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Who we are:

The Christeenianity Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3), Christianbased, outreach program designed as a resource for both teens in shelters and teens in the community at large. By incorporating a biblical foundation and principles in everything we do, we strive to minister the message of God to everyone involved with our organization.

What we do:

We organize, coordinate and support groups of teens from throughout the community, to participate in outreach projects and events designed to benefit abused and neglected teens who are currently in the care of shelters throughout our community. These outreach projects and events include everything from, taking sheltered teens out to movies, parks, Christian concerts, etc., with our community teens participating as chaperones, guides and general helpers. In cases where the sheltered residents are restricted from leaving the facilities, we implement “inshelter” events in order to maximize our outreach.

Why we do it:

There is a huge number of severely abused and neglected children in our community. They are residents of shelters across the city. In some cases, they are being “rehabilitated” to the point of just being able to enter the state system. Most of these children have been rejected or displaced and can’t comprehend that they are loved, and most have no hope for the future. There are NONE in our community that need to be shown the love of God, and provided with hope, more than these lost children. By incorporating and facilitating the participation of teens in the community for these outreach events we are providing them an opportunity for service work and charity directly supporting their disadvantaged peers. Our hope is that we instill, in both groups of teens, an overwhelming basis of understanding God’s existence, love and compassion.

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Table of Contents Featured Articles

A Scrapbook Life

Julia Hemp

Dealing With Bullying

11

Elisa Nodine

15

Cyberbullying

18

Paul Asay

22

Audra Hughes

28

Swept Under the Rug

Portrait of a Bully

Sticks And Stones

In Every Issue

7

Book Review Craft/Recipe Local Youth Groups Concerts A Note From... Brent Isbill

21

Love Our Children USA

26

Dear Christeen

30

Non-ProďŹ t Highlight

6 10 14 20

Publisher Christeenianity, LLC - Audra Hughes Contributing Writers - Julie Hemp, Elisa Nodine, Paul Asay, Audra Hughes Graphic Designer&[SBI,IBO "VESB)VHIFTrSales - Audra Hughes Editors - Audra Hughes, Robert Hughes

You may submit articles or your letter to Dear Christeen either by mail at 5321 FM 311 #1, New Braunfels, TX, 78132, or via email at Info@Christeenianity.com. If you would like to receive a Free copy of the NLT New Testament Bible, please email your name and address to info@Christeenianity.com, or call us at 1-888-932-3552 National Runaway Switchboard 800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) National Teen Dating Abuse 866-331-9474 Connections Crisis Hotline 800-532-8192 TX Abuse Hotline 800-252-5400 Teen Pregnancy 866-942-6466 Alanon/Alateen (SA) 888-829-1312

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Book Review James Garbarino, Ph.D and Ellen she wasn’t to be allowed at toeasy to him talk and to him and decided that I wasn’t her thather shethat wasn’t going togoing be allowed at easy talk to decided that I wasn’t deLara, Ph.D, ofup “And Words home, that is so messed not even goinghis leave the duration home, that she is she so authors messed up not even going leave sidehis forside the for duration of my of my she couldHer help. Herfelt mom felt only I did stay. that. I followed him everywhere she could help. mom thathave thethat onlythe stay. justI did that.just I followed him everywhere CAN Hurt Forever”; compiled right to do was to send her to of House ofbecome and become quitetoclose to him. had some right thing tothing do was to send her to House and quite close him. We hadWe some aHope book interviews stuto get the on proper treatment. She from was good very good conversations. he became toHope getbased the proper treatment. She was very conversations. In fact, In hefact, became in and 2 days she day tomy tellcounselor my counselor and introduced me one to the one leaving leaving in 2teachers days sheand had onehad dayone to tell and introduced me to the dents, and administrators everyone at school, and pack her stuff. man that man that I found I loved eventhan more than him, everyone at school, and pack her stuff. I found loved even more him, from around country. They The next daythe at the school girl charged intofound God. The relationship and God The next day at school girl the charged into God. The relationship betweenbetween me andme God Mrs. Paisley room so at her onethat thing that me strong. Mrs. Paisley room so angry atangry her for whatfor becamebecame the onethe thing kept mekept strong. that bullying has become a what growing had She done.realized She realized it wasn’t spentindays in athat book that was completely she hadshe done. it wasn’t Mrs. Mrs. I spent Idays a book was completely epidemic. just about lost. God, aboutand God, andmany spentnights many talking nights to talking to Paisley Paisley fault butfault shebut feltshe shefelt hadshe justhad lost. spent

Mrs. Paisley explained her intention was HeHim. my and Savior and I found Mrs. Paisley explained that herthat intention was Him. wasHe mywas Dad,my myDad, Savior I found

Garbarino and deLara have the girls’better mom better have discov- that although that although I couldn’t to havetothe girls’ mom I couldn’t quite quite understand the quit cutting, I could understand herevery so her thatso thethat millions I could fall backfall onback on ered that day, of teen- quit cutting, girl hopefully could hopefully stop her Hebe would girl could stop her my Godmy andGod He and would therebe there agers suffer some destructive cutting and get form of bully- to catchtome. catch me. Before destructive cuttingfrom and get Before I knew Iit,knew it, help. I was smiling more and found help. Bullying more and found ing. is not limited to physical I was smiling little meaning more meaning Friday Friday came came sooner sooner than than a little amore in life. in life. violence but emotional violence as The well, such as; stalking, expected and The yeara and half came expected and she wasshe on was her on her year and half acame to athat place she would and wentquickly very quickly I way to way a place shethat would and went very and I and to intimidation and humiliation. As a parent it was disturbing callfor home next year and She a half. was She surprised was surprised to nd my cutting call home the for nextthe year and a half. to nd that mythat cutting was at was at find that many cases of go unreported; therefore arrived at the home around 8:00 p.m.bullying where its all time low. Graduation day came arrived at the so home around 8:00 p.m. where its all time low. Graduation day came and I and I was greeted bygentlemen a tall gentlemen named feared thatI left, when I left, Ilose would the Father wasshe greeted by a tall namedthan fearedwe that when I would thelose Father itshe is happening more often think. Mr. Faust. He showed her and her mom that I had gotten to know so well. On my last Mr. Faust. He showed her and her mom

that I had gotten to know so well. On my last

where she would be staying and thesession girl session Mr. I Faust this betworry wherebook she would be staying and then thethen girl with Mr.with Faust brought this worry The offers ideas and recommendations onI brought how to said goodbye to herand mom and watched herto him, up to him, he assured said goodbye to her mom watched her up and he and assured me thatme thethat onethe one ter create asee safer for our children. pullItaway. Itbe would be the she would seeenvironment man thatnever wouldleave never leave mebe would pull protect away. wouldand the last shelast would man that would me would God be God of her until she was nearly 14. and even when I was out of the program it of her until she was nearly 14. and even when I was out of the program it The “What You Can Do”hissection at the end of could each chapter, Mr. brought Faust brought ofce would and be would God that Icount count on. During Mr. Faust her intoher hisinto ofce and Godbe that I could on. During outlines ideas as: to supervise troubled registered her such papers whichvolunteering read: Name: Graduation, I looked to the opposite of registered her papers which read: Name: Graduation, I looked to the opposite side of sidearNicole 12 ½ Fdate: Birth5/25/94 date: 5/25/94 themost stage and I saw myAmy Mom, Amy and Mrs. Nicoleof Age: 12Age: ½ Sex: F Sex: Birth the stage and I saw my Mom, and Mrs. eas the school; recognizing that students want adults Problem: Self Harmer (Cutting). He me lookedPaisley me Paisley there. Mr.read Faust Problem: Self Harmer (Cutting). He looked standingstanding there. Mr. Faust offread my off my to intervene; right school in the eyes told meuptotogomy uproom, toyour my room, name andcontact I to began walkyour across the stage. in the eyes and toldand meexercising to go name and I to began walk to across the stage. stuff he be would be up shortly The onlyI that thing I remember hearing unpack unpack mypresident stuffmy and he and would up understanding shortly The only thing remember hearing was himwas him board and if improvements look through thefor room for unsafe say “Nicole, Congratulations! May you now to look to through the room unsafe objects.objects. say “Nicole, Congratulations! May you now aren’t made you need totheconsider legal action. Forty minutes later Mr. Faust walked intosee theclearly seetaking clearly through Gods eyes no longer Forty minutes later Mr. Faust walked into through Gods eyes and no and longer room and looking began looking be blinded by the fogged glass window.” room and began throughthrough my stuff,my hestuff,beheblinded by the fogged glass window.”

This was easy read, and very helpful. talked to me and surprisingly Iitfound very talkedbook to me and surprisingly I to found very itinformative

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L

/ b r Sc p oo # a0 / k !

by Julia Hemp

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A scrapbook is like a photo album journaling history using photographs, clippings, keepsakes, and other memorabilia. Every day, we are collecting new memories, experiencing new events, and creating a mental scrapbook that helps shape us into the person we become. I don’t know about you, but I have some good and some not-so-good—ok, just plain bad—memories. The good memories are the childhood days when school was out and we could play all day long; or being told I was good at something, or getting compliments. But there were times when I was forced to stay inside all day during the summer with nothing to do, getting rejected, and being teased. Besides the obvious teasing, was the not-so-obvious bullying. I experienced things such as, being in a small group of people and someone in the group addressing everyone else, making eye contact with everyone, except me. It was as though I didn’t exist. It gave me a feeling of no self-worth, and certainly a sense that I didn’t fit in. My mental scrapbook captures the bullying memories really well. So well, that they can stick with me, coiling around my mind and building up over time. Sometimes I still see out of those emotionally bruised eyes. I catch myself thinking who might hurt me next. With a 7

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self-esteem that has a habit of dragging me on the floor, I start expecting other people to hurt me before I give them a chance. During my teens, there was a dark cloud of anger over me that took its toll over me and my relationships. I became a loner; the deep artist, poet, musician haunted by dark thoughts, unsocial and depressed. There was a time when I would get my body close to the point of death, but I wouldn’t let go. It was like I was on a ship that had no land around it. Every step felt soggy and unsure, passing the nausea state like a ball in a tennis match, not being able to see how to get off the boat. I didn’t know when the ship would stop being adrift, but I didn’t want to be on the swaying ocean waves anymore. Was this some type of hell? I realized that all I really wanted, was to feel numb inside or at least something other than sad, just as long as I didn’t have to feel the hurt that held me in that tortured place of the bad memories. But I really didn’t know how to do that. I had become so used to feeling anger and sorrow, that it had become a blanket of comfort somehow. I thought that being any other way would make me vulnerable.

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This is what This iswhat what This is

I mean abou I mean about I mean about

a scrapb a scrapbook a scrapbook life:lif

1. Pick out memories that are thoughtful, beautiful, happy, awakening, etc. But don’t choose to remember times

3. Arrange your mind to align with the things you need to do. If you have

to stand up in front of an audience and give a speech, it’s likely that you’ll be super anxious. Try to prepare for that situation by having a memory or two of your mental scrapbook in mind. Glue them down, pour the feelings that they give you into yourself and swim in them to help get your mind off of what’s bothering you.

that make you feel bad, especially from bullying. Never keep things that hurt you close.

Oh, and did you realize that you can bully yourself? Outside influences are always trying to push onto us the model of perfection, so we might start to look down on ourselves and even begin to verbalize our imperfections. Start to recognize that mentality and begin to quiet that voice. It’s a bad habit that needs to be broken. It doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts your relationships and neglects the good qualities about you.

I’m uncomfortable walking from my classes on campus because there are so many other students there. I don’t really understand why, I just know, I’m very aware of other people and I try to not notice anyone by looking everywhere else but at them! I discovered that by thinking of a tangible moment that makes me feel really good. I keep a hold of that moment, replaying or thinking of different aspects of it, and suddenly the other students don’t bother me at all.

2. With the good memories that you choose, try to remember more details of those times. What surrounded you, when

did it happen, who was with you, what were the circumstances. How did it begin and end?Make these moments more tangible and recognize when new ones are ‘scrapbook’ worthy. Draw on those times so that you can get reminded that life has some really nice pages in it.

4. Look over and look ahead to your memories. Can you add to them?

What kinds of new ones would you like to aim for? Look for ways to help remember them. Reflect on everything you can about them that made you feel wonderful inside. Toss out thing that you don’t like about them.

By focusing on good memories, life will not only appear and feel better, but will be more hopeful. And when times are down or the moment is awkward, you can think to something in the scrapbook that makes you feel better. The great thing about living your life as a scrapbook is that you are the designer. Whatever you choose to put in, however you choose to use it is up to you.

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5. Your memories are what make you, so write about them. Embellish them with pictures, quotes, clippings.

Collect yourself in a real scrapbook so that you can redefine yourself. Not as the world has made you feel, but by the things you love in life. Toss out the bad memories and the actions of the bullies. They won’t define you unless you let them.

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Dealing With Bullying Bullying Is a Big Problem Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Yet because parents, teachers, and other adults don’t always see it, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Bullying is when a person is picked on over and over again by an individual or group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing. Two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status. ��������������������������������������������������� maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, kids who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian. Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. For example, people in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying). Verbal bullying can also involve sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website — practices that are known as cyberbullying.

How Does Bullying Make People Feel?

such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may also think about suicide more. Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It’s estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy.

Who Bullies? Both guys and girls can be bullies. Bullies may be outgoing and aggressive. Or a bully can appear reserved on the surface, but may try to manipulate people in subtle, deceptive ways, like anonymously starting a damaging rumor just to see what happens. Many bullies share some common characteristics. They like to dominate others and are generally focused on themselves. They often have poor social skills and poor social judgment. Sometimes they have no feelings of empathy or caring toward other people. Although most bullies think they’re hot stuff and have the right to push people around, others are actually insecure. They put other people down to make themselves feel more interesting or powerful. And some bullies act the way they do because they’ve been hurt by bullies in the ������������������������������������������������ family, like a parent or other adult. Some bullies actually have personality disorders that don’t allow them to understand normal social emotions like guilt, empathy, compassion, or remorse. These people need help from a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist.

One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it is relentless. Most people can take one episode of teasing or name calling or being shunned at the mall. However, when it goes on and on, bullying can put a person in a state of constant fear. What Can You Do? ����� ���� ������ ���� ���� �������� ���� ���� ������ For younger kids, the best way to solve a schoolwork and health suffering. Amber began bullying problem is to tell a trusted adult. For having stomach pains and diarrhea and was teens, though, the tell-an-adult approach diagnosed with a digestive condition called depends on the bullying situation. irritable bowel syndrome as a result of the stress One situation in which it is vital to report bullying that came from being bullied throughout ninth is if it threatens to lead to physical danger and grade. Mafooz spent his afternoons hungry harm. Numerous high-school students have and unable to concentrate in class because he died when stalking, threats, and attacks went was too afraid to go to the school cafeteria at unreported and the silence gave the bully lunchtime. license to become more and more violent. Studies show that people who are abused by Sometimes the victim of repeated bullying their peers are at risk for mental health problems, cannot control the need for revenge and the 11 www.Christeenianity.com


situation becomes dangerous for everyone. Adults in positions of authority — parents, �������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������ If you’re in a bullying situation that you think may escalate into physical violence, try to avoid being alone (and if you have a friend in this situation, spend as much time together as you ������ ���� ��� ������� ����� ��� �� ������ ��� �������� home at the same time as other people or by sticking close to friends or classmates during the times that the bullying takes place.

Bullying Survival Tips

‡7DNH FKDUJH RI \RXU OLIH� ���� ������ �������� other people’s actions, but you can stay true ��� ���������������� ������ ����� ��� ����� ����� ����� — and your strongest — so that other kids ���� ����� ��� ���� ��������� ��������� ��� ���� ���� ��� ����� ������� ������ ���������� ������ �� ������ ����� lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like ���������������������������������������������� your skills in something like chess, art, music, ����������� ��� ��������� �������� �� ������� ������ ��� ������������������������������������������������ ������ ������ ���������� ���� ��������� ���� ����� ����������������������������������� ‡7DONDERXWLW It may help to talk to a guidance ����������������������������������������������� give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can �������������������������������� ‡)LQG \RXU WUXH  IULHQGV If you’ve been �������� ����� ������� ��� �������� ���� ��� ���� ������ tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease ��������� ��� ����� ���� ����������� ����� ���� ��� ���� ����������������������������������������������� your feelings. Set the record straight by telling ����� �������� �������� ���� ���������� ������� ����� and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, “I �������������������������������������������������� to it,” can help you realize that most of the time ������� ���� ������� ���� ����� ��� ��� �� ������� ������ and immature.

Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They’re also �������������������������������������������������� your support: ‡,JQRUHWKHEXOO\DQGZDONDZD\��������������� ���������������������������������������������� harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive ��� ���� ��������� ����� ����� ���� ��� ���� ����� ����� or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you’re telling the bully that you just don’t care. �������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������� head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you’re not vulnerable. ‡+ROG WKH DQJHU� ���� �������� ����� ��� ���� ������� ������ ����� �� ������� ���� ������� �������� ���� �������������������������������������������������� :KDW,I<RX¶UHWKH%XOO\" ������������������������������������������������� ���� ��� ��� ����� ��� ����� ����� �� ���� ��� �������� �������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ they’re feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated, ����������������������������������������������� picking on someone else can be a quick escape ����������������������������������������������� �� ��� ������ ���� ���������� ����� ����� ����� ���� ������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������ �������������������������������������������� ������������ �������� �������������� ���������� ‡'RQ¶W JHW SK\VLFDO� �������� ���� ������� ��� or physical force are the norms in their families. ����� ����� �� ������� ������ ���� ��������� ������ ������ ������������������������������������������������ kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you being the bully. �������� ����� ������� ���� ���� ������ ��� ����� ��� ���� ��� ��� ����� ��� ������� ���� ����������� ��� ������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use ����� ��� ���� ���� ��� ������ ������ ���� ������� ����� ��������� �������� �� ������� ���� ���� ������ ��� ���� ������������������������������������������������� ��������� ��� ������ ������ ����� ��� �������� �������� ������������������������������������������������ ��� ���� ���������� ��� �������� ����� ��� ��� ������ might ask someone else to help you think of the assertive in your actions. Some adults believe other person’s side. ����� ��������� ��� �� ����� ��� �������� ��� ������ ����� ��������� ��������� �������� ���� ������ it is character building) and that hitting back is ��������������������������������������������������� everyone feel miserable — even the bullies. People might feel intimidated by bullies, but the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to �������������������������������������������������� more violence and more bullying for the victims. people see your strength and character — even ‡3UDFWLFH FRQ¿GHQFH� ��������� ����� ��� ��������������������������������������������� respond to the bully verbally or through your ������������������������������������������������� behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself ���������������� ������������������������������������� 12 To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552


Do you really want people to think of you as unkind, abusive, and mean? It’s never too late to change, although changing a pattern of bullying ������ ����� �������� ��� ����� ���� ��� ������ ���� respect for some mentoring or coaching on how �����������������

Steps to Stop Bullying in Schools If the environment at your school supports ���������� �������� ��� ������� ��� ���� ������ ���� example, there may be areas where bullies harass people, such as in stairwells or courtyards ����� ���� ����������� ��� ������� �������� �� ���� ��� bullying takes part in the presence of peers (the bully wants to be recognized and feel powerful, after all), enlisting the help of friends or a group is a good way to change the culture and stand �������������� ���������������������������������������������������� comfortable in a face-to-face discussion, leave ���������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������� can work well in group situations, such as if you notice that a member of your group has started ���������������������������������� Most people hesitate to speak out because ��� ���� ��� ������ ��� ������ ��������� ��� ������ up to a bully — especially if he or she is one

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��� ���� ������������ ������ ��������� ���� �������� are the other students witnessing the bullying ����������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� that they’re not popular enough to take a stand or worry that they’re vulnerable and the bully ����� ����� ��� ������ �������� ������ ������ ������� they don’t like the bully’s behavior) is a way to distance themselves from the person who is the ������� ���������������������������������������������� the bully’s reach is extending beyond just one �������� ��� ��� ���� ��� ��������� ��� ����������� ����������������������������������������������� �������� �� ������� ���� �������� ��������� ��� ������ others license to add their support and take a ����������� ����������������������������������������������� school’s anti-violence program or, if your school �������������������������������������������

����������������������������������������������������������������� resources online for medically reviewed health information �������� ���� ��������� ������ ���� ������� ���� ����� ��������� ����� ������ ������ ��������������� ��� ����������������� �� ������ ����� �� ���� ����������������������������������������������������

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Baptist Catho lic of God s ie l b m e Ass Inter deno mina tional rist Church of Ch Lutheran Methodist BUL Bulverde e Non Denominational CL Canyon Lakels NB New Braunf UC Universal City SA San Antonio Presbyterian SB Spring Branch

First Assembly of God 13435 West Ave, SA Awaken Youth Church Derek Johnsen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; YP | 210-496-9977

Bulverde Baptist Church 1331 Bulverde Rd., BUL BBC Student Ministry Paul Brand - YP | 830-980-7577

Cranes Mill Baptist 10215 Fm-2673, CL Higher Ground Youth Ministry Ben Hollan - YP | 830-899-7936

First Baptist Church 733 Cross St., NB Cross Street Ministries Ricky Gobert - YP | 830-625-9124

First Baptist Church 32445 Us Highway 281 N., BUL First Baptist Bulverde Youth Group Terry McCown - YP | 830-438-3754

First Baptist Church 1401 Pat Booker Rd., UC Vertical 220 Jim Lokey - YP | 210-658-6394

Oakwood Baptist Church 2154 Loop 337 N., NB OSM; Brent Isbill - HS YP Brandon Best - MS YP | 830-625-0267

Shearer Hills Baptist Church 12615 San Pedro Ave., SA CORE Student Ministry Rev. Jeff Martin-YP | 210-545-2300

Southeast Baptist Church 2414 S. WW White Rd., SA The Warriors Linda Willeford - YP | 210-333-6304

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church 386 N. Castell Ave. NB, TX Life Teen Julie Krug - YP | 830- 625-4531 ext. 202

Northside Church of Christ 16318 San Pedro, SA Ignite Andy Glenn - YP | 210-494-1907

Community Bible Church â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Brooks City 314 Galway SA, at Rogers Middle School F.Y.I Faithful Youth Ignite-Chris & Alissa Bozeman | YP c_a_bozeman@hotmail.com & alissapalacios@hotmail.com

Community Bible Church - Main 2477 North Loop 1604 East, SA Next + Gen Students Robbin Goslin - YP | 210-477-5209

Community Bible Church - Bulverde 7100 Hwy 281 North, SB Pursuit Johnny Hernandez - YP | 210-669-6436

Living Word Church 5800 Culebra Dr., SA Amped Youth Robert Garza - YP | 210-461-7452

Abiding Presence Lutheran Church 14700 San Pedro Ave., SA Youth Group Mike Ceyanas - YP | 210-494-8884

Concordia Lutheran Church 16801 Huebner Rd., SA Fusion Bill Tucker - YP | 210-479-1477

Bulverde United Methodist Church 28300 Hwy 281 North, SA Bulverde United Youth Group Bethany Graham - YP | 830-980-7745

Coker United Methodist Church 231 E. North Loop Rd., SA Catalyst Student Ministries Mary Anne Waldrip/Wes Jones - YP 210-494-3455

First United Methodist Church 572 W. San Antonio St., NB Methodist Youth Fellowship Terri Hartman - YP | 830-625-4513

Gruene United Methodist Church 2629 E. Common St., NB Gruene United Methodist Youth Jake LeBlanc - YP | 830-625-7200

Hope Arise United Methodist Church 23203 Bulverde Rd. (Johnson HS), SA Hope Arise Youth Ashleigh Pepper - YP | 210-646-1164

Northern Hills United Methodist Church 3703 N. Loop 1604 E., SA R U In John Kublank - YP | 830-708-8705

Believers Christian Fellowship of S.V. 36200 FM 3159, NB Believers Chrisitian Fellowship Youth Jenni Taylor - YP | 830-885-2224

Cowboys for Jesus 8499 FM 32, Fischer BullZI Jerry Hoyt - Pastor | 210-389-6235

Crossbridge Community Church 19000 Ronald Reagan (Reagan HS) Ablaze Chris Dillashaw - YP | 210-496-0158

Journey Fellowship Church 16847 IH 35 North (Exit 174B), Selma Journey Fellowship Youth Group David Littleton - YP | 210-651-1463

Oak Hills Church 6929 Camp Bullis Rd., SA Oak Hills Church Student Ministries Brett Bishop - HS Dir | 210-807-5208

Life Hurts God Heals Denise Whistler | 210-289-1682

Riverside Community Church 20475 Hwy 46 W STE 180, PMB 417, SB Young Life John Hinkebein - YP | 830-980-4600

Summit Christian Center 2575 Marshall Rd., SA Emerge Mark Treiber - YP | 210-402-0565

Tree of Life Church 5513 IH 35 S., NB Remnant Dustin Martin - YP | 830-625-6375

Trinity Church 5415 N 1604 E., SA 412 Philip Shelley - YP | 210-653-0003

River City Community Church 16875 Jones Maltsberger, SA Real Life Student Ministries Nick Fox â&#x20AC;&#x201C; YP | 210-490-5262

San Pedro Presbyterian Church 14900 San Pedro Ave., SA Youth Ministries Ben Schultz - YP | 210-488-6217

To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552

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Swept Under the Rug A Look at Bullying in Schools by Elisa Nodine

earliest stages of a child’s development, carry on into adulthood. I bet most women know what it is like to be given a “dirty look,” to be whispered about, or to participate in these activities. Women, in fact, are notorious for these types of behaviors, as chronicled in many television shows, books, magazines, etc. I have walked into many rooms cheerfully, only to have that positive demeanor stripped away by the glares of other women. These behaviors are not just limited to mental attacks; sometimes girls get violent, as outlined in the two stories that follow.

Just about everyone knows what bullying is. Bullying has probably been going on since humans noticed differences between themselves. The most common place to find bullying, however, is within our schools. Even though many people have experienced bullying, there may still be questions about the exact definition of bullying. On his website, “bullying.org: Where You are NOT Alone”, Bill Belsey describes bullying as, “…a conscious, willful, deliberate, hostile, and repeated behavior by one or more people, which is intended to harm others.” This means that bullying is not just limited to physical acts, but any act that is purposefully hurtful. Andrew Mellor, of the “Anti-Bullying Network” (www.antibullying.net), says that between one third and one half of students have experienced bullying in some way. This being true, can we safely accept reassurance that our schools are safe? Many people would say that bullying is a harmless phase that kids go through, but my experience tells me that it can be dangerous.

My friend, Shelly, told me about one such experience. Her best friend, Diana, started to hang out constantly with another girl. One day, a confrontation occurred. Shelly was walking in an alleyway and the two girls were there waiting for her. They started to accuse her of doing things she had not done. Shelly told me, “… and they started calling me names, and she (Diana’s friend) started walking towards me. She told me I was never allowed to see my friend again and she came at me and punched me in the nose.” Shelly then retaliated with her fists, until her friend Bryan arrived, and diffused the situation. This is not an exclusive story of female bullying that leads to violence, however.

Adults will usually say that bullying in schools is not a big problem; calling it a normal “thing” for kids to do, and saying that they will grow out of it. If bullying is thought of as “normal”, and most people think it is good to be normal, then bullying, in their opinion, must be good. They would be sure to clarify that bullying is not a positive experience but that it is, what might be considered by some (according to Rachel Simmons in her book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls), a “right of passage.” Simmons also says that many mothers think bullying will help their daughters prepare for future dealings with other women. This means that these behaviors, first exhibited in the

Shelly’s little sister, Brandy, told me about a bullying situation that escalated to fists as well. One day, when she was in the sixth grade, a girl tried to turn Brandy’s friends against her. Brandy said, “She told all of my friends, which were also her friends, to not like me.” After that, they all started to make fun of Brandy whenever they got 15

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acceptable behaviour. We give bullies power by our acceptance of this behaviour.” As I said in the above paragraph, many people see bullying as a normal way for children to behave. This attitude merely allows bullies to carry on with their activities while holding the opinion that this is a normal way to act. This is not only a bad thing, it is dangerous. According to a website titled “Take Action Against Bullying: Bullying Hurts and Keeps on Hurting,” written by Gesele Lajoie, Alyson Mclellan, and Cindi Seddon (www. bullybeware.com), bullying is very frequent, averaging about one instance of bullying every seven minutes. Lagoie, Mclellan, and Seddon also say that with separate incidences occurring at this rate, it is hard for faculty at schools to intervene all the time-- “only 25% of students report that teachers intervene in bullying situations, while 71% of teachers believe they always intervene.” This means that teachers are not even witnessing the vast majority of the bullying that goes on in schools. In this type of environment, how can we assume our children are safe? Andrew Mellor explains that research has shown that there is a connection between the stress that bullying can cause, and both physical and mental health. This indicates that bullying makes a damaging impression on its victims. I know this because, when I was in grade school, I was bullied a lot. When the bullying accelerated, I would find myself getting nauseous in the mornings before school. My mom knew something was going on, and would occasionally let me stay home from school. Then one day, my own group of friends decided they didn’t want to associate with me anymore. This was devastating to me at the tender age of twelve; their decision was so sudden that I was affected heavily by it. Some people would call this normal behavior for girls to engage in, but I began to suffer from depression, and had

the chance. One day, Brandy was very angry because the girls were picking on her, and when she was walking home from school, the “ring-leader” attacked her. Brandy said, “She came up behind me, and slapped me and I got really mad and started choking her. Then she fell on the ground, and I kicked her. Then I picked up my backpack… and didn’t look back.” There were no further confrontations between Brandy and that particular girl. As you can see, female bullying can easily turn into violence. Women are not the only bullies, though. I would wager that many men have either been involved in, or witnessed a physical fight, most regarding fistfights as the way that men settle their disputes. A few years ago, my brother was involved in a fistfight with a boy down the street. My parents did not punish him because, as my mom stated, “Boys will be boys; sometimes you just have to let ‘em duke it out.” The most common type of bullying, though, is name calling, and is practiced by both boys and girls. Many adults would say that this is not something to worry about because nobody is actually being hurt. Another argument adults would make in defense of bullying is that they were bullied, and they are okay. Therefore, we shouldn’t worry about the children because they will turn out okay too. As Andrew Mellor says on his website entitled, The AntiBullying Network, “…it should be remembered that the majority of people who are involved in bullying at school (either as bully or victim) go on to have happy, productive adult lives.” It is true that, even though I, myself, did have a hard time dealing with being bullied in school, I have moved on successfully with my life. But do all of these opinions make bullying alright?

ÅOnly 25 of students report that teachers intervene in bullying situations while 71 of teachers believe they always interveneÆ

I don’t think they do. I definitely agree with Bill Belsey’s statement on his website “Bullying. org” that, “Bullying is not “normal” or socially To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552

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to switch schools. It could have been much worse, however. On their website, Lagoie, Mclellan and Seddon say, “children who are repeatedly victimized sometimes see suicide as their only escape.” And Andrew Mellor further adds that nonphysical bullying tragically accounts for a large number of female suicides.

school staff should get to know how children usually react to bullying, and what the characteristics of a bully are, so they can address these changes in behavior early on. If teachers and parents detect a change in a child’s attitude when he or she first exhibits it, they might be able to address the problem quickly. They may be able to steer the domineering attitude of a bully into positive goals. Also, they might help a young person who is being bullied to build their self-esteem up, regardless of what his or her peers are saying about him or her. Children can help to stop bullying as well. Bill Besley explains that witnesses to bullying can halt individual episodes in less than ten seconds, when they are brave enough to step in. In addition, he says that surveys and studies suggest that bullying will become less of a problem, and perhaps cease, when school faculty, parents, and other students intervene. It would seem that the best answer to bullying is to address it head-on, instead of ignoring it as some would suggest. Maybe, if we can show our children how to be nice to one-another, our schools and communities will be much safer places for everyone.

The victims of bullying are not the only ones who suffer negative repercussions. According to Lajoie, Mclellan, and Seddon’s website, sixty percent of bullies have been convicted of a criminal offense by the time they turn twenty-four. Bullying has also led to murder. Most of us know the story of Columbine High School. What they may not know is that the two gunmen had been victims of bullying. This is not a justification for their actions, but it does put the consequences of bullying into a sobering perspective. As a result of this extreme incident, an increasingly immense number of people are now beginning to realize just how damaging bullying can be. There are many things adults, and children can do to curb bullying in their schools. Parents and

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Surviving Cyberbullying Leigh was in eighth grade when the messages �������� �� ����� �� ������ ����� ��� ���� ���� ����� ��������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ���� ������� ��� ���� ��� ���� ����� ���� ����������� ���������������� �������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� ������� �������� ��� ���� �� ��������� ������ ���� ������ ���� ����� ����� ����������� ���� �������� ����� ����������������������������������������������� ������������������������ ����������������������������������������������� ��� ������� ����� ��� ��� ������� ����������������� ���������� ��� �������� ������� ��������� ����� �� �������� ����� ��� ��� ���� ������ ���� ����� ����� ��� ����� ���� ���������� ��� �������������� ���� ����� ������������������������������������������� ����� ���� ����� ������������ ��� ����� ��� ��� ��� ����� ��� �������� ���� ������ ��� ��������� ����� ����������������

What Counts as Cyberbullying? �������������� ��� ���� ���� ��� ����������� ��� �������� ���������� ����������� ��� ������� �������� �������� ������� �������� ��� �������� ������ ������� ����� ��� ���������� ������� ��� ����� �������� ������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������

������� ��������� ���� ��� ������� ��� ������� ����� ������������������������������������������������� ����� ��� ��������� ���� ������� ��� �������� ����� ������������� ��������� ������ �������� ����� ���� �������������������������� ��� ���������� �������������� ��������� ������ ���������� ��� ��� ������ ������ ���� ��������� ��� ����������������������������������������������� �����������������������������

Virtual Acts, Real Consequences �������� ��� ���� ����� ����������� ������ ��� ���� ����������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������� ������� ������ ��� ���� ������� ����� ��� ��������� ����� ������� ��� ��������� ���� ��� ���� ������� ��� ������������ ����������� ������� ���������� ����� ������ ������ �������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������� ������� ������� ������� ���� ���������� ��� ���� ����� ����������������������������������������� ����� ���� ����� ���� ������� ������ �������� ���� ����� ����� �� ���� ����������� ���� ������������� ���� ��� ��������� ����� ���� ����� �������� ���� ������������� ��������� ���� ��������� �������� ��� �������� ��� ��������������� �������� ���� ����� �������� ���� ������� ������ ��� �������� ����� ����� ������������������������������������������������ ������� ������ ��� ����� ������ ������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ����������������������

Why Do People Do It? ���� ������ �������� ��� �� ������������ ������ ���� ��������� ��� ����� �������� ��� ������ ���� ������������������� ����������� ����� ������ ����� �������������� ���� ��� ������������ ���� ����������� ������� ��� ����� ���������� ����� ���� ������� ������ ��� ����� ������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������� �������� ��� ��������� ��������� ����������� �������� ��� ������������� ������� ������ ���� ��������� ����� ���������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������� ������������ ������� ��������� ���� ��� �� ����� ����� ����������������������������������������������������� is ���������������������� To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552

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What to Do If you’re being bullied, harassed, or teased in a hurtful way — or know someone who is — there is no reason to suffer in silence. In fact, you absolutely should report upsetting IMs, emails, texts, etc. Tell someone. Most experts agree: the ���� ������ ��� ��� ��� ����� ��� ������ ���� ������� ����� ��� ������ ������� ����� ����� ������ ������ ���� ���� cyberbullied may feel embarrassed or reluctant to report a bully. But bullying can escalate, so �������������������������������������� Most parents are so concerned about protecting their kids that sometimes they focus on taking all precautions to stop the bullying. If you’re being bullied and worry about losing your Internet or phone privileges, explain your fears to your parents. Let them know how important it is to stay connected, and work with them to ����� ���� �� ��������� ����� �������� ������ ���� feeling punished as well. You may have to do some negotiating on safe cell phone or computer ������������������������������������������������� bullying under control. You can also talk to your school counselor or trusted teacher or other family member. If the bullying feels like it’s grinding your life down, counseling can help. If you’re not ready for that, �������������������������������������������������� adult. Walk away.� ����� ���� ������� ������ ������ walking away from a real-life bully works in the virtual world too. Knowing that you can step away from the computer (or turn off your phone) allows you to keep things in perspective and focus on the good things in your life. Ignoring bullies is the best way to take away their power. Sometimes ignoring a bully isn’t easy to do — just try the best you can.

Report it to your service provider.

bully or bullies from sending notes. If you don’t know how to do this, ask a friend or adult who does.

Don’t respond.� ������� ���� ����� ��� ����� back.” In some cases, standing up to a bully can be effective, but it’s also more likely to provoke the person and escalate the situation. Ask an �������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������� Although it’s not a good idea to respond to a bully, it is a good idea to save evidence of the bullying if you can. It can help you prove your case, if needed. You don’t have to keep mean emails, texts, or other communications where you see them all the time — you can forward ����������������������������������������������

Be safe online. Password protect your cell phone and your online sites, and change your passwords often. Be sure to share your passwords only with your parent or guardian. It’s also wise to think twice before sharing personal information or photos/videos that you don’t want the world to see. Once you’ve posted a photo ��� ��������� ��� ���� ��� �������� ��� ����������� ��� delete. So remind yourself to be cautious when posting photos or responding to someone’s upsetting message. If a Friend Is a Bully If you see a friend acting as a cyberbully, take him or her aside and gently talk about it. Perhaps there’s a reason behind the bullying and you can help your friend think about what it is. Or, if you don’t know the person well enough to talk about feelings, just stand up for your own principles: Let the bully know it’s not cool. Explain that it can have very serious consequences for the bully as well as “bystanders” like you and your friends who may feel stressed out or upset about what’s going on.

���������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������� it seriously when people use their sites to post KidsHealth®, one of the largest cruel or mean stuff or set up fake accounts. If resources online for medically users report abuse, the site administrator may reviewed health information written for parents, kids, and block the bully from using the site in future. You teens. For more articles like can also complain to phone service or email this,visit KidsHealth.org or providers (such as Gmail, Verizon, Comcast, ����������������� © 1995- 2011 . and Yahoo) if someone is bothering you. ������������ Block the bully. Most devices have Foundation/KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. settings that allow you to electronically block the 19 www.Christeenianity.com


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A note from Bre

Youth Pastor Where is your iden

@ Oakwood

tify coming from

?

nt Isbill

Baptist Churc

h, New Brau

nfels

In a day and age would think that where the church has to work extr Unfortunately, th the Church would be the one plac emely hard to reach teenagers fo have had a parentis is not always the case. As a stude teenagers would find acceptan r Christ, one mistreated or bu tell me their child has no desire ent pastor I can’t tell you how mce and love. speak to its studenllied by other students. In fact, ju to be involved in student ministr any times I st this month I w y ts about the issue as invited by area due to being of bullying. school to So why is bullyin more insecure th g such an issue for teenagers? I be work and with 50an they are today. With all the pr lieve it is because students have struggling with th% of them coming from broken essures teenagers today from schonever been takes” and, every eir identity. At the core, every yofamilies, it is no wonder so many ol, athletics, these students th young lady wants to know “Am I ung man he wants to know “Do of them are ents so they begi ey are not getting the answers th Beautiful or Lovely”. Unfortuna I have what it powerful is througn turning to all the wrong places. ey are searching for from the Lordtely, for many of game. Well, wha h bulling or mistreating others One way many students try to fe or their parstarts out as a ga t takes place in the game is very re. Have you ever played Jenga? Th el important or (which would be me and quickly turns into a battle flective of what often takes plac e building block take sides until evjust like picking on the easy targ . Players immediately go after the in bulling. It comes crashing doentually everyone cheers as one et in school). As things progress e easy pieces Therefore, they of wn. Bullies want to “win” beca person makes the wrong move anpeople begin to quest for power orten target students who are diff use they are insecure and want to d everything eren fe importance is ne ver satisfied. So t and exploit those differences. el important. th Yet their e cycle of bulling co So how do we atta ntinues. ck th is is su e of to tolerate studen bullying? We do say then over tim ts being pranked or bullied in ouit by making it very clear that we are blown off by e students will know that we are r ministries. If we follow throug are not going one accountable saying things like “boys will be boserious about this matter. Far to h with what we communicate thefor their actions. It is also our re ys”. This is unacceptable and it o often pranks our souls. If thes truth that Christ is the only one sponsibility to do everything in ouis holding no “Do I have what e young men we are leading are who has the ability to satisfy the r power to the young ladies it takes” they are setting themselvlooking to anyone else besides Ch crying out of municate they ar God has entrusted us with. The ones up for disaster. The same can rist to answer and in our convere “Beautiful and Lovely” is the Lo ly one who is going to be able tobe said about know all the othe sations we need to be focusing onrd. So in our programming, in ou truly comgoing to satisfy. r substitutes in life they are seek this truth with students. Stud r preaching, how important itWe also have a responsibility to coing validation from, especially buents need to “Have What it Ta is for them to communicate with me along side parents and help llying, is never we have to help oukes” and their daughters are “Bea both their words and actions th them realize environments whe r students find their identity an utiful and Lovely.” What a wondeat their sons d rf re they can grow closer to Him andself worth in the Lord, and help prul calling ovide safe each other. 21

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t i a o r t r P of a

y l l Bu by Paul Asay

Back in the day, the bully was easy to spot. He was the thug in the back of the classroom who’d smoke, sneer, steal milk money and give swirlies to anyone who looked at him crooked. Bullies of the 21st century aren’t as obvious. They come in all shapes and sizes. They’re often girls, some as young as seven or eight. And they include the “nice” kids with good report cards, stuffed bunnies on their beds and Bible verses on their MySpace pages. In cyberspace, these bullies roam unfettered and attack without conscience. Often they hunt in packs. Their most vicious thoughts—unshackled by decorum and societal norms— find voice in e-mails, instant messages, Web sites and chat rooms.

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“It can be devastating,” Vicki Courtney, author of Logged On and Tuned Out: A Non-Techie’s Guide to Parenting a Tech-Savvy Generation, told Plugged In. “It can escalate very quickly. And it has a group-think effect—the gang effect, if you will.”

A Growing Problem Cyberbullying refers to all sorts of online harassment, from a nasty e-mail to the deliberate, systematic destruction of a child’s psyche. It can involve the forwarding of “private” information or photos, or even setting up a website


“It has the sa “It has the same dynamic as domestic dynamic as dome violence.” violence.”

specifically to mock others. Some teens have gone so far as to steal a peer’s screen name and pose as that person while wreaking havoc online. Nearly one-third of teens say they’ve been cyberbullied, according to a 2007 study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And those numbers are on the rise.

While the bullies have changed, their goal is the same: tear down victims to build themselves up. They do it for a host of reasons. Low self-esteem. Trouble at home or school. In the world of cyberbullying, many bullies have been victims themselves. “It has the same dynamic as domestic violence,” family counselor Tim Sanford told Plugged In. “It’s all about power and control.” Victims are especially vulnerable in adolescence, and bullies exploit those insecurities to the fullest. Today, the very aspects of social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook) that make teens comfortable interacting online are being used against them. Freedom, anonymity andv the chance to address dozens of peers at a time has become a forum for abusing others, not with a punch in the nose but with

a text to a friend. Bullying has gotten its high-tech makeover.

“This is nothing new,” Sanford said. “Basically, it’s gossip.” What makes it different, though, is the scope and speed at which that gossip can travel. Now insults can reach the world with the click of a button. Bullies can torment peers 24/7 via e-mail, text messages and online bulletin boards. Perpetrators don’t even need to reveal their real names. In her book Courtney shares the story of a spurned boy who created a satirical Facebook page supposedly hosted by his ex-girlfriend. The site derisively listed more than 100 of the girl’s sex partners, including the school principal. The list was false, of course. Even visitors to the site didn’t take it seriously. Yet it drew a following and, by the time Facebook shut it down, more than 100 of the girl’s classmates had joined the site’s buddy list. This episode forced the girl to change schools. 23

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l u b

g n i y l l u b r Cybe

r e

b y C

has been a catalyst

“Offline it would be hard for 100 people to gang up,” Courtney said. “We were never able to do things like that in the past. It makes the girl politics in my day look rated G.”

Leaving invisible scars The effect of this kind of bullying varies from case to case and from child to child, though the victims tend to swing one of two ways: Either they withdraw and meekly accept their lot or they become bullies themselves. Victims may also become depressed, anxious and develop eating disorders—problems that can linger into adulthood. In rare instances, consequences have been far more severe. Cyberbullying has been a catalyst in several suicides. Also, research out of Penn State University states that 75 percent of teens responsible for school shootings say they were abused and ostracized by their peers. No doubt some of that abuse took place in cyberspace.

in several suicides.

ed or even expelled. “Most schools have no clue how to deal with anything to do with MySpace or Facebook,” Courtney said. “They’re trying to catch up.” And what happens when the abuse occurs outside of school or on a child’s home computer? Cyberbullying laws vary from state to state, and most lawmakers are reluctant to restrict free speech on the Internet. And unless someone is in imminent physical danger, local authorities may be reluctant to get involved. That leaves parents as the first and best line of defense, though experts caution moms and dads that outlawing social networking sites isn’t the answer. After all, kids don’t need to be online themselves to be victimized by malicious classmates.

This new dimension to an age-old problem has schools and communities on their heels. Educators often feel powerless. Dealing with aggressive youngsters at school is tough enough, but at least those bullies can be punished, suspend-

“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here,” Courtney warns. “There’s good and there’s evil [online], and as parents we need to come alongside our kids and teach them how to use these new forums.” She suggests that parents surf, text and even get their own MySpace or Facebook pages. Once adults get a feel for the Internet landscape, they can impose stronger, safer guidelines for their children.

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Making the Bully’s Job Harder It’s important to remember that any information put online is essentially open for the entire world to see. A common form of cyberbullying is reposting embarrassing pictures or videos of victims without permission. Therefore, Courtney forbids her children from posting any pictures of themselves in pajamas or swimwear. She also watches her 14year-old son’s online activities closely. With the help of monitoring software, she’s able to see every Web site he visits and read his correspondence. “We need to be parents first and not apologize for [monitoring children’s online behavior],” she said. “We have every right to ask for that information.” But despite precautions, talking with people online carries the same risks as engaging them in person. We’re all bound to run into a jerk or two. Consider these tips for protecting young people from cyberbullies, all the while reducing the odds that they will lash out online:

1. Tell your children never to give out personal information online. In addition to passwords, names, addresses and phone numbers, they


should guard less obvious information that could be used against them (teachers, employer, class schedules, etc.).

2. Reserve the right to spot-check behavior. Keep computers in high-traffic areas (not in the child’s bedroom), and restrict instant messaging and e-mailing time.

3. Set parameters for your child’s list of “friends.” Have your teen delete any known cyberbullies from those buddy lists.

4. Explore the benefits of installing monitoring software. 5. Be a good role model. If you gossip in front of children, it’s more likely they’ll gossip too— and they might do it online. Make sure they know that sending cruel messages about or embarrassing pictures of someone is no joke.

6. Investigate the policies in place at your child’s school regarding cyberbullying. 7. Pray for the victim and the bully. Both need God’s help.

8. Reassure victims that they are not to blame for being bullied. Then reinforce their value in God’s eyes, reminding teens that no one

can make them feel inferior without their permission. If a cyberbully strikes, Sanford stresses the importance of communicating with youngsters. Injured teens need to feel comfortable talking to you. Help them figure out solutions on their own by asking them leading questions such as, “Is this online conversation bothering you?” and “Who would be a good person to talk with about it?” Remember, bullies want to steal their victims’ sense of power. When we help teens solve their own problems, it serves as a form of empowerment. It’s also important not to respond in kind. Many cyberbullies want to bait victims into an escalating war of words and webpages, so similar retorts— no matter how cutting—will only make things worse. Here, the wisdom of 1 Peter 3:9 applies: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” Still, there are appropriate ways to respond. Families should keep records of the offending acts. If a violent threat occurs, it may be a matter for school officials or the police. Sometimes educators will get involved, particularly if the damage was done on school computers or if a threat is to be carried out on campus. Some parents of victims have even talked with the cyberbullies’ parents, who frequently have no clue how their child is 25

spending time online. Bullying. Only the method is new. It has occurred in other guises since the dawn of time and even led the psalmist to exclaim, “Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good” (Psalm 38:20). God heard those cries. And He hears teens’ cries today. Let’s make sure our ears are equally sensitive, so we can rescue young people before the invisible bruises start to show. Originally published in the November 2007 issue of Plugged In magazine. Copyright © 2007, Focus on the Family. Used by permission.

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27

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by Audra Hughes

As

a teenager I was very thin and lanky. It was very common for me to be called skinny bones, bony, chicken legs, bird legs and whatever other derogatory words that you can come up with that mean EXTREMELY thin! While these were only words, they were words that shaped who I became. It didn’t help matters that even my mother at one time took me to the doctor because she too thought I was too thin.

I hated who I was. I couldn’t stand the person who faced me in the mirror EVERYDAY . . . for YEARS! Why couldn’t I be more normal sized, why couldn’t I have blue eyes like my dad, why couldn’t I have lighter skin like my sisters, why does my hair have to be so straight, why did I have to be so UGLY?!!!

Ashamed of who I was, I spent my teen years literally “hiding”. I became ridiculously shy and introverted to the point that when we would visit relatives, I would hide behind the furniture. This really made me a topic for joking!

Gradually, as I came to know God, I came to know me. I realized I am exactly who God intended me to be. I came to realize, that this person, this life that I once thought was worthless, is perfect. You see, God doesn’t make mistakes. I am a perfect design; every

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Day in and day out, these thoughts tormented me. I carried these feelings into my adulthood.

28


intricate detail was created by the Creator of the universe. The quicker I realized that I was exactly who I was meant to be, the easier it was for God to work in me. I’m not saying that negative words no

longer affect that child in me, but it is much easier to let them go and not let them live in me. I am a child of God and He is still working on me. He is molding me into the child that I am destined to be.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Psalm 139:13-16


Christeen Dear Christeen, from “unknown” numbers, saying horrible things, and then hanging up. And the worst part of it is I don’t know why they are doing this to me. Sometimes I just think like, “What is wrong with me?” but my mom tells me they are just jealous. That doesn’t change how they are acting toward me, though. I don’t know how to make them stop.–Fed up in Floresville

Dear Christeen–I’ve been having a serious problem with a guy from my school, and I’m not sure what I should do about it. I have been crushing on a girl for a really long time now, and I recently asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes, so of course I was happy. But the next day this guy, that I guess likes her too, started giving me problems, and he hasn’t stopped. It’s been like two weeks now, and every time I pass him in the hall he pushes me, and sometimes he threatens me too. It’s really starting to get me angry, but I don’t want to fight with this guy. What should I do?–Angry in Austin

Dear Angry–My first advice to you is to avoid fighting with this young man at all costs. It sounds like a fight is exactly what he is looking for, but a fight would have many more repercussions than physical pain. You might get into trouble at school, not to mention your new girlfriend will probably not be too happy with you. In addition, heaven forbid, the fight could become much more serious than you expect. Which leads me to my second point of advice: let someone know what is happening as soon as possible, like the school counselor or office administration. It is important that the school knows what is going on in case this young man ever does assault you or anything like that. In addition, you may be able to request that the school not take any immediate action, in case you are worried that it will only make the situation worse. In the meantime, however, try to ignore his behavior as best you can. Allowing yourself to become too upset might lead you to do something you will regret, and could make things worse for everyone involved. “[…] calmness can lay great errors to rest.” Ecclesiastes 10:4–Love, Christeen Dear Christeen–I’ve been having this problem all year. The girls in the grade above me (I’m a Freshman) won’t leave me alone. Somehow they all know my number and my Facebook account, and they are always sending me nasty stuff and calling my phone To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552

30

Dear Fed Up–I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this hard time in your life. But know that you are not alone. There are thousands of girls in America that are experiencing bullying, whether from girls at their schools, on their sports teams, or even in their own circles of friends. And you are also not alone in the sense that Jesus is always with you. Though you cannot see Him, He is standing by you to comfort you when you feel the most down. You may not be able to make these girls stop taunting you, but there are ways that you can help yourself cope with it. The first would be to talk with someone close to you about what is going on. Expressing how you feel to someone who cares about you might help you feel a lot better. If they begin to seriously threaten you, you should definitely tell an authority figure at your school immediately. Even if you do not want immediate action taken against these girls, the school should know the situation. Second, realize that these girls most likely are jealous of you. Although it doesn’t change their behavior, it should help you feel better. Third, consider changing your phone number and deleting or changing your Facebook account. And fourth, remember that what these girls think of you ultimately doesn’t matter. You are a wonderful person inside and out, and nothing these girls say to you can ever change that fact! So hold your head up high and don’t let anything these girls have to say bring you down! “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength,” 2 Timothy 4:17.– Love, Christeen


     

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SeaWorld San Antonio

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To purchase, visit www.seaworldsanantonio.com Â?:LH>VYSK7HYRZ ,U[LY[HPUTLU[(SSYPNO[ZYLZLY]LK


Christeenianity - March/April, 2011