Electronic aggression (cyber-bullying) (Week 4)

April 30, 2015
Rev. Judith T. Lester B.MIN. M.TH

Rev. Judith T. Lester

Bullying is not new. People have been bullied for generations. Even in the Bible we see in the story of David and Goliath a bullying incidence. 1 Samuel 17 records how Goliath bullied, mocked, teased and intimidated the children of Israel until David stood up to him. While bullying is not new, it certainly has changed a lot over the years. Now there’s cyber-bullying which is bullying through the use of digital means. All forms of bullying are wrong. If you ever have been bullied, picked on, made fun of, teased or had some rumor circulated on a social media site, you know how hurtful it can be. It is important for parents to address this issue with their children and for youth leaders to address this matter with their youth groups to stop bullying. In the concluding article, this writer will present the warning signs of bullying provided by stopbullying.gov. There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help. It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

Signs a child is being bullied

When a child is being bullied, there are some signs you can look for. Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs. Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

• Unexplainable injuries.

• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry.

• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness.

• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.

• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.

• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school.

• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.

• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem.

• Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. In understanding bullying, the CDC suggests there are ways to prevent bullying. The ultimate goal is to stop bullying before it starts. There are school-based prevention programs that are in place. Based on a review of the limited research on schoolbased bullying prevention, the following program elements are promising:

• Improving supervision of students.

• Using rules and behavior management techniques to detect and address bullying by providing consequences for bullying.

• Having an anti-bullying policy, and enforcing that policy consistently.

• Promoting cooperation among different professionals and between staff and parents. Beloved, youth must be reminded that bullying is a very serious issue. Talk to your child about bullying and know the sites they visit when they are on the Internet. Most importantly, firmly establish the rules regarding acceptable and safe behaviors for all electronic data.

Next Month: A Tribute to Mothers and National Foster Care Month

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.