There’s been quite a bit of discussion about bullying ever since that incident at Rutgers where a guy secretly used a webcam to record love-making by his gay roommate. Bullying has always been a problem in schools, usually involving picking on those who are different in some way (nerd, wears glasses, gay or effeminate, etc.) Today, bullying has reached a whole new level with the Internet.
Both girls and boys, gay and straight, are being bullied via the Internet. They are being embarrassed, humiliated, and harassed with falsehoods about them being put on Facebook and other sites. Bullying is present even in middle schools and lower grades in some form or another from what I’m hearing. This is a serious problem, because kids are developing their self-esteem and don’t need to be put down like this. Moreover, some kids dread going to school and facing their peers because of what’s being put on the Internet about them or even face-to-face bullying in various forms. This has got to stop.
When you hear about all this bullying, I think it is obvious that parents aren’t doing their job in teaching their kids proper values. Kids who learned “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and tolerance for those who are different aren’t the ones doing this bullying. It’s the kids whose parents aren’t involved in their lives, who don’t monitor their kids’ TV and Internet activities, and who don’t know the meaning of the words “boundaries” and “discipline.” I’m shocked at how so many parents don’t set boundaries for their kids these days, and how they think little Johnny can do no wrong.
Schools can only do so much when it comes to sensitivity training. Schools and churches can only reinforce the values that parents are teaching their kids, they can’t be the primary sources. Since much of the bullying today takes place off the school campus, there isn’t a lot of policing they can do. I suspect that if more parents took their kids to church or synagogue, enrolled them in Sunday school, and taught and modeled good behavior, there would be fewer incidents of this vicious bullying we’re seeing these days.
Let’s pray that parents will wake up and be the kind of parents God intended them to be, and will really get involved in their kids’ lives. As we read in Proverbs 22:6: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV) We also read in Proverbs 23:13a: Do not withhold discipline from a child. (NIV) Good advice that today’s parents need to follow so we will raise up a next generation that is responsible, kind, and considerate.