Cyber Bullying and Teens
In today's world of technology, gone are the days that bullying happened on the school campus by a big thug picking on someone smaller. No, bullying has gone cyber. And it happens more than we know.
I was watching the Zac Efron movie 17 Again (I can't believe I just admitted that.) In the movie, there is a scene where Efron's character gets in a fight with the popular basketball player at their Los Angeles school. It is immediately recorded on phones and sent out as text messages and You Tube videos. The next scene shows a teenager showing the fight video on his phone to a friend while saying, "Hey, I just got this from my friend in New York." The scene pans to show Efron's character walking in to meet with the principal at that L.A. school.
Cyber bullying is easy and travels very quickly.
Although a recent study shows that bullying is in decline, it is still something that, as youth ministers and parents, we must respond to. It is a pastoral care issue for our teenagers. Bullying tends to center around two issues: looks and body shape. Our job as ministers and parents is to help our young people grow up in safe environments. Lack of safety can lead to developmental issues and concerns.
The released studies show some strategies that we can inact to help our teenagers. And our youth ministry programs are a great place to have these types of conversations. Mainly, just having the opportunity to talk about cyber bullying is an effective way to help those that are bullied and who do the bullying.
I would also encourage you to contact our Diocesan Office of Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. They now give seminars on cyber bullying and other topics that would be a great resource for a youth or parent night.