and emulated – some have engaged in inappropriate, unethical, and even illegal conduct directly or indirectly related to their online communications. This cannot happen. Student athletes must not only pause before they post, and deeply consider the implications of what they are about to share, but viscerally understand how other promising young athletes have sabotaged their hopes and dreams due to intentional or careless social media interactions. Moreover, they must learn the best ways and practices to leverage their online connections and actions to reflect most favorably upon themselves and the schools which they proudly represent.
Key issues discussed: online reputation management; online integrity; using social media to attract positive attention; social media overuse and addiction; sexting; digital dating abuse; revenge porn; cyberbullying; catfishing
Delivered in a positive, culturally-relevant, and hopeful tone with the use of flash polling, videos, and case studies, this presentation will help student athletes:
- Gauge their familiarity with the latest and greatest apps, sites, and networks being used by their peers
- Consider the differences between “public” and “private” profiles, accounts, and online activities
- Learn from the experiences of student athletes just like them who have undermined their future in sports because of their choices
- Create and maintain a positive digital reputation, and understand who and what they represent at all times
- Foster a culture of wisdom and discretion in their social media posts and related interactions with teammates, coaches, and beyond
- Know how to get help when facing cyberbullying, digital dating violence, sexting, revenge porn, catfishing, or another victimization
- Avoid all perceptions of impropriety in their texting and social media interactions
- Recognize how online decisions can shut or open doors of opportunity for them, both during and after their years in sports
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