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Wildcats Star Shawn Redhage talks Social Media

Perth Wildcats power forward and eebudee Hero Shawn Redhage took time out to speak with us about how he uses social media in his life, including how he deals with online trolls and how he’d like to prepare his young kids for life in a social media world.

eebudee: What are you up to with your life and basketball career right now?

Shawn Redhage: Currently we’re in the pre-season of my 12th year with the Perth Wildcats, so looking forward to another year. When you get to this point in your career you enjoy the moments where you continue to keep playing. I’m just trying to improve and also appreciate my ability to still be playing basketball at an elite level.

eebudee: Can you tell us about your family?

Shawn Redhage: I’ve got a beautiful wife Gretchen. We’ve been married 13 years now, and two little ones – Hayley is 8 and Dylan is 5. They keep us pretty busy, and you know, they’re just starting to get into their own sports and activities, so it’s fun to see them kind of develop their interest and see them enjoying different things that I may not have experienced. Especially growing up in the US, you know Australian Rules football and netball; we definitely didn’t have any of that over in the US.

eebudee: What are your thoughts on kids using social media?

Shawn Redhage: I think social media is part of our lives now. There’s definitely a time and place for it, and as a parent there’s going to be a time when it’s going to come into your life and into your kids’ lives, and I guess, the longer you can hold it off, the better. But I think just accepting it and setting some ground rules about how it will be in your family is important.

I’ve been fortunate so far that it hasn’t come into play, as my kids are still pretty young. But as parents we’re aware of it and we even have some talks about. When the time comes we’ll hopefully deal with it in a positive matter.

eebudee: Do you use social media?

Shawn Redhage: I do have social media. I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account, and I kind of use it more as entertainment, you know, checking up to see what your friends have been up to or following interesting stories and keeping up to date with the news. I’m probably not an active Tweeter or even Facebook poster, but I do use it more as entertainment and I guess, keeping up more with my circle of friends and influencers.

eebudee: Many of the sports people we interview say they get negative and positive comments online about their performances. These negative comments are arguably a kind of bullying. Have you ever experienced cyber bullying?

Shawn Redhage: Yeah definitely, especially when you’re in the lime light as an athlete, there’s always going to be the positive and the negative. I guess if you’re going to be out there in the social media world and very active, you’re going to have to expect that.

I think its unfortunate, but I do view social media more as a positive thing and I think that’s what it was intended to be when it was created. But I think there is a lot of negativity that can come about in it, and I think it’s just a matter of learning to deal with that. I also think it’s not the real world in the sense that someone can really say anything they want at any point in these forums. There’s no repercussions so you’ve got to understand that.

It may just be one person upset and you’ve got 99 positives. Knowing that bullying may happen and trying not to let it affect you, as an athlete, is important for me. Especially when you’re trying to go out there and do your job, and not have any outside factors affect you too much.

eebudee: Do you have any advice for kids who have experienced cyber bullying?

Shawn Redhage: I think it says more about the person doing the bullying then it does about you. I think it’s never nice to have someone say something not positive about you, but if you flip it and put it in the perspective that it’s probably saying more about them, then it’s actually saying about you, then I think hopefully it won’t be as impactful as it should be.

In reality the people who are probably saying that in the background are not your friends. And if you have a good support system its very beneficial. But it’s sad that bullying does go on and I guess in my generation growing up, we didn’t have to deal with it from the social media perspective. I guess it’s become even tougher to be a kid these days.

eebudee: Any other thoughts on social media you’d like to share with our readers?

Shawn Redhage: I think social media can be a very positive tool. Used the right way it can be very positive, but if you are going to be in that space, it’s a matter of knowing there are going to be toms, there may be negativity, and hopefully that isn’t going to outshine the positives.

Get more insights from Aussie sporting Heroes

Our blog features regular interviews with eebudee Heroes, who share their knowledge and personal stories about social media.

You may also like to check out our website, which is a complete toolbox for young kids under 13, parents and other friends and family members who want to learn how to use social media in a safe and secure place. The website is in beta phase right now, and we’d love your feedback!

Head here to sign up!


Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett talks about her experience of cyber bullying

West Coast Fever and Australian Diamonds player, Caitlin Bassett, spoke with us about her experiences with cyber bullying and how she helps young kids tackle this surprisingly common problem.

Caitlin visits schools in WA, and speaks with kids ranging from year 4 to year 9 about social media and cyber bullying.

eebudee: What have you been up to?

Caitlin Bassett: At the moment I have just finished my season with the West Coast Fever. Unfortunately we didn’t make finals, but I guess the silver lining for that cloud is that I get a couple of extra weeks of Aussie Diamonds training, because we have 2 big tours coming up. I’ve just been training here in Perth with my other Aussie Diamonds teammates, and preparing for those 2 tests that are coming up.

eebudee: Do you have any tips for balancing life and social media?

Caitlin Bassett: I guess I’m terrible at saying no to people! That’s one of the best things I’ve learned. You sometimes get so caught up in making other people happy that you end up getting unhappy yourself. So this year, that has really been my focus.

I do have lots of things I’m interested in outside of netball. I love my animals, I love coffee and I try and make time for these each week – it sounds really silly – but if you’re just doing netball or study or work or uni or anything, it can become a little bit draining or a little bit frustrating and annoying at times.

So I like to keep a balance by making sure I’ve got other things outside of netball to really, I don’t know, have as an escape. It also means that if things aren’t going well at netball I can switch into uni mode or play with the animals or help out doing talks at schools around cyber bullying or stuff like that, and it really keeps me fresh when I step onto the netball court.

eebudee: What are your thoughts on social media?

Caitlin Bassett: I guess social media kind of rules our world these days, you know, the rise of the ‘non-celeb celebrity’ and things like that, it’s actually kind of crazy. When I was growing up we didn’t have social media and I understand for parents these days, with kids who are really active on social media, it can be tough and confusing to know what’s going on.

I think part of the work that I do with the cyber bullying program is all about balance and making sure we’re not spending too much time on devices or online. It’s great to use social media as inspiration, motivation or to connect with people, but it’s great to stop and smell the roses and live in the real world as well. That’s what I love about training at the moment. I get to put my phone away for 2 hours, and I get to work really hard with a group of girls I love to train with, and I don’t have to worry about my phone going off and social media and texts and things like that.

eebudee: When you talk to kids at school, do you notice what they worry about?

Caitlin Bassett: Definitely! I’m in a unique situation because not only am I an athlete, but I’ve also experienced cyber bullying myself. Regardless of how well or not well you’ve played, there’s always critics or opinions floating round and sometimes they’re written on your walls, on your photos, on your images and stuff like that. So it’s quite refreshing for kids to see that it doesn’t just happen to them, it can happen to anyone.

It’s really scary, I think the statistics show that 1 in 3 Aussie kids experience some form of cyber bullying. I mean, it’s happening to everyone, and just to reassure them they’re not alone, and give them tips and tools to handle it is really important.

eebudee: Any tips for handling cyber bullying?

Caitlin Bassett: The most important thing is telling someone about it, whether it’s your brother or sister or even your friends. I know a lot of kids aren’t’ really wanting to talk to their parents about it because they’re scared they’ll lose their internet privileges or get their phone taken away from.

That’s something I really encourage them to do, is tell someone about it, because it’s probably happened to a friend or a brother or sister or someone else they know, and they can get help that way. I think it’s really important for parents to have guidelines and rules around the house for social media and the Internet. It’s a big wide world and lots of things can happen when they’re online.

If kids are using their devices at night in their bedroom when parents think they’re asleep it can be really draining, not only physically, but mentally. I think just having those rules, and making sure kids aren’t left to run free on the Internet is really important. And it starts that conversation between kids and adults about what they’re actually up to when they’re online.

eebudee: What about parents trying to keep up with the online world?

Caitlin Bassett: I totally understand. Technology still bewilders me some days. And every time I go to talk to kids there’s a new social media app. It’s evolving week to week so imagine being an adult trying to keep up with it all in an environment you didn’t necessarily grow up with yourself. It would be really hard. And you know, a lot of kids don’t actually fight the rules, many actually like them.

Having that space in your bedroom away from technology, which could mean putting the phone on charge in the kitchen at night time, is actually a relief for a lot of kids, who can relax, switch off and get a good night’s sleep. Even using it as a reward. I know some parents only give out the WIFI code when the kids have done their chores and it [the WIFI] locks up by 10 at night. They’re all really simple things; I think the Internet should be seen as a privilege and not just a right.

eebudee: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Caitlin Bassett: As part of being an athlete a lot of my profile is built through social media, so I’m quite active on it, but I also understand the risks associated. That’s why I really think programs like eebudee are awesome, because athletes can share important messages with kids. If we can be feeding back these really positive messages, and kids jump on board, then it’s a great idea.

Caitlin is a proud eebudee Hero! Head to our blog for more interviews with Australian sporting legends, or Like our Facebook page for tips and insights into helping your children stay safe online. For more information about our safe social media app, which teaches kids how to use social media in a secure place online, please head to the eebudee website.


Mark Knowles talks Rio Olympics and eebudee

eebudee Hero and Australian men’s hockey captain, Mark Knowles, took time out to speak with us about the upcoming Olympics, his eebudee Fridge takeover and how he encourages his young boys to balance screen time with the outdoors.

eebudee: What are you up to right now with your Hockey career

Mark Knowles: At the moment the Australian men’s hockey team is preparing for the Olympics in Rio in August, so it’s a very full on period with a high performing and intense training program.

eebudee: You’re obviously pretty good at getting outdoors and doing physical activity, do you have any tips for kids struggling to get off the computer and outside?

Mark Knowles: Yeah it’s a really important question. One of the things that I always try and do is, I don’t try and push hockey on people. For me, it’s more about getting outdoors, being active and trying different things. When I speak to kids and they ask me, ‘what did you play when you were a kid?’ I say, ‘well, you name every sport and I gave it a go’.

I think the best way to do it is just to try everything. When I was about 15 or 16, I decided that I really wanted to give hockey a go, but even when I was 16, I was still playing 3 other sports. There’s plenty of time to be old when you’re older!

It’s not just about being active, it’s the mental side of it. It’s keeping fresh, it’s about having a life away from your school. That’s very important for me, you know as a role model, but also someone who’s an addict of the outdoors. That’s what I call myself!

eebudee: You have little ones of your own (Flynn, 4 and Luca, 1). How do you encourage them to stay active and get outdoors?

At the moment the boys are into giving everything a go. I’ve got Flynn, who is just over 4 years old. He’s exactly like me, well, they both are! We’re all sports nuts, and my wife Kelly and I are both hockey players and love the outdoors.

I’ve just been out in the sun after training all day today, kicking the soccer ball and hitting the hockey ball with Flynn and Luca, he’s just over 1. They just love playing and love being outside. I think for us, it’s just that healthy work, life balance, and not being too caught up in what I do.

As an elite athlete I’m under pressure all the time to perform and succeed, but I’m also under pressure to be a good family person, and for me that plays such a significant role in me being a good hockey player.

When I’m happy at home and when my family’s happy, that’s very important to me. I want to keep the kids happy and keep them active and enjoying life. Also, seeing their parents enjoy life and being healthy, good role models, that’s really important for Kel and I.

eebudee: Studies show kids start forming habits and attitudes to social media very early on. Do you have any strategies in place for your kids when it comes to social media?

Mark Knowles: I think it’s a very fine balance that families, and parents especially, need to take control of. Obviously for us, Flynn is 4, so he’s got his iPad with ABC Kids on it.

He’s not into gaming or anything like that yet, but what we’re trying to set up as real and proper guidelines, are the times that he’s allowed to be on it.

Flynn gets up in the morning; he’s allowed to watch his iPad for 20 to 30 minutes before he has brekky, or before he goes out to school where he’s going to run around all day. And that also gives Kel and I a break, when Luca is having his sleep.

We also allow him to watch half an hour of kid’s shows before he goes to bed at night. For us it’s about setting real boundaries we’re able to stick to.

Social media and media and gaming and stuff isn’t so much an issue yet, but I think for us its about teaching them good, smart ways to deal with that stuff. That’s why I’ve become involved with eebudee.

eebudee: And we are very excited that you have joined the eebudee Hero ranks! Why did eebudee appeal to you?

Mark Knowles: I love the concept of safe online platforms, and for me, the link with my parents who live on the East Coast of Australia, my wife’s parents, my brother and 2 sisters, my wife’s sister; they’re all on the East Coast, so we have very small amounts of linkage time to them.

That’s why I think eebudee, with the Fridge and things like that, is an exceptional platform for us as a family to be involved with, while still being safe.

eebudee: Are you looking forward to taking over one of the eebudee Fridges and sharing your experiences of Rio? What will you share?

Mark Knowles: For me it’s about seeing the feedback on what people want to see. I lead a very – what I would call – interesting and amazing life. Being able to be a young male in a professional or semi-professional sport, but also with a young family, I think that I have a lot of good info, good insights and pretty cool things I’m able to do every day as an athlete and a father.

For me it’ll just be getting a guide of what people are interested in, but I think it’s showing my family’s side, I think it’s showing what we do as sports people, but it’s also just showing we’re real.

I’m a normal 32-year-old young male who is lucky to do what he does. But I also have roles and responsibilities that are exactly the same as every other father of my age. So it’s not all amazing being an athlete. We still have to change the nappies and do the dishes!

Mark will be posting and sharing images and updates to his own eebudee Fridge during the 2016 Rio Olympics in August. Stay tuned to discover how you can be a part of the adventure!