Bullying certainly isn't a new problem, but in
today's world the way bullies attack has changed dramatically.
Instead of on the playground, kids today can face hurtful comments
online as a result of cyberbullying. Out of 100 preteens, 17 say
they've had something mean, threatening, or embarrassing said about
them online. Sixteen percent of these kids told no one about it.
Here are some things you can do to help the kids you work with deal
- Know the signs. Keep an eye out for signs that
point to a child being bullied online. According to
education.com, victims of cyberbullying may display a variety
of negative emotions such as sadness, frustration, and anger. They
may avoid computers and phones and shy away from discussions about
them. Other things to watch for include trouble sleeping, changes
in appetite, a drop in grades, withdrawal from friends or family,
and a reluctance to attend school.
- Point out biblical examples. Kids need to know
that the Bible is still relevant to their lives. One great way to
do that is to point out biblical examples of bullying. We have
bullies like Goliath, Delilah, and the Pharisees. We see people who
didn't want to make a difference, such as Jonah and those folks who
came before the Good Samaritan and didn't offer help. And we also
see the people in the Bible who were bullied, such as Joseph,
who was tormented his brothers, and even Jesus. Dive into the Bible
and find accounts of bullying and how they were handled. Verses
like 2 Timothy 1:7, Matthew 5:11, and Deuteronomy 31:6 will help
inspire and equip your kids.
- Help end the cycle. Bullying is a cycle. If
something isn't done, it will just keep coming back. Teach the kids
you work with why bullying is wrong. There are many
great organizations you can find online to help you equip
your kids with the information they need to help stop bullying at
their school. For the parents of the kids you work with, be
prepared to help them protect their kids. Remind them of the signs
to watch for, and inform them of steps to take (
stopbullying.org has some great tips).
Any form of bullying is wrong, and it's important that we take
action to protect our kids. Our team just got back from KidMin2012
(sign up today for next
year's conference!) and it was a blast. The Skit Guys were one of the
keynote speakers for the event, and they blew us out of the water!
One of their skits was about emotional baggage, and in one scene we
saw a young child getting picked on because of his weight.
According to the Skit Guys, the saying "sticks and stones may break
your bones but words can never hurt you" is the biggest lie we tell
our kids. Wow.
The truth is, words do hurt. But love can heal those wounds.
Share God's love with your kids today.