Last week the 2016 March madness came to an end as Villanova won the NCAA men’s basketball championship final in an epic game. This spring, many of these kids, or I should say young men, will be moving on from their college and basketball careers. Most will be going into the job market and a few will be going into the NBA draft. As a farewell to his college basketball days as well as to his team, Duke freshman Brandon Ingram, wrote an incredible letter on the Player Tributes to say thank you and goodbye. The letter struck me not only because I am a HUGE college basketball fan (a diehard UVA Wahoo – and they beat three of the teams in the final four mix – just saying! But I digress…) but because this letter marked the culture and time that we live in with technology and social media. In the letter Ingram spoke of his recruiting visit to his home from Coach K and the other Duke coaches. He said that Coach K in the beginning of the meeting pulled out his iPhone and referenced Ingram’s Instagram account. Specifically a quote that Ingram had posted- “Stay Hungry and Stay Humble.” The rest of his visit with Coach K centered around this quote that he posted on Instagram.
Fortunately Ingram used Instagram in a positive way and the quote was one of the reasons he got his chance to play for Duke, a college basketball powerhouse. I reference this because it is a reminder that everyone today looks at social media and it can decide a young person’s fate. It affects getting in the college, an athletic scholarship or getting a job. Last year alone 50% of those who interviewed for jobs had their social media accounts checked by their potential employers- and that number is rising every year. 43% did not get a particular job based upon their social media accounts according to Careerbuilder.com.
Colleges also have too much on the line these days in protecting the integrity of their institutions. So regardless of your athletic talent, you are most likely not going to get the shot to play for a big time, respectable program if your social media accounts do not portray a positive image. As crazy or ridiculous as this may sound, it is a fact and how our culture has shifted. Parents have to step up and work to understand the world their children are living in. It is irresponsible not to because it can hurt your child. They can be hurt through cyberbullying, suffer from anxiety from feeling left out based upon posts from others, or feel inadequate because they did not get the “likes” that they wanted from their latest selfie. And these are minor, everyday issues that they deal with. They also could have received a snap from someone which made them feel uncomfortable and they do not know what to do about it.
There is so much that our children experience in their cyber worlds everyday that we will have no idea about unless we talk to them and become involved. It is our job as parents to communicate with them as to the consequences of their posts, snaps and comments and help guide them in their decision making.
Our children work hard and may dream of becoming another Brandon Ingram but they will never get the chance if they do something stupid online. The consequences will haunt them for a very long time. It will also haunt you as a parent if you did nothing to protect them.
#myremarkableself #protectourchildren #BrandonIngram