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!