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Coaches, kids, and social media

02/03/2016, 8:00am CST
By Josh Opiola, Risk Management Director

As parents, we’ve all had to resist the urge to chuck our kid’s phone out a window at some point.

Between text messaging, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook, they’re more “connected” than ever (e.g. barely recognizable without a phone pressed to their face).

Luckily, it’s all just innocuous fun most of the time. However, there is a darker side to texting and social media.

In many news stories involving cases of abuse, you’ll notice it’s social media or text messaging being used to solicit the minor. The prevalence of this common denominator in player solicitation and abuse, by itself, is reason enough to not allow any texting/messaging/social media exchanges between the coaches and the kids/athletes.

Allowing coaches to contact minors through these methods is asking for trouble.

If a coach can not discuss the matter publicly, it needs to be brought to the parents’ attention immediately. Be sure to talk to your kids about proper contact on social media.


Here are some social media tips that you or any organization can implement:

  • ZERO one-on-one private online/text communication (Without parent/guardian included in the message)
  • Never assume anything on the web is private
  • Your coach is not your child's friend. They are the COACH
  • Anything you put on the internet or text is forever
  • If the coach can’t tell you (Parent/Guardian) something directly about your child, it should never be said privately to them 

Having strict contact rules in place, in addition to educating parents and players to know that such contact is inappropriate and must be reported immediately, is key to mitigating any potential problems that may arise. All coaches who fail to comply or say they “always” have connected with players in this manner should be removed.


KEEP KIDS SAFE

Josh and his team are available to answer your questions and provide an expert, objective review of your organization's current risk management program.

Schedule time to chat with a risk management expert right here.

 
 

 

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    Josh Opiola

    About the Author

    Josh Opiola is Risk Management Director at Sport Ngin. He has been involved in youth sports for over 20 years at some capacity and is currently the President of St. Michael Albertville Youth Hockey Association. Josh has also worked with USA Hockey, most of the State USA Hockey Affiliates, Little League Baseball, AAU, Babe Ruth, Minnesota Youth Soccer, Colorado Youth Soccer, Illinois, and countless other organizations to develop Player Safety programs.

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    Tag(s): News