Otsego volleyball coach looks to teach life lessons about social media to players
OTSEGO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A lapse in judgment--a picture was posted to Snapchat of an all-star team from Virginia making obscene hand gestures.
And it got them booted from the Junior League World Series.
Some parents say the league's decision was too harsh, but many school districts are using it as an example for their student athletes about responsible social media use.
That includes Otsego Public Schools.
Newschannel 3 spoke with the varsity volleyball coach, who is using this case as a teaching tool for her players.
Coach Dani Littel says she considers her players family, and wants to see them succeed in life after high school.
In a time when social media is a way of life for so many teenagers, Littel is telling them one mistake can cost them more than just a championship game.
Littel is a passionate volleyball coach at Otsego High School, who is taking responsibility for what her players do on and off the court.
"I love volleyball, I love winning, but that's secondary to me; I'm trying to raise and mold classy young adults," she said.
Littel is a new coach at Otsego, and says she plans to keep a strict eye on what her players post to social media.
She worries a bad decision could cost them a scholarship.
"I felt like it was really important for these girls to kind of understand we will be monitoring their social media and it does matter," Littel said.
Her focus on the issue follows a case out of Virginia where a little league softball team was disqualified from a championship game after players posted a photo to Snapchat showing their middle fingers to the camera.
Coach Littel's players are taking their social media seriously.
"You've got to be careful because you never know what can happen with it," said Otsego senior Ellie Bronkema.
Bronkema wants to play volleyball in college, just like her sister.
Coach Littel believes high school teams should be subject to the same punishment as the little league team in Virginia, should the same situation occur.
"If the magnitude of the post is big enough to warrant consequences, I think they should because I think it's important to teach kids," she said.
Social media experts suggest that parents talk with their children about privacy settings on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, and to never forget that posts and pictures aren't always completely gone when you delete them.