By Minnesota Hockey
“You have to harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness good, block bad.”
For those that love hockey, golf and humor, you can probably place this quote as coming from the movie Happy Gilmore. While in general the movie shows a poor example of sports, this quote is a pretty good, albeit simple, approach for athletes trying to cope with high pressure situations. It is an even better approach when applied to social media.
Social media, in many instances, has come under siege for its negative effects. When you look at the mishaps that have become major headlines, it is easy to understand why. If well educated adults and celebrities accustomed to being in the spotlight can make such errors in a public forum, how can we expect less experienced and impulse driven teenagers to make good decisions in those situations?
Don’t forget the positive benefits though.
Think about that photo you took and shared instantly of your son or daughter’s team moments after they won the state championship. Remember that proud feeling you got seeing your young athlete post an insightful and inspirational quote. Simply having the ability to easily and quickly communicate with a group of interested followers can give you an appreciation for what social media offers.
The challenge, like the quote indicates, is to take advantage of the positives while reducing or eliminating the potential for negative outcomes. The good news is there are tools available to help you do that.
The digital media policy included in USA Hockey’s SafeSport program is a great place to start. Plus, here are 12 more specific tips to help guide you and your kids’ social media use.
6 Guidelines for Everyone
- Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say in a nationally televised press conference.
- Whether you like it or not, your posts, tweets, followers and friends reflect on you, your team, your program and even your community.
- Don’t accept friend or follow requests from people you don’t know.
- Take advantage of security settings that prevent anyone other than your friends from seeing your social media activity.
- Don’t post when emotional.
- If you have any hesitation on a post, that is your conscience telling you not to post it. Listen and don’t post it.
6 Tips for Helping Your Child with Social Media
- Know about any social media accounts your child maintains and monitor it.
- Create a scale of possible disciplinary action based on the nature of the misuse.
- Provide guidance such as the tips above on proper use.
- If you have social media accounts, model proper behavior for your child.
- Don’t be afraid to seek out additional help if you aren’t sure how to handle a situation.
- Set times when social media is off limits (ex: during school, in locker rooms, etc.)