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Parents Have to Teach Student-Athletes about the Dangers of Social Media

It just seems like an endless comedy of errors….but sadly, there’s nothing funny about what’s going on. Consider these recent cases:

o A top HS football player puts out a variety of offensive sexual and racial comments on his Twitter account. Within days, he’s expelled from his HS, and top college recruiters like the Univ of Michigan say, “Thanks, but we’re going to rescind our college scholarship offer.”

o A HS football coach from Maine says that he “accidentally” posted a nude photo of himself online. He quickly resigned from his post before he could be fired by the school board.

o A youth baseball league official uses the “n” word on a web posting, and he’s immediately suspended. His defense? He says he wasn’t even aware of what he had written.

My colleague Doug Abrams is one of the nation’s leading experts of the dangers of cyberspace. He’ll be the first to tell you that we’re just not doing a good enough job of educating our kids (or ourselves, for that matter) about always thinking TWICE before you post something on Twitter, Facebook, etc. 

The simple truth is that once it’s online, everybody can see it – friends, relatives, colleagues, college recruiters, bosses, you name it. And once it’s out there for everyone to see, it sure is hard to stop your thoughts or photos from going viral.

And here’s the sad part…all of these incidents could have easily been prevented. All it took was a little thought to say to oneself, “If I post this, could it someday come back to haunt me?”