There is no doubt that student-athletes are getting into trouble on social media. Happens every day. Not just on social media, but it happens all over the internet. The internet has created immediate access to a lot of things these days that we never had as “kids.” You can sit at home and take a tour of the titanic! You can sit at your house and surf a virtual wave. You can sit at your house and gamble now days!
A few years ago I surveyed 222 high school (91% of correspondents) and college (9%) coaches nationwide about the use of Social Media in their own lives, in their schools, and in their sports programs.
One question that I asked on this survey was: Has your program ever disciplined a student-athlete because of what they posted on Social Media?
43% of coaches nationwide reported that YES, they have disciplined student-athletes under their direction for what they observed on various Social Media platforms. I broke down all of their typed responses in to categories, to see what the most common sorts of behaviors have been getting student-athletes in trouble online. What is it that kids are doing on Social Media to deserve punishment.
The only thing that surprised me about the results of my research was that alcohol and drugs did not rank higher. Obviously, the kids still have some sort of filter. I figured that the “Drugs/Alcohol” category would have finished above the “Talking Trash” category, but I was wrong.
I broke down the “General Inappropriate Content” down in to three subcategories. This is a very vague category. About a dozen coaches just wrote “Inappropriate content.” This could have been drugs/alcohol, or nudity, or talking trash. Too hard to know. Obviously, not a totally scientific survey, but I still think that this survey gives us some insight, and should give us some ideas of how to train and teach our kids about their digital citizenship. The three subcategories you will see are: general (these are coaches who just wrote “Inappropriate Content,” Language and Lying.
I have selected some quotes and stories for each of these categories. I have not changed the words at all. These are directly from the coaches who completed the survey.
Top 5 Issues Getting Student-Athletes In Trouble On Social Media
1. General Inappropriate Content: 29%
A. General – 46%
“Inappropriate posts while on a school activity.”
Student posted a fight between teammates on Instagram.
“Hoping a fence to ditch school.”
“We had a kid sit out a quarter because of an email he sent to the commissioner of our activities association.”