Most people have been a victim of bullying at some time during their lives. Everyone knows someone who is a bully or who has been bullied. Some people are bullies themselves. The act of bullying is a form of harassing, intimidating or hurting someone else. Bullying has become an epidemic in middle schools and high schools across the nation. From big cities to small towns, no school is exempt from this growing problem. The Mormon Channel video entitled, “Bullying – Stop It,” shows how bullying happens in our schools today.
Many students own iPods and iPhones. Once a device used to get in touch with parents during emergencies, now these mobile units are a way to communicate with other students and engage in a variety of social media. Some kids seem to be attached to them all the time. Unfortunately, they are also a source of cyber bullying. People post untrue statements, unflattering photos and other smear campaigns to harass fellow students.
The Morman Channel video shows a student using his cell phone to take a photo of a girl in class. He shows his classmate, another young man. The photo is used to create a harassing message about the girl and send it to everyone in school. The young man even creates a printed page of the nasty photo to hang on the girl's locker.
His classmate, a friend who knows what is going on, does nothing to stop it. He picks up his sister, who seems upset and keeps getting messages on her cell phone. He reminds his sister it is the night they volunteer at the old folk's home. She makes an excuse she has homework and does not go. He goes to the old folks home and his friend who is bullying another student is there. To the world, he appears to be a good young man who is helping older people. A young woman from their school knows the truth. She goes up to him and says what he did made the girl at school cry. He doesn't take it seriously and says it is a joke.
The young man who picked up his sister returns home and cannot find her. He sees her cell phone with horrible messages from a bully on it. The messages refer to his sister as a loser and even encourage her to kill herself. He starts to panic and runs through the house to find his sister. Finally he sees her outside, crying on the porch. He holds her and comforts her, reassuring her she is nothing like what the bully says.
The next day at school, he realizes he is part of the problem with the other girl who is being bullied when his sister texts him a message expressing thanks. He removes the unflattering photo from the girl's locker and apologizes. They start to talk and we see one more person has learned that bullying hurts others.
The video is a must-see for children in middle school and high school. Instead of watching reality television or videos that depict violence, kids need to watch this video and realize they all play in role when someone gets bullied. We need to speak up for the victim and never become bullies ourselves. A person's life could depend on it.
Parents also need to get involved. The video showed a marked absence of teachers and parents. Adults have a responsibility to teach their children right from wrong. We need to talk to our children about their social lives and issues as well as schedule regular conferences with their teachers. Limiting the use of cell phones and social media is another way to keep our children focused on more important things. Volunteering, going to church and spending family time together can help ward off the negativity bred by bullying and open up the lines of communication with our children.
According to Psalm 18:3, “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Remind your children they can always call upon the Lord, especially when you are not around at school or other places to help them. If your child is tempted to bully others or be a part of it, Proverbs 6 16-19 lets us know, “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Kids who are being bullied need help. It is not just something that will go away or they should get over. Parents and teachers must take bullying seriously and put an end to it. Kids who are bullies must be addressed and taught how to stop this destructive behavior. Asking for forgiveness and meaning it are steps in the right direction.