JHM Material, 1/22

Leadership Scripture Focus:

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:8-9

Leader Tip:  Self-Cyberbullying: Teenagers’ Cries for Help Go Digital by David R Smith

“Your face is why filters were invented.”
“Are you Jabba the gutt?”
“I never date sluts like you.”
Ahh, just another day spent strolling through the mean streets of the comments section.
But the craziest part about these comments is, if new research is correct, some of these jabs were posted by teens…about themselves.

The Cruelty of the Comments Section

In a digital age that offers human nature the option of anonymous trolling, harsh comments are a guarantee. Sometimes, mean comments – a form of cyberbullying – cause kids to just roll their eyes; they mutter “idiot” under their breath and move on. However, sometimes these mean comments can push youth to take their own lives. More than 40% of today’s kids endure some sort of online bullying, and they aren’t alone. Even celebrities experience cyberbullying.

Interestingly though, new research supported by the Journal of Adolescent Health has found that some of the negative, harsh, and damaging comments posted on a kid’s social media account are self-inflicted. In the study, which involved almost 5,600 students from various middle and high schools (ages 12 to 17) around the country, 6% of those surveyed admitted to posting hateful comments on their own posts. In other words…some kids were trolling themselves! Furthermore, the research revealed that over half of that same 6% admitted to “self-cyberbullying” on multiple occasions. (By the way, this study wasn’t the first to document “digital self-harm”; a related survey from 2012 revealed similar findings.)

Granted, 6% may not sound like much, but that represents several million kids from Generation Z. Dr. Sheryl Gonzalez-Ziegler, a child psychologist practicing in Denver, has come across this phenomenon in the lives of some of her young patients. Speaking anonymously about one of her young female patients who’s committed self-cyberbullying, Gonzalez-Ziegler said the girl, “feared being mocked by her peers. She thought their teasing wouldn’t be so bad if she beat them to the punch.” While caring adults can probably empathize with that sentiment, most would also agree it’s not a good strategy for dealing with peer pressure and criticism.

Currently, not much is known about this self-destructive tendency. Perhaps kids view self-cyberbullying the same way they do cutting: as a pressure relief valve for pain. It’s a cry for help that draws attention to oneself in the attempt to “interrupt negative feelings,” for example, depression, anxiety, upsets, failures, etc. Regardless of the reason(s), teenagers probably don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their reputations as they seek solutions to their problems.

Preventing Personal Sabotage

Wise parents and youth workers want to know what’s being said about the kids sitting on couches in our living rooms and youth group rooms, but we also need to know what’s being posted about them in online environments. Technology has rushed to try and solve this problem; apps to help adults monitor teens’ online behavior and interactions are everywhere, but they have received mixed reviews from those who use them. While these kinds of tools can certainly be of some benefit, we can’t delegate care and nurture to an app…or another person. Here are a few ideas that will help parents and youth workers take personal responsibility for preventing self-sabotage in the lives of kids we love.

Take time to scroll through the comments section. If you’re a parent or youth worker that monitors what your kids post online, great! If not, you should seriously consider starting that practice…after giving them an honest and compassionate heads up. But it’s not enough to just read what they post, or swipe through the pics they share; we need to take the time to see what other kids are saying in response. Yes, there are dangers that stem from posting inappropriate pics, but there are dangers that can result from stupid or harsh comments, too. It only takes another 15 seconds – if that – to check out other kids’ interactions, so make that small investment.

Make sure your kids know the truth about themselves. If you discover that your kid is enduring harsh comments from others – or themselves – make sure they know the truth about who and what they are. It doesn’t matter what insult or slur is flung their way (ugly, fat, unable, etc.), the underlying message is that they are worthless. While that’s certainly not true, hearing that lie over and over again will take its toll on young hearts and minds. Here’s a great resource you can use to help kids understand the value God has ascribed to them. The Bible offers plenty of references concerning how God sees us: Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 12:6-7, and Ephesians 2:4-9 just to name a few. Make sure your kids are getting a healthy dose of truth on a regular basis.

No matter what you do, how carefully you monitor the world around your kids, and how diligent you strive to be, setbacks will happen. In those times, make sure your kids have full access to you to help process the moments of pain. We can’t allow them to wade through the harshness alone. Don’t let anyone abuse them through hurtful comments, but don’t allow them to whittle away at their minds with self-inflicted wounds, either.

Upcoming Events:
Jan 20 – Maddie’s birthday!
Jan 21 – No School/Office Closed (MLK Jr)

Jan 27 – Baptism Sunday

Jan 29 – Start Summer Camp Promo

Attendance:
Remember to take attendance through the email you receive weekly, and before the end of the night. Thank you!

Leader Meeting:
Please make it a priority to be at the wherehouse by 6:30pm to go over the details of the evening and to pray together. Send a message through GroupMe or text AJ at 906-7157 if you’ll be late or won’t be there.

 

TUESDAY, 1/22

Opening Game: 12 Man Pineapple

KNOWN Week 3: HE KNOWS YOUR REAL IDENTITY

What we want students to learn: Our true identity is not found in worldly things. But that our true identity comes from what God says about us an does for us.
What we want students to do with what they’ve learned: To live as a child of God that sees themselves the way that God sees them. And that they would live accordingly.
Main Scripture: Psalm 139:12-15

Outline

(Front)

KNOWN- HE KNOWS YOUR REAL IDENTITY

This world does not define my identity. God defines my identity.
I am not who the world says I am. I am who God says I am.

WHAT IS MY POSITION BEFORE GOD?

I AM HIS CHILD.
1 John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

WHAT IS MY APPEARANCE BEFORE GOD?

I AM RIGHTEOUS.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I AM WONDERFULLY MADE.
Psalm 139:12-14 – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I AM HIS MASTERPIECE.
Ephesians 2:10 – We are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do good works.

WHAT IS MY WEALTH BEFORE GOD?

I AM GIVEN EVERY POSSIBLE SPIRITUAL BENEFIT.
Ephesians 1:3 – Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven!

I AM RICH IN FAITH AND WILL INHERIT GOD’S KINGDOM
James 2:5 – Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

WHAT ARE MY SKILLS BEFORE GOD?

I HAVE GIFTS FROM GOD
1 Corinthians 7:7 – Each one has his own gift from God, one in this way and another in that way.

I LACK NOTHING
2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

I AM EMPOWERED BY GOD
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

 

TALK IT OVER

Looking at the “PAWS” of our real identity, which one stands out to you most? Is there one that you didn’t really realize was part of your true identity?

How do we work to remember these things in our life?

 

(back)

 

“Quote” of focus:

This world does not define my identity. God defines my identity.
I am not who the world says I am. I am who God says I am.

 

• What is one thing that stood out to you in this passage?

 

• Why do you think it stood out to you?

 

• What can you apply to your life from this passage?

 

Close in prayer