This evening we will be running an evening with the Cub Scouts on the topic of bullying. Now, this has always been a problem amongst youngsters. The difference is now it is no longer relegated to the locker room or schoolyard, but also to the Internet.
Bullying is a problem for both boys and girls. Contrary to popular belief, it does not go away as you age. We all struggle with body image, and are judged or “bullied” by certain people around us, even in our adult lives. Bullying can happen in the workplace, as this is the place where most of spent the majority of our time.
In my essay “How the Internet Has Affected Us,” I make the argument concerning the ubiquity of the Internet, and how we need to live in light of this reality. Social spheres, work and faith all intersect when it comes to the World Wide Web. There is no escaping it.
But how do we deal with bullying on the Web? For all the good that the Internet brings in terms of connecting us humans as social beings, and expanding our business networks, or helping to grease the wheels of commerce and trade, it makes targeting individuals easier. Chatrooms and internet videos can cause hate speech to go viral.
Thankfully, many schools have instituted policies to stop bullying. But it must not stop there. For policies to be truly effective, they must be carried out. Consequences must be enforced. There have been too many crimes that have occurred as a result of Internet-related bullying incidents, that have pushed students over the brink to self-destruction and suicide…
A culture of respect needs to be built from the bottom-up. Students need to know what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. As a teacher by trade, and married to one, I know that it is not necessarily an easy task to teach these values. As a Christin, I know that everyone has a sinful inclination. But at the very least if we can help healthy boundaries to develop, and try our best to teach our children to speak up not let disrespectful actions or language to go unchecked. The consequences are far too grave.