We currently live in an age where technology allows access to friends and family through social networks which makes it possible to share with everyone immediately what you’re doing, where you are and what your thoughts are on things and on many levels it is a great way of keeping up with what’s going on with friends and family. What is potentially concerning about the use of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Instagram and other social networking sites by people involved in basketball is that these sites may be used to bully, criticise or make racist or sexist remarks about other participants. This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable in basketball and will not be tolerated.
These networks can create situations that can bring both the user and those who read it down. Voicing opinions that bring disrespect to others in a public forum can only be harmful to those who write those opinions and to those they are directed at.
In recent times there is much talk in the media about “cyber bullying”. This phenomena has proven to be just as hurtful as any other form of traditional bullying. And bullying isn’t always about the bigger kid picking on the smaller kid. Behind a computer screen, it is easy for that little kid to feel empowered and say something negative and/or derorgative about someone bigger than them. Having an opinion about others is fine and in no way should anyone be restricted what they say – as long as it comes with the respect of others. What is concerning with these social pages is how these kinds of comments can be perceived. For example, if someone has had a negative experience in a game or perhaps there is a clash of personalities and they decide to air their opinion in a negative light and without recourse for the person they are directing their opinions at, then they expose themselves to the ramifications that come with that. Many of the remarks are being made with the posters believing that because those remarks can only be seen by people they have accepted as friends on their pages, they will not be made public. However, fortunately, there are enough decent people around who bring this behaviour to the attention of the Club and League. This occurs even when the posts are made by friends because those people recognise the harm and distress this sort of behaviour can generate.
There are mechanisms in place for Referees to deal with unacceptable behaviour from players and coaches during games. But it is a different ball game when it comes to the public and the media or when criticism and derogatory comments comes from within your own ranks, it becomes divisionary and disruptive and only serves to erode the teamwork that is so important.
There is a basic fundamental that transcends any rules and regulations that are in place – respect for others. Respect comes in all forms, including expressing an opinion that others might not agree with but is expressed with respect for those it is directed at. If this fundamental aspect of life is not adhered to, then they face any ramifications which may arise as a result of their actions.
The following Social Media Code of Conduct should be followed:
SOCIAL MEDIA CODE OF CONDUCT
- Social media can be fun, helpful and dangerous. Comments, notes and photos posted on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and on-line forums are usually constructive and positive. But negative comments and images, bullying, criticism and sexist remarks can be dangerous and harmful to people’s well being and reputation and the image of the sport.
- Do not use social media to be critical of teammates, coaches, officials, administrators, volunteers or spectators. Any comment you make on social media sites has the potential to be seen by millions of people which great if comments are positive, but it can be extremely negative and harmful if critical of people. Before you post a comment on social media ask yourself this: would I want millions of people to read something negative about me?
- Always assume the person you are talking/writing about will see what has been said/written. Just because an online chat is between two people does not mean it remains private and nobody else can see it. Social media is accessible to everyone. Even if the person you are discussing does not see it, somebody else may. The result is you rather than the person you are ridiculing will be seen in a negative light.
- Use social media as a positive outlet to promote all things basketball. Posting results and acknowledging individual and team performances on social media makes many people aware of team and individual achievements. This can have a positive effect for many people and should be used, encouraged and embraced wherever and whenever possible.
- Always show respect. When using social media, show the same respect and regard for people that you would show and are expected to show when playing, officiating or attending a basketball game.
- When in doubt leave it out. If you are unsure if what you are posting on social media is appropriate then it is best not to post it.
- Do not tolerate or condone poor social media behaviour or actions. If you are aware of or observe poor social media behaviour or actions, do not accept it. There is no place for it in basketball and it will not be condoned. You should remind people of their responsibilities when using social media and warn that action can be taken against them. In the instance of minors breaching the code of conduct, alert their parents to the situation. If you believe the breach is serious, report it to team, club or association officials.
- Be aware that your actions on social media may have serious consequences. Negative comments and images, bullying, criticism, inappropriate photos and sexist remarks do not only impact negatively on the people they are about. If you are found to have acted improperly on social media regarding a basketball related matter, you are liable to disciplinary proceedings and may be required to face a Tribunal hearing to explain your actions.
- Consider social media to be your personal brand. Your Internet presence fuels any perception of your personal brand – whether you like it or not. Does your social media identity match your real identity? Be mindful of the content of photos, status updates, Tweets. Are they truly reflective of who you are and how you want people to see you?