Bullying has been around forever. It’s even in Scripture! Think of the story of David and Goliath. One of the reasons people love that story so much is because the big taunting bully—Goliath—gets what he deserves at the hands of David.
Think back to when you were a teenager; bullying was alive and well then, too. You might even have experienced being bullied as a teenager. It’s no fun to feel powerless at the hands of someone who seems to be hurting you regularly just for the sport of it.
Although bullying has been around for a long time, there has been a development in recent years that has taken bullying to a whole new level. The Internet and social media have changed the world including the ushering in of a new age of what is called, “cyberbullying.” Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
It’s one thing for a bully to stand in the school hallway and call a person names, but it’s a whole other situation for the bully to say those things on a YouTube video posted online for the world to see. Cyberbullying can take place twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Cyberbullying messages can be posted anonymously and can be distributed quickly to a very wide audience.
Today’s teens are facing a whole new threat that this generation of parents has never experienced. It’s important to be aware of this type of bullying. If you need to take a few hours to learn about it, do so. Be aware of this possibility occurring to your own teen. Talk frequently with them about their social media usage, and note any odd behavior changes. If your teen suddenly seems down, quiet or withdrawn, if their grades suddenly dip or if they begin to have health problems, don’t be afraid to probe. He or she may be the unfortunate recipient of cyberbullying.
Don’t ignore this possibility. It can result in serious issues. Being proactive and aware is paramount.
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