Prevention is Key

 
 
From the readings, human purpose is to rule over all the fish in the sea, birds in the sky, over the livestock and the wild animals and all the creatures that move along the ground. They were also to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen 1:28, NIV) I think for humans to flourish it means that they are married and have children. They take care of each other and take care of the Earth and all of its creatures and all of the plants and food. They follow God’s word and teachings and worship him. They also spread his word and teach their children and their children’s children to do the same. By doing these things they will have emotional, spiritual and mental well-being and flourish.
 
Consider how the fall and humanity’s exposure to good and evil are seen in the way some people treat themselves and others in dehumanizing ways today (examples: abuse, addiction, bullying, domestic violence, eating disorders, human trafficking, pornography, poverty, racism, vandalism, etc.).
 
Cyberbullying is a real problem with today’s youth. It is much harder to “see” because it’s done behind closed doors. It’s not upfront and in your face like in person bullying. And because it can be done virtually anonymously it can be hard to track and stop. Which makes it all the more detrimental to kids and teens. Our society is so social media based, and if you are young you have to be on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram to remain current or “cool.” Cyber-bullying is much more prevalent because of the social media society as well as when someone gets to hide behind a keyboard they are much more brave and would say things that they would never say in person. A shocking 25% of parents have reported that their child has been cyber-bullied. (“Disturbing statistics unveiled,” 2019)
 
Cyber-bullying can lead to children having low self-esteem, low grades, self-harming and even suicide. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2015) suicide was the second leading cause of death in the United States among 10-17 year olds in 2015. From 2000-2015 the suicide rate of the same age group increased by 21% (Hinduja, & Patchin, 2019)
 
Prevention is key. Teaching our kids that what we say matters. Words are hurtful and can have very real consequences. Monitor your children’s social media accounts to make sure that they aren’t being bullied and aren’t the ones doing the bullying. Teach our kids if they see something, say something. Not everyone can stand up for themselves and you may be the only one who can make a difference.
 
A God centered worldview can help. Teaching our youth that the Bible commands us to “love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and to treat others the way we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31) Every person is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9-10) and is worthy of the dignity that God gives to every person.” (Noyes, 2019)
 
Showing children in the age range of 10-17 using their smart phones and laptops on social media. Also showing headlines of children that have committed suicide due to bullying. Also show young people at church having a good time and helping each other. Showing images that depict friendships.
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