“Cyberbash,” Friend, September 2018
As soon as she got home, Kaela couldn’t wait to check her mom’s phone. Her friends always posted pictures of cool clothes, fun vacations, and cute animals.
Click. Scroll. Click. She clicked on heart after heart to show she liked everything her friends were doing: skating at the park, baking a chocolate cake, burying their toes in the sand. One picture made Kaela giggle when she saw it. She couldn’t help it! It was a picture of her friend Chandry. She looked like a squirrel, with her cheeks full of cereal, and milk spilling onto her shirt. Chandry was so fun and goofy. Kaela scrolled down to add a laughing emoji. But then she saw the comments.
As she read them, Kaela felt sick. “Fat,” one said. “Ugly,” said another. “Chandry needs to go on a diet.” “A new walrus for the zoo.” One comment was even full of swear words.
Poor Chandry! Kaela thought. How could anyone write these things? She had heard of people being bullied online, but she never thought it would happen to her friend.
She shut off the phone and put it on the table. Then she went to her room and knelt down.
She told Heavenly Father everything she felt and how she wished those words weren’t there. But there was no way to undo what others had said. Heavenly Father, she said. Please help me know how to help Chandry.
Soon a song filled her mind. Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too. Peace warmed her heart. Even though the mean words had already been written, Kaela could still be kind.
She borrowed the phone again and sent a direct message to Chandry.
Chandry, I saw the posts online today. I hope you know I don’t agree with anything they said. You are a great friend to me, and you are beautiful. God loves you. Don’t believe what those bullies say.
Later, Kaela was helping Mom with the dishes. “Can we talk?” Kaela asked.
“Sure. What’s up?”
“Some people are being mean to Chandry online,” Kaela said. She dried her hands and pulled up the picture on the phone.
Mom frowned. “That’s so sad! Do Chandry’s parents know?”
“I don’t know.” Kaela pulled up her message to Chandry. “I sent her this, though.”
Mom read the message and hugged Kaela tightly. “She’s lucky to have a friend like you. Thanks for telling me about this. I’m going to call Chandry’s parents. It’s hard to deal with bullying by yourself.”
Kaela smiled, feeling very grateful for prayer and the song she had remembered. She knew Jesus wants everyone to be kind. That means online too.
What else could Kaela do to help her friend? Send your ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.