Aberdeen captain Anthony Stewart has advised the club’s younger players to delete social media apps.
The 30-year-old believes it can be tough for youngsters to see social media criticism after a defeat or during a poor run of form.
Stewart and the Dons’ defence came in for recent criticism for lack of clean sheets, but responded with a shut-out in beating Dundee United 1-0.
Skipper Stewart insists he brushes off any online comments, good or bad, and focuses fully on leading the Reds to success.
However, the centre-back accepts social media can be “tough” viewing for some players when things aren’t going well.
He fears online criticism can have an impact if you are “not mentally prepared for it”.
This is why Stewart has advised young Dons to ditch social media if it is affecting them.
He said: “When I first came to Scotland I didn’t know much about the expectations of the club.
“I used to look at social media when I joined and read the comments when they were good and when they were bad.
“After a while, I said to myself that I wasn’t here to impress anyone else but my team-mates, the gaffer and myself.
“It can be tough to look at social media when things aren’t going well.
“If you aren’t mentally prepared for that scenario it can impact you.
“You might want to reply to things that are said about you, but you have to be professional and forget about the comments.
“I try not to get too high or too low – no matter what is happening.”
‘If you can’t handle it delete the App’
Club captain Stewart sees it as his duty to lead both on and off the pitch – this includes giving advice to the young players at the club.
His advice… delete social media if you can’t handle criticism.
Stewart said: “I have spoken to some of the younger boys in the squad about social media.
“I said to them to delete it if they can’t help themselves from looking at it if we have had a bad performance.
“If you can’t handle it then delete the app as it won’t do them any good to dwell on things.
“They should know within themselves if they have performed well or not.
“I don’t need to read things to get validation.
“I still have the app, but I can handle it.”
Loving the highs and lows of captaining Aberdeen
Within a week of arriving at Pittodrie, Stewart was named as new skipper, replacing Joe Lewis.
Stewart admits being selected as club captain was a surprise – but he was delighted to take on the responsibility.
There have been highs as captain, including leading the Dons to third in the Premiership, and reaching the League Cup semi-final where they will play Rangers in January.
However, there have been lows such as a 4-0 hammering by Premiership bottom club Dundee United.
There has been praise, there has been criticism, but one thing is constant – Stewart’s passion for captaining Aberdeen.
He said: “I am loving being the Aberdeen captain and all the highs and lows that comes with that.
“Leading is something that I have always wanted to do and I am getting the chance to do that now.
“I am continuing to learn and I will help the team any way I can.
“I was surprised when the gaffer asked me to be the captain, as I had only been here for a week.
“We had gone to Spain for training and as we came back we had a chat about it.
“We spoke about what he wants from me as the captain – about what he expects – and after that, I was 100 per cent willing to take it on.”