If you see it, you can stop it

For International Youth Day, UNICEF has released the results of a new global poll of more than 100,000 young people from more than 14 countries that shows two-thirds of young people have been bullied.

We asked Yeshna, a 18 year old blogger living Mauritius to write a reflection on the results and share her thoughts on bullying and why it continues to affect children in every region of the world.

Nerd. Loser. Ugly. Fake. Lame. Fat. Stupid. Worthless. Weak. Hopeless. Pathetic. If these words that so many use appeared on our skin, would we still feel ‘beautiful’?

According to a new global poll of more than 100,000 young people, almost nine in ten children and youth believe bullying is a problem. And two-thirds of children and young people have been victims of bullying.

Some people say that words do not hurt.

Well, words are like sharp blades, they cut and the emotional damage they cause can last forever. As a girl who has been put down for my views, for being ‘a nerd ‘or for just not fitting into people’s standards, I know what it feels like.

There are days where you feel so low that you don’t want to leave your room. There are nights where your insecurities haunt you and you have to pick up the broken pieces in the morning.

It is hard to imagine that two out of every three young people around the world feel this way. It is even harder to accept that one-third of respondents thought being bullied was normal so they did not tell anyone.

A young woman looking at the camera with a thimbs up
Yeshna is an 18-year-old student living in Mauritius.

Bullying has been part of school, and even workplaces, for years.  More recently, though, technology and social media have created a new avenue for bullying that has expanded its reach.

Over eight in 10 respondents believe that raising awareness, training teachers about bullying, and helping children to feel comfortable in reporting incidents are ways to address the issue in schools. Preventing and stopping bullying involves a commitment to creating a safe environment where children can thrive, socially and academically, without being scared. Teachers should be observant and monitor the activity of students closely. A culture of inclusion and respect should be established by implementing new rules and policies.

Parents also need to get involved to educate their children. If parents support victims and talk to perpetrators, the number of bullying cases will fall. Peers on the other hand, should not bully people, and lend a helping hand to all those who are bullied. If you can see bullying, you can stop it.

Love is stronger than hate. Get out of this bullying cycle and don’t try to fix yourself by tearing other people down. Together we can end this – adults, young adults, kids, whoever you are! Adults should acknowledge the fact bullying is never right and that is killing so many people. Bullying is not LOL, bullying is in fact deadly and poisonous. It breaks my heart when I see people saying “stop bullying” and then five seconds later they’re bullying someone. Take a stand. Lend a hand. Be a friend.

Yeshna is an 18-year-old student living in Mauritius. She is a blogger, a youth delegate, and a work in progress, who wishes to change the world, leave a mark and make it a better place.

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