Managing your online reputation as a sports celebrity.
Social media is a great way for professional athletes to connect with their fans and supporters. They can also use social media to help drive social change, like advocating to #EndBullying and encouraging their followers to sign the TELUS Wise Digital Pledge. We interviewed Trevor Harris, starting quarterback for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, on what his online reputation and digital footprint mean to him and how he responds to cyberbullying in today’s digital world.
How do you manage your online reputation?
I do this by thinking through what I read, watch, and post. You have to understand that everything you put out there can come back to bite you, even if it’s years down the road. It is something that we need to be very careful of in this day and age. When you go get a job in the real world, your employer will look through these types of things!
What does your digital footprint mean to you?
It means a lot to me because you are what you search, comment, like, and scroll through. It is your online reputation. Similar to what you do and how you act during your daily activities, the content of your digital footprint says a lot about your character.
Earlier this year, TELUS launched an #EndBullying campaign to help drive awareness of cyberbullying and the enormous, negative impact it has on youth today. We asked Trevor about his experience with cruel behaviour online and how it has made an impact on him.
Have you ever experienced cyberbullying?
I do experience cyberbullying! As an athlete, people have an opinion on my job every week and it is easy for them to take that opinion online. It stretches to immaturity in forms of people telling me how bad of a person, husband, family member I am and even telling me to quit football, harm myself, etc. It is something that can easily weigh on you if you let it.
How would you respond to cyberbullying?
I usually would NOT respond because that is just what these “computer screen tough guys” want you to do. We can’t wrap ourselves up in the opinions of people that don’t truly know who we are. I don’t let what I do define who I am. It is also a great time to think about perspective and knowing if the opinion of such negative people should matter. Typically the answer is “no” because a lot of the time, people are negative online and it can be a reflection of themselves.
The term “screen time” has become a buzzword that often sparks conversation and debate around the importance of balancing the time we spend online and the time we spend away from our devices.
What do you do to balance healthy screen time?
I do this by not ALWAYS having my phone on me. I try and maintain being present with the people that I am around. When I am home, I want my family to know that they are more important than me looking at my phone.
What advice do you have for youth growing up in an online world?
Do not put your identity in the opinions of others that have negative things to say. I would also limit the amount of time you allow yourself to be online. Use technology as a positive resource and protect your ears and eyes from the bad things that come with online activity. Just like a scalpel can be used as a weapon in the wrong hands, but can also save a life in the hands of a surgeon… an online world can be helpful and useful for people that use it right but can also be a very bad thing, if you let it be.