Think before you post, Association urges
The Pacific Rugby Players is asking rugby fans to show the players love and think before they post harmful comments about them and their performance on social media.
The Association is the collective voice for Pacific rugby athletes from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
Personal Development Manager for Fiji, Gaylene Osborne, told the Samoa Observer that when fans post harsh critical comments directed at specific players, it harms their self-esteem and mental well-being.
Samoan players represented by P.R.P. are located all around the world where there is a professional rugby league being played – in France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Romania, Italy, Spain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
“Having fans post harsh critical comments can harm the self-esteem and mental well-being of the player. It also causes their family members to take up the fight on the players behalf on social media. That's where things tend to get out of hand,” Osborne said in response to Samoa Observer inquiries.
“Be kind and thoughtful with your comments directed towards specific players. Please think before you post. Players have thoughts and feelings too. Sometimes they go through a rough patch and don't perform to the best of their ability. They know it and most times are their worst critic.”
More than 500 rugby players from the Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa are represented by P.R.P.
Currently, the association is working to provide a new service to help rugby players manage their social media accounts.
Social media account management for players has become enough of a problem to warrant a new service at P.R.P.
The association has contracted Digital Discipline, a company based in New Zealand, owned and operated by Tony Laulu, to create a module for the players.
“Digital Discipline was hired to provide a service to players who feel they need support and guidance on how to manage their social media use, and how they engage with social media,” Osborne said.
“We are currently engaged with Tony to create an online social media module that looks at social media addiction and how to create a healthy relationship with social media.”
It’s not clear how many players will utilise the modules but she hopes all of their 500 plus players complete the social media module.
“[I] can't say for sure how many players will use the modules, but we are hoping all the players we represent will at some point complete the social media module,” said Osborne.
The service has yet to be rolled out.
“The social media module created by Digital Discipline will be an effective tool to bring awareness to players who spend hours on social media; on how their social media use is harming their mental health and relationships,” Osborne, who has a background in psychology, explained.
“It will also provide the players with useful strategies on how to cultivate a healthy relationship with social media and how to navigate critical comments from loving fans…if the loving fans can think before they post, and be mindful of the words they use, it would be helpful all round.”