Not only do kids today have to worry about bullying in school, but they also have to worry about cyberbullying. Here are three ways to help kids deal.
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 with cyberbullying.
Know the signs of cyberbullying.
Keep an eye out for signs that point to a child experiencing bullying 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 by 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 of cyberbullying.
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. The truth is, words do hurt. But love can heal those wounds. Share God’s love with your kids today.
Want more articles for children’s ministry leaders? Check these out.