Mentors know school isn’t just about classes and grades, it is about learning about yourself and how to navigate the world around you. The social aspect of school is very different than it used to be. Today, everything follows a kid home on social media, good and bad. Unfortunately, students who bully others can use this social media world to now continue that bullying after school. A student bullied at school can’t walk away for the day. There is no reprieve.
According to a study about youth (ages 9-12) and technology:
- Nine out of ten tweens use social media or gaming apps.
- One in five tweens (20.9%) has been cyberbullied, cyberbullied others, or seen cyberbullying.
- Tweens who were cyberbullied shared that it negatively impacted their feelings about themselves (69.1%).
This makes it more important than ever for kids to know they always have someone on their side to support them. A mentor provides a consistent, positive presence to a child; insulating against the negative effects of this new social age as well as contributing to their success in school and mental wellbeing.
Mentors can share stories of how they were bullied or even how they were a bully and why they acted that way and what they learned from it. This provides grounding knowledge to the child that lets them know they will get past this stage in life. These topical stories shared by a mentor can also give insight into why some kids lash out at their peers, which is often a symptom of a bigger problem in their personal life and has nothing to do with the person they bully.
Providing this context amidst the growing up stages is invaluable; it allows the child perspective to understand they are not “weird” or “a problem”. Once a child understands this healthy perspective, they can let go of focusing on what is bringing them down and start focusing on what can lift them up.
Kids are dealing with a lot today. They are constantly around the scattered nature of social media, the confusion of growing up, the pressure of academics, the opinions of their peers and random people on the internet, and sometimes a chaotic home life. With all of this going on it is important the child learns to center themselves and understand that sometimes you cannot change a situation, but you can change how you react to it. A mentor can guide them to learn to prioritize what they give their energy to. Once their mental energy is focused, it will be easier for them to focus on their future.
Learning social skills like how to deal with bullies and how to treat others with respect, foster friendships and understand who your true friends are is just as important as learning math, science, literature etc.
Mentoring can be the difference between a kid becoming a bully themselves and a kid realizing their own potential.