Bullying isn’t a new concept in the realm of teenagers, and it certainly isn’t in the Jacksonville area. There’s been plenty of stories of parents pulling their children out of both private and public schools alike because of the bullying that occurs in these learning environments. Over 20% of students say they’ve experienced bullying and over 70% have witnessed their peers being bullied. Rude comments, sarcastic remarks, and even side eye glances can have a profound effect on young people’s minds and self confidence.

But, where does this bullying originate from? Some may say it comes from social media or the more cliquish nature of this generation of children, but there is a much bigger problem.

Teenagers don’t simply pick up this type of behavior midway through their life, it is carefully developed. This type of hatred is born and nurtured at home. Yes, the one place that’s supposed to be loving and inviting is the primary location where bullying begins. This bullying appears in different forms, from sibling rivalries and family drama, to parents coming home and gossiping about the neighbors or a coworker that was extra annoying today. Children pick up on this type of behavior from a very young age, and can sense emotions like anger and fear before they’re even a year old. Because of this, it’s extremely important that parents surround a child with positive emotions and experiences to insure negative behavior doesn’t develop.

Unfortunately, parents of children aren’t the only ones to blame for the development of this sinister behavior. Every adult, whether they are around children or not, has some effect on the future generation’s behavior. People like celebrities and political leaders are especially to blame. These role models teach children how to behave as adults, and often shape their opinions and ideals. Almost every person talks about politics nowadays, and if not through word of mouth, there are hundreds of commercials shown on television. Politicians use tactics like name calling, rumor spreading, and reputation bashing to help them achieve their goals. What kind of thoughts is this type of behavior putting into the minds of those that look up to them? To say hateful words in order to better yourself or to make you happier? This certainly doesn’t reflect a positive outlook onto children, and it often fills them with fear and anxiety. This makes young people fearful and hopeless for the future and it begs the question, what type of world do we live in that allows people to openly hate others without a real reason? And if the leaders of today can do it, then why not the leaders of tomorrow? This behavior deceives people into thinking that hatred is good, and so the bullying begins.

The world doesn’t need to be filled with anymore hate then it already is. The world needs to open their doors to greet the next generation with love and understanding, instead of bolting them shut. We need to discover the cause of this hate and how to minimize the affects it has on children. Once the family environment learns to become loving and embrace new ideas, then it will help teach people the right way to treat others is and to be compassionate towards them. Together we can change this world from a world of hate, to a world of love.

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Dailey Jackson was born and raised in Jacksonville and currently attends Bishop Kenny High School. She’s involved in multiple service clubs and organizations and is a Student Ambassador for the Holocaust Learning and Educational Fund. Among other activities, she also writes for the Kenny newspaper, The Shield, and plays in the Drumline. She’s entering her junior year and after graduating she plans to become a chemical engineer. As a high schooler, Dailey is very passionate about the issues teens face and how to address them. She’s looking forward to spreading awareness about current issues and concerns in the Jacksonville community.

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