How to help student athletes navigate social media

Participation in school sports benefits student athletes in many ways. Competitive sports teach students how to cope with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, while providing first-hand experiences that underscore the value of working together with others in pursuit of a common goal. Student athletes often apply these lessons long after they have retired and benefit from their competitive sporting experiences for a lifetime. Athletes of all ages can relate to some of the shared experiences of competitive sports. At some point, all competitive athletes have to learn to deal with losing. But modern student athletes are struggling with a relatively new phenomenon that didn’t exist when their parents played sports: social media. Social media can connect people in ways previously unimagined, but it also poses unique challenges for modern student athletes. Parents and coaches can help student-athletes navigate social media so it doesn’t adversely affect their school-sports experiences. Consider closing accounts during the season. In recent years, numerous professional athletes have bravely acknowledged their mental health issues. For example, NBA All-Star Kevin Love has shared stories about his struggles with anxiety and depression. These issues confuse many athletes and can be exacerbated by negative comments on social media, especially after a loss. Student athletes can avoid the negative aspects of social media by avoiding it during the season. Emphasize the potential impact of athletes’ own comments on social media. Not only negative thoughts from angry viewers can turn social media into a minefield for young athletes. Student athletes’ own negative comments can also have some lasting and unfortunate repercussions. A 2017 survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars found that 11 percent of respondents said they denied admission to an applicant because of social media content. In addition, another 7 percent said they revoked offers because of social media content. Fair or unfair, these decisions show the very real impact that social media comments can have on young people’s futures. Sport often elicits very emotional responses, and parents and coaches can urge student-athletes to avoid negative or knee-jerk reactions about opponents, officials, or even games they are not involved in via social media. Such a comment could have unforeseen consequences that will adversely affect student athletes for years to come. Highlight how student athletes can use social media to their advantage. Social media can be a minefield, but it also offers opportunities for student athletes to present themselves in a positive light. Parents and coaches can highlight how student-athletes can use social media to show good sportsmanship. Win or lose, challenge athletes to praise their teammates and opponents after a big game. Positive comments on social media can be just as beneficial to student athletes as negative comments can be detrimental. Student-athletes who showcase their maturity and athleticism on social media can improve their standing with college coaches and admissions officers. Gym students who learn how to successfully navigate social media may reap the rewards of those efforts for years to come.

READ :  China netizens, censors wrestle for narrative amid COVID protests | Social Media News