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Mendon H.S. Students are asked to “Pause Before you Post” on Social Media

Scott Fitch can still recall the moment about eight years ago when a college basketball recruiter told him he was not going to continue recruiting one of his star athletes at at local high school where Fitch was the head boys’ basketball. Fitch was puzzled. This student was a great basketball player and got good grades. The reason, the student’s content on his social media account. Fitch Googled his student and what he found was “not the kid I knew at all.”

Fitch shared this story with a packed auditorium of Mendon High School students, then went on to read some actual tweets and posts from his former players discussing the potentially harmful nature and consequences that online comments can have. Fitch has spoken to students all across the country on the importance of their social media impact and digital footprint. He shared other stories, of students posting photos from parties, inappropriate photos being circulated, and the cyberbullying that lead to the death of his player’s sister.

He also dove into explaining how social media platforms make money by advertising, algorithms, and selling user data. The average teen spends nine hours on their phones. Social media is made to be addicting. He asked students to pause before they post, and encourages them to control their social impact by posting positive stuff because what they post can have a life of its own and once it is out there it is hard to control. Whether it is losing out on a potential opportunity to play college basketball, not getting hired for a job, or getting in trouble with the law, he reinforces the idea that what they post on social media has real life consequences, “your post’s matter. Your posts impact someone.”

The presentation concluded with a challenge: write thank you cards to someone who positively influenced their life, and with words of warning, “don’t let the hate creep in. Keep Mendon great.”

Scott Fitch stands in front of a projection screen discussing cyberbulling