By Sarah Slater
There is a “serious lack of discipline” amongst children, according to one of the country’s hurling greats.
Kilkenny’s five time All-Ireland Senior Hurling ace DJ Carey, believes a lot of the lack of discipline is down to social media and has called on sporting organisations to get involved to help bring respect back to society.
“There is a serious problem out there when it comes to discipline and it not only is affecting the game of hurling, but I would say all sports are experiencing it and it has well and truly crept in to everyday life and society as a whole.
“From my own point of view, I see it now that I’m training. I can see there is little discipline or respect for parents, trainers and team mates and I do think it’s down, in some respect, to social media and what you can get away with on it.”
The father of two, who retired from competitive hurling in 2006, revealed he is not on social media any longer and does not miss it because of continual name calling.
“Prior to social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram etc, we were disciplined and rightly so by our parents, teachers, gardaí and even the local priests but now children don’t seem to listen to them anymore.
“This is due, in my opinion, to being allowed to go onto social media, to create fake names and call anyone what they like, when they like and even go on to say horrible nasty things about them.
“They feel it’s OK to for example, to viciously knock a Taoiseach, a president, a sports person, or friends, and to be able to get away with it and now, unfortunately, this is seeping in to every aspect of life. Anyone can take a ribbing or some name calling but when it is continual and gets nasty that is a step too far.
“If I was to knock anyone publicly when I was child, I would have been disciplined, but it doesn’t seem to happen any more and you’ve got to ask, where has discipline and authority disappeared to?”
The Gowran native and successful GAA coach, 47, revealed an instance where his sporting authority was questioned by a child in a not so nice manner. “Just the other day I was involved in some hurling training. I had given the kids sliothars to use and at the end of the game I asked for them back.
“One child had a go at me for asking for the ball back and so did the parent for asking for it back. I mean the balls belonged to our club and cost money so why shouldn’t I ask for it to be returned but I was seen as wrong to have done this.
“So you do have to ask yourself, where has discipline and authority gone and I genuinely do think social media has and is creating questionable attitudes.
“This is where I think sporting organisations such as the GAA need to play the discipline game and bring back respect and some authority into society.”
The former player said the discipline of playing sport helps his sons Sean and Michael to show respect to authority in their daily lives.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.