by Raquel French

Many years ago Benjamin Franklin told us: “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

In these days, because of social media, these numbers are just so much bigger. Facebook has almost two billion users. That’s almost 30% of the world’s population.

When you log onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they seem to portray a perfect life. Many of us only post those wonderful or perfect moments. Doing well in sport, getting a prize at school, or just doing well in life. But does everyone live a perfect life? How many times do you see someone post about a fight? How many times do you post something about a failure? It has become so easy to have secrets in the twenty-first century. So many people are keeping secrets. However, I dare to ask, do we really want to know about all of those bad things? Perhaps some secrets are better unknown.

Perhaps a secret that should be exposed is bullying. This is something that has existed throughout the ages. It can be, and sometimes is, stopped. But often people who see and know about bullying don’t tell anyone. They keep it a secret. Whether its because they’re scared of being bullied themselves, or don’t want to be unpopular. And let’s be honest, we’ve all done this. Maybe we thought someone else would report it, or we were scared we would be bullied ourselves or become unpopular. Whatever the reason it’s still not right. Keeping a secret like bullying, and not doing anything about it, is also bullying.

Often keeping secrets is difficult. I have an uncle who spilled oil paint in the garage when he was a young boy. He decided he could clean it himself – with water. Let’s just say that he learned that oil paint and water don’t mix well! So, he thought that if he just closed up the garage and pretended nothing had happened, this would be his little secret. A while later he learned that this type of secret is difficult to keep, especially when your tired father comes home and wants to park his car in an awfully​ messy garage.

So, we’ve learned that some secrets may be good, but keeping secrets isn’t always the best thing to do.

This leaves me with my last secret that I want to share with you: If your​ very best friend ever asks you to spill your deepest, darkest secret, you can turn around and tell them that you can’t. If you do, it won’t be your deepest, darkest secret anymore, will it? And you don’t want to lie to your very best friend, do you?

Raquel French is a Grade 7 learner who presented this text as a speech for a competition. She was given a prestige award for her ‘effective discussion about bullying’.