Most of us are pretty good about being “good sports” when it comes to how we act towards people’s faces. We’ll smile at the parents of our child’s opponents and not cheer too loudly when our team gets one over on the other side. And, most of us teach our kids to be good sports too- we’ll have them all shake hands after a game or even say congratulations to the winner.
Unfortunately, though, a lot of us don’t conduct ourselves the same way in the online world, such as on message boards and social media sites, and that sends a horrible message to our youngsters, not to mention the fact that it can affect athletic performance, morale, coaches, other parents, and the sport in general.
One type of online behavior that is particularly disturbing is when parents post bad things about other children online. Whether they’re voicing their opinions via Facebook, Twitter, or anything in between, negative comments, hurtful videos, threats, and other online bad behavior is unacceptable. There is never any good reason to shame, ridicule, or hurt a child.
The problem has gotten so bad that some sports teams have instituted social media policies. While these policies vary by creator, most stipulate that any parent who posts negative comments about children online is banned from games and may even have their children banned from games as well.
If your child’s coach has already handed out and had you sign a social media policy, that’s a good start. And if not, it’s a good idea to broach the topic with him or her, especially if there are already negative comments posted or online bullying going on.
And, even if you’re not guilty of positive negative things online, also make sure that you’re not suffering from “Facebook envy.” If you find yourself glancing at other parents’ pages and feeling jealous of their kids and their sports performance, you’re just asking for resentment to brew and grow. Get your own attitude in check even if it means stepping away from the computer for a while, and you’ll notice positive changes in yourself, which, at the end of the day, is all you can control.