Kids on Social Media

Yelp, Google Places, CitySearch, Yellow Pages’s, Reddit, Facebook (to a certain degree) are places where the anonymous have a public forum to comment on your business.  What happens when the anonymous are immature kids that are upset over – not legitimate critiques – but “Mom and Dad are being me to me” issues?

Side note reminder, I’m in the recreational sports business.

Mom and Dad demand you do your chores, Teachers demand you do homework, Coaches demand you do another lap.  The kid doesn’t want to, so they get angry, they act out.  In this case, what happens when they act out using the power and anonymity of social media against your business?

We recently had a situation involving an upset child athlete posting a scathing and profane review on Yelp.

 I have seen his HIT kids, make them bleed, make fun of them, harass them, and many more things. Its to bad no kid wants to press charges against him, but if they did… **** would be in jail for years.

To sum up: the mens gymnastics program at this gym is awful. **** abuses kids. I know many people who love the gym for other sports like parkour, and they love it. It only seems to be the gymnastics program that is bad. NEVER let you kid go to this gym…EVER

The wall of text rambles on and on about one of our employees physically harming, harassing, degrading athletes. Complete anonymity. Very public. Very damaging.

Do not underestimate the power kids have with social media.  Rumor, conjecture, gossip, and lies are able to be past around quickly and anonymously.  This is not limited to adults/parents/paying customers but also true for the least mature among us.

Responding to negative reviews from kids is exactly the same as handling an adult negative review.  The difference is in preventive measures.  I would argue if you are in the business of kids, you should actively engage parents in monitoring their children’s social media habits.  Parents may or may not do this on their own.  You – the business owner – however need to actively address the subject before a potential problem becomes an actual issue.  It should be talked about, it should be written down, and in some cases it should be signed.

As it stands right now, the review is still up on our Yelp site.  We’ve taken some preliminary steps to try and take down the review but nothing yet.  My hope is that the review is so obviously from a child and so overly ridiculous that people will see it for what it is, a public temper tantrum by a kid with no online supervision.

Updates to come on resolution.

Edit: Positive resolution posted here!