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Social Media Matters

by Stacie ~ January 12th, 2016. Filed under: Sports Parenting, Stacie's Thoughts, To: Softball Players, Youth Softball.

This is not a new topic. Three years ago I wrote my first article about social media for athletes. About a year and a half ago, we touched upon this topic again.

Today, I’m writing for two reasons…

1. To give you yet another heads up about social media (see image below).

social media for athletes
ALWAYS conduct yourself with integrity. Offline, online … it’s ALL real life!

 

2. To provide food for thought for sports parents and coaches.

One of the best ways to help kids treat social media like the very REAL part of life it is, is for you and I to treat it as such.

Um, okay Stacie, what does that even mean?

How many times have you heard things like, “These kids now days, they don’t even know how to have real conversations. All they do is hide behind a keyboard.”

Is that entirely inaccurate? Maybe not.

Is it true?

Well, if it is, then it implies that anything done from “behind a keyboard” ISN’T real.

Is it any wonder, with this kind of mentality running rampant in society, that kids don’t take what they post on social media seriously? We’ve all but told them it’s not “real.”

That, as far as we’re concerned, it “doesn’t really count.”

Then we suddenly expect them to “get” that they *should* be taking social media seriously.

Really? Since when? This whole time “everyone’s” been knocking stuff done from “behind the keyboard.” But now it’s supposed to be “important???”

Can you see how we might be creating some of the confusion surrounding the seriousness and realness of digital communication?

So what can be done?

Well, we can start taking social media and mobile communication seriously. As in, if you know of a kid who wants to communicate with you that way, do it. Acknowledge it as REAL communication. Not any better or worse that in person communication, just a different form of communication.

Take it just as seriously as you would face to face conversation with them.

But it’s not face to face.

I know. However, as long as you value face to face OVER digital communication, you reinforce the idea that digital communication isn’t “that important.”

I think we can both agree that, when it’s costing kids tens of thousands of dollars of higher education, thereby altering the course of their future, it’s pretty damn important.

Perhaps, if we start treating it that way from the get go, so will they. Kids do tend to learn what they live. If digital communication “doesn’t count” in the reality they live with you, you may be setting up challenges for yourself, and the kids in your life, down the road.

Instead, work WITH them to learn about the power of social media and how to use it for you instead of letting it become a detriment to you. Let them make their mistakes while you’re around to address them and help them do better (Waiting until junior or senior year may not be the best time to start doing this. Start early!). Have discussions about the things you see on social media.

Don’t allow their friends or other random kids, who may have no interest in your child’s goals and dreams, to be the ones who teach your child about “acceptable” ways to use social media. Be a great example of how to use social media responsibly. Embrace the opportunity to help your child learn how to navigate one of the most powerful communication tools of our time. Are you up for it?

If you don’t do it, someone else will. Be the one 🙂

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About the Author
Stacie Mahoe shares lessons learned from decades around the diamond. Enjoy her unique insights on softball and life from years as a player, coach, parent, and fan of the game.

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