One girls’ softball championship dreams ended with a Snapchat.
Thanks to a singular Snapchat the team, composed of girls ages 12-15, got disqualified from the Junior League World Series. As the Atlee, Virginia girls’ Little League softball team would swiftly learn, actions have consequences. And, social media can be a force of good or for causing trouble.
The offending Snapchat featured the girls giving the middle finger to their opponents. The post came after Atlee defeated the team from Kirkland. Chris Mardigian, one of Atlee’s three coaches, said the players on the opposing team harassed his girls all game long. Needless to say, despite the circumstances no one would consider this post good sportsmanship.
However, the manager of the Atlee team, Scott Currie, immediately deleted the Snapchat post. He also had his team apologize to the girls from Kirkland in-person, and right away. And while the other team accepted the apology, Little League officials decided just hours before the championship game to bar Atlee from playing. All for one little Snapchat.
— HanoverSports RVASN (@hanoversports) August 5, 2017
Team’s Snapchat Violated Leagues Social Media Standards
The official statement said the organization removed the Atlee team for “violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants.”
Atlee manager Currie voiced his disagreement with the decision. He said team discipline typically gets handled by coaches and that the punishment was far too severe.
The incident serves as a good reminder to teens (and parents) that using social media is a big responsibility.
“These girls had a softball coach who did a great job teaching them how to play the game of softball…But what about the game of social media that is played in front of billions of people—who is coaching them to win there?” social media coach Laura Tierney told TODAY Parents.
Who Looks At Teens’ Social Media Posts?
And it’s not just nervous parents who want their kids to be wary of what they post online. According to a report from US News and World Report, more than one-third of college admissions officers have scoped out an applicant on social media to see what they’ve put online.
“I find that if parents would be more interested and share their interests online, like, ‘Hey, you know I just signed up for this Snapchat, can you help me with it?’ The child is going to be more apt to be like, ‘Here, let me show you, Mom,'” parent and family Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff told US News and World Report. “Then you are going to be able to learn more about what your child is doing too.”
Social media safety means more than just setting up content blockers and creating ground rules. You should also know what your child’s habits are on social media and have a frank discussion about who can really see what they post. Remind them about how no matter how private they think their Facebook page is, someone can likely find their posts.
Using Social Media In A Positive Way
Also, tell teens how to use social media positively. For example, students can use social media to connect to others with similar interests, service opportunities and much more.
“I tell students and athletes to think of social media as the biggest game in the world, one that can be won or lost,” said Tierney, who is also founder of The Social Institute. “And in a world where we get one reputation, it’s never been more important to win. Winning means strengthening your reputation, encouraging and lifting up others, seizing collegiate and career opportunities. Teens today can use social media positively to be the best version of themselves — one post, one text, one snap at a time.”