A brand new Youth Risk Behavior Survey was just taken by the Idaho Department of Education and the results may be a little shocking.  Out of every single state in the entire United States of America, Idaho comes in as the worst state, that's right, dead last when it comes to our youth being cyberbullied.

Some of you parents are very aware of this issue because it's your child that's coming home depressed, crying, disconnected, or a combination of so many other symptoms related to being bullied at school or online.  Most of you parents have no idea it's happening and a lot of parents have no idea when it's their child that's doing the bullying.

There's been a lot of talk about the issues of bullying over the past decade and people are becoming aware of how serious this problem is and awareness is the first step with improvement, but it's not enough.  We need to take action.  We, as parents, and as community leaders and role models need to STOP bullying in all shapes and forms.

The survey just released states that 21.1% of kids in the state of Idaho have been or will be cyberbullied.  That's more than one in five.  Young girls are getting it the worst with more than 30% of them here in Idaho being cyberbullied.  It generally starts with rumors or that so-and-so is a rude person and that escalates to name calling, lies, and deep, dark accusations that are usually so far from the truth that it leads these young kids down the darkest of paths.

We're all so worried about gun control or no gun control or implementing plans of action in the schools to protect our kids, our teachers, even ourselves.  We sometimes forget that it all starts in the home.  What are you teaching your kids?  Do they think of bullying as just something they may or may not do at school or in public or in person or do they understand that bullying comes in so many different forms?  Are we teaching our kids about how dangerous WORDS can and are?  Even if they're not meant quite the way we think.  Are we setting the example or do we come home from work and complain at the dinner table about our interactions through the day?  Do we ooze negativity instead of positivity?

None of this is our faults, right?  We're just trying to spark conversation with the family.  We don't really mean half of what we say and even if we do we probably don't mean it the way people, especially kids interpret it as.

Our children are crying out for help.  They're lost in this world of social media and billboards and signs and media and noise and they need us.  They need us to help.  Not be perfect but to be there, all the time, teaching, talking, and loving them.  We're all learning together but we have to do better.  We cannot be lazy and hope and pray that our kids just figure it out.  Figure it out together.  Keep an open dialogue going about their day and their actions and what they've seen and experienced.  I know, I know, it's hard.  My 14-year-old son gives me one-word replies to just about anything and everything I throw at him but that doesn't give me the excuse to give up.  How can I give up?  He's everything to me and there are no second chances with what I do in raising him.  Someday he'll be a man and hopefully a good one.  That's up to him, but it's my job to give him the very best shot at becoming the very best person he can be.