The psalmist David prayed for God’s protection for the children of Israel, “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (Psalm 144:12). Parents long to protect their children from physical and emotional dangers such as bullying, which occurs when a person dominates another by repeated harassment or intimidation that results in an “imbalance of power.” Bullying often involves relational intimidation that undermines friendships and social acceptance. Bullying can instill a sense of fear or anxiety and insult or demean a child in such a way as to cause distress, reluctance to attend school, problem behaviors, and a decline in schoolwork.
Cyberbullying—bullying with electronic technology—can be even more serious, because the bully can be active any time of the day and may have a considerably larger audience. While cyberbullying is more common with secondary students, as students obtain devices at younger ages it is becoming a concern in lower grades.
If you suspect that your child is being bullied online, first take a deep breath to avoid over or underreacting—and then ask God for wisdom to discern the root problem and a biblical solution. If there is a real threat of violence or continuing harassment, do not respond to the bully directly; but rather gather evidence and contact law enforcement right away.
There is a wealth of valuable information online, and parents may want to solve their problem without school involvement. We can appreciate that decision, provided other BJA students are not involved. Bob Jones Academy is committed to being a community that demonstrates the love of Christ one to another in all circumstances. We know that bullying—a failure to love God and your neighbor—has been around since the fall of man. To protect our school mission and educational atmosphere, we address real and perceived issues in our school every year.
In most cases, getting the school involved is the “best practice.” Our understanding of student situations and quicker access to students and families allow appropriate discussions to take place in a timely manner and often in a “neutral zone,” working through the issues objectively. An informed school can monitor situations and provide feedback important to good parenting.
May the Lord give us all wisdom and our children protection that indeed “our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.”