Oh, the things that pop up on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterrest, Ask.fm, Twitter, and every other little corner of the internets that kids and teenagers invade. And we ranted, the same old warning to kids and parents that they hear echoed from nearly every corner of the universe! “Have some self-respect,” we shouted!
Look, we get it. You are trying to find yourself, find your niche in life, figure out who you are.
But the easiest way to do this, to figure out WHO YOU ARE – is to realize WHO you are NOT first.
And most of you are NOT that girl that you pretend to be in social media land.
Being a young girl is hard enough. Girls can be mean. And when you post garbage up there for everyone to see, even if it makes you feel ‘cool’ in the moment – the reality is you are opening yourself up to a lot of labels and judgment from your peers.
In other words, you can go crying and getting mad because your school mates think you are a ‘slut’ after you post half-naked pictures and start guy drama online with other girls on social media. Even if the accusations and reputation is NOT true – WHO is responsible for putting that ‘stuff’ out there? You, perhaps?
The thing is – that our wishes for children, teens and young adults to use their common sense online isn’t being done under the veil of judgment. We get it. All the adults in your life right now – from your coaches and parents to your teachers and principals were young once too. We too did stupid things, things we couldn’t take back, made bad choices, and embarrassed ourselves.
The difference is our errors in life aren’t etched into the forever-ness of the internet, where people from all over this entire huge world could see and make assumptions and judgments and accusations about what kind of people we are because of something we said, or some picture we posted. (All the adults reading this are collectively sighing with relief for that) See, we took Polaroids (go ahead kids and Google it) as selfies and could burn them later and they were gone, gone gone – forever.
The youth of today is not that lucky. And while no one should, and we at SIFG don’t judge or blame you young girls and boys for what you are posting, it is our responsibility to help you grow up into responsible, respectful ‘older’ people who will become proactive and useful adults one day.
See, the last thing we EVER want, is for you to show up at an interview with the college of your choice on the heels of a softball scholarship, only to have the interviewer have your half-naked, misspelled, cursing ranty meltdown post from 7th grade etched into their mind as they are looking at you and trying to decide if you – or this other girl – should get the spot. Chances are if the other girl doesn’t have any skeletons in her closet that could change the way people PERCEIVE her, she is going to win.
All because of one bad choice. Not fair, right? But that is the reality of the world YOU live in. And Life is not fair. Never has been, never will be. Deal with it.
Think you can delete something you posted and its gone?
Nope – the memory and search ability of the internet makes the memory of an elephant look small. The internet never forgets, never forgives, and NEVER EVER EVER deletes anything. Just because YOU don’t see it on your profile anymore – doesn’t mean that it is NOT there. It is.
We checked with a reputable high school softball coach, and she said that high schools do have a social media policy. And that yes, she DOES check to make sure that her athletes are maintaining an appropriate code of conduct, and that YES – a child can be removed from the team is something is posted, especially if the post if illegal. If she sees a post that is disrespectful or inappropriate – she talks to her player about it. See, when you are on a TEAM – you are representing not just yourself. But your team, your coach, your school, your community, your organization. So what you put out there becomes EVERYONE’s business, fair or not?
We also checked with a high level travel tournament agency in the Atlanta area who recruits very young girls, and gives them amazing opportunities to use their skills on the field for educational gain. And they too, have a social media policy – that parents and players must sign. And they are actually encouraged to refrain from social media engagements at all. If they have paid coaches, and a staff working to get you a scholarship or further your career – the last thing they have time for is one bad decision to be posted online, for all the world to see, that will likely follow you around for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Essentially, it’s a deal breaker.
Colleges are looking at your online media profile as well. So are other parents, and pretty much anyone else who has an interest in you in any way.
Additionally, even if it’s not fair, or YOU think it shouldn’t matter (IT STILL DOES) and you can bet that when you try out for a team – the other girls on the team and likely the coaches are checking you out on social media to see if you are a good fit for the team as well. Just like prospective employers do to adults.
And – we are taking this one step further. While parents and adult should check and monitor – kids need to realize that this access to the internet, through phones and computers etc. is a PRIVELAGE. No law says it has to be provided for you. It comes with responsibility and maturity. And really, you kids are at a huge disadvantage. When your parents and teachers and coaches were kids, we could be sneaky, and sly, and coy in easier ways WITHOUT getting caught. You kids today, no matter how sneaky and creative you think you are – cannot HIDE anything. People can literally track you down, and see everything you do, and be alerted every time you breathe online – whether you know it or not.
Our advice – if you love softball AND social media – then realize that one DOES affect the other.