There are names and faces to go with each cautionary tale.
Josh Hader’s bigoted tweets from high schoolemerged during the MLB All-Star Game.
Burner Twitter accounts linked to Bryan Colangelo led to his resignation as the 76ers’ general manager.
Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones tweeted, “we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS.”
So many of the social media gaffes that left prominent sports figures permanently exposed have gone viral in recent years. The next generation has been clicking on those awkward moments, leading experts to believe that student-athletes coming of age right now are less likely to repeat sins of the past.
“Some of the problems are still there,” said Bryce Ford, a three-sport athlete from John Jay-Cross River who’s heading to Fairfield University to play lacrosse. “You don’t see it as much because it’s more private now.”
The social media landscape changes almost weekly.
A survey conducted last spring by Pew Research Center, a non-partisan fact tank, found that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone.
Most children born in the last five years have had a social media presence since conception.
“When a mom is posting her sonogram pictures on Instagram, they’re already out there, they’re already online,” said professor Regina Luttrell, the interim director of the Graduate Program in Public Relations at Syracuse University and the author of ‘Social Media: How to Engage, Share and Connect.’
“By the time kids turn 13, 14, 15, they’ve lived an entire life online,” Luttrell added. “This is why they have this fear of living offline. They’ve never not lived offline. They’ve never not been connected.”
Kids in general have become smarter and sneakier in how they utilize the most popular social media platforms. But student-athletes appear to be considering the consequences.