At Virtually S@fe we get to meet a lot of people (we’re lucky like that). We are continually inspired by many of the young people we work with who often speak with strength, honesty and integrity about issues that affect them. One person that we know through the Torbay Social Media Café #TSMCafe is a young volunteer called Kezia.

Kezia is 16 years old and passionate about stopping bullying. She volunteers at the #TSMCafe and tries to explain some of the dangers associated with the internet to those using social media. Kezia has written a piece on bullying that we thought was excellent. So with her permission, here it is:

Have you ever been called “ugly”? Have you ever been called “fat”? Has someone made you feel totally insecure about your appearance? Everyone in this room has probably been bullied at least once in their life.

It’s not the best feeling is it? It makes one feel insecure, humiliated and very uncomfortable. It has the power to destroy lives, mentally and physically.

Studies have showed that 1 out of 6 students are harassed or bullied at least once a week in English schools. An alarming fact is that 40% of suicide victims had been bullied at school. Bullying behaviour is no longer confined to the school room or playground but throughout adulthood as well. Bullying behaviour can be communicated via text, mobile phones, internet, social networking sites, and forums and so on.

There are many types of bullying, you may think calling some a nasty name is what bullying is all about but there is more to bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem in our society today. Victims are not the problem, the bullies are. So why do bullies bully?

There are a lot of reasons why some people bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge. Some people bully to get attention, or to make other people afraid of them. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. They may be being bullied themselves. Some bullies don’t understand how damaging their behaviour is and how it makes the person being bullied feel. Bullies just like the feeling of being powerful and in control.

Sometimes it’s hard to work out why bullies pick on some people but one thing is for sure, it’s not the fault of the person who is being picked on. Bullies generally go for people who are different in any way it could be physical, mentally, religion culture or sexuality. Anyone who seems like an easy target. People who are smaller or younger than the bully. People who are sensitive, who may cry or get upset. Someone who does not have many friends or maybe new in the area. A bully can also be an older person, or someone in a position of power such as a teacher, parent or boss.

Something needs to be done to stop people using the power of bullying to make others feel bad.

There are many different things people might be able to do if they are being bullied. Different strategies can work in different situations. If you are being bullied you might try and work it out by yourself. However, if the bullying doesn’t stop you might find it helpful to ask someone else for advice and help. Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied – they can help you. If no one believes or takes you seriously tell someone else, keep telling people until someone helps you.

What can you do if you see someone else being bullied?

If you see someone else being bullied you should always try to stop it. If you do nothing, you’re saying that bullying is okay with you.It’s always best to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

You should show the bully that you think what they’re doing is stupid and mean. Help the person being bullied to tell an adult they can trust.

To all those people who get a thrill or feel powerful when they pick on someone or call someone a nasty name like ‘you fat ugly pig’ you need to take a long look at yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are bullying. How would you feel if you were told ‘you are worthless’ or ‘you are ugly’. How would you feel knowing that every day you come to school you will be kicked and pushed? How would you feel if the person you have been bullying for months committed suicide because they could not cope with the put downs, could you really live with yourself?

Next time you feel the urge to have a go at someone, just stop and think for one second WHAT AM I DOING? What are the consequences of my actions? Maybe you can be a better person and not need the power of bullying.

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