Athletics in the digital age

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By Brian Jennings – Staff Writer Bristol Observer

You just won a big game with your team and one way to commemorate the victory is by posting a video of the celebration on your Instagram or Snapchat. Should you post?

You just lost a big game with your team and one way of venting is to post your frustrations on Facebook or Twitter. Should you post? Maybe you should take this play off.

The Bristol Sports Hall of Fame hosted “The Blessings and Curses of Social Media by Teens” seminar at Bristol Central High School on Wednesday, Mar. 8. The seminar was free of charge and open to all middle school and high school students and their parents.

Assistant athletic director for communication and media services at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Tom Pincince, gave the presentation. Pincince is an experienced public speaker and has been serving as the official spokesperson for Division I athletics for the past 17 years.

As a former Division II college athlete and father of three daughters in middle school and elementary school, Pincince has dealt directly with student-athletes regarding the dangers of social media. He has spoken at about 50 schools in Connecticut thus far with the goal of reaching out to high school and middle school students and student-athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators in the state to try and educate them on the dangers of social media, and how they can use social media to their advantage.

Pincince said that he reached out to almost every high school in the state to try and pitch his message. He’s even gone to speak at the CIAC Leadership Conference in front of about 1,200 people and 83 schools.

When Pincince spoke to student-athletes at that conference, a member of the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame was there and wanted put on the same presentation for students from the Bristol schools and surrounding towns.

“I was excited about the turnout,” said Pincince. “I’ve done this where two people have shown up before. When it’s mandatory for students to go to, it’s one thing. When it’s optional and people choose to come and learn about it, that’s another.”

The dangers of social media to middle school and high school students are endless and can be traced back to how students aren’t fully aware of how much information they are putting out in the social media world, and how quickly it can spread. Presentation topics included the following: good decision making, social media statistics, what you know and don’t know about privacy settings, social media do’s and don’ts, and how positive social media presence is important.

“It’s purely selfish on my end,” said Pincince. “I did it so that I can learn as much as I can about this stuff to help my kids make the best decisions they can when it comes to social media. I’m not telling them not to use it, but hopefully I will help them use it safer and more effectively.”

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