Do you ever worry at night about what students are sharing, saying or sending?
I hope you have sleepless nights about it, because you should. The students I am working with are drowning in a digital world. The are more anxious, stressed, and dysfunction than ever. They are broken, and their digital devices aren’t helping. It isn’t about controlling teenagers to behave a certain way online (even though it would be nice), it’s about them feeling safe, loved and know by you and by God. These stats in this infographic called: Cyber Bulling and E-Safety Facts are alarming. They should make you think how you run your youth ministry, and how you communicate to parent how their kids communicate, and how your students communicate with each other. We should be talking about these things at conferences and in person. We need real solutions to these issues.
I remember as a kid getting picked on at school, but I always knew that I could come home, open the door to my room and it was safe there. Today, is there any where safe? I don’t think so. This is why these problems are here with cyber bulling, and why we are doing nothing about it.
49% of teens have been bullied. When I read this I am saddened by it. Half of all the students in my youth ministry have been bullied. I think we need to talk about this more from the front. When we preach to students we need to actually think about what this message means in a digital context. It’s how they are living their lives, and Jesus needs to be there.
In my youth ministry, we keep the youth ministry night a safe place. We have a zero tolerance policy on bulling. And because of this we have had to kick a few kids out. There is always a way back, but they have to be ready to come back into the group. Safety is crucial. If your youth ministry isn’t safe, students will never show up. They will stay away. How are you fighting to keep your youth ministry safe in a digital environment?
46% can get around parental controls. I keep telling parents that it’s really not about prevention, it’s about communication. What is the plan when a student gets a text message. Are you checking their phone weekly? Is their room a safe zone? Where are their social media guidelines?
Parents need a plan, and that starts with you. You can help the parents in your ministry have a plan. The first part is information, and then you can give them a plan (feel free to check out our social media contract for students).
Here is the infographic. Take it and share it with parents.