Imagine walking home from school and a black van pulls up right beside you. A random man grabs you by the waist putting his hand right onto your mouth. Hopeless. Scared. Your heart falling all the way to the pit of your stomach. Your eyes clenched shut together, thinking that this will be the last time your alive. Next thing you know your given a gun and are told to kill many innocent people. Your only 7 years old. This is the lives of about 300,000 children in the world. Many of which who are risking their lives every day fighting other people’s war. Just in the promise of having food every night. These child soldiers are involved in wars full of fear, poverty, and many hardships. Okay so let me tell you a little story so basically this weekend I opened up my laptop and went onto a news website and surprisingly I found more news articles about legalizing drugs and lowering the age for legal drinking than I did about child soldiers. Okay, see that’s my first issue with this so-called “humanitarian” world. We care more about drugs than we do other human beings. Since the mid-1990’s, the world has watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of children and young teenagers have participated in nearly 50 wars. Children as young as 5 have served in combat, and thousands of abducted young girls have been forced into sexual slavery. Some terrorist groups even strap explosive-rigged vests onto children and send them off as suicide bombers.Recruiting children for military purposes can be very dangerous both physically and mentally for many different reasons. Children’s development and well being are disrupted when they are drawn into violence. Recruited children, particularly those used in armed violence, run a high risk of being killed or maimed and suffering serious psychological and social problems afterward. For example, many children suffer from PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, suicidal tendencies. Even a child’s feelings of frustration, anger, shame, and low self-esteem could risk psychological difficulties, and function impairment. An example of this would be the exposure to war and sex slavery in DRC. Queen Alphonsine was 13 years old when she had been recruited to the People’s Alliance For Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS). She had fought for 2 years. But when she had returned home, she found being a former girl soldier carried a deep stigma. She was ostracized by her family when she returned home. Her community shunned her. In many aspects, girls are transgressed as their gender roles because they have been in the military environment, which is traditionally seen as a masculine domain. They are not seen as proper women any longer. Survivors of trauma often become hypersensitive and easily triggered in innocuous situations. Children who are exposed to traumatic events have more neural connections created in regions of their brain that involve fear, anxiety, and impulsiveness- while fewer are created in regions that involve reasoning, planning and behavioral control. Therefore a readjustment into a normal environment is immensely difficult as they are not able to cope with the stress, as they’re constantly reminded of the tragic events. The common stereotype of child soldiers is that they are all a part of active combats but there is much more to that. Not all children are engaged in active combat. Many used as porters, cooks, as mothers and wives, sex slaves, spies and as suicide bombers. The second stereotype is that all children fight for rebel groups. Well, that is also highly incorrect. Many government forces use child soldiers in armed conflicts. Many countries include Burma, Sri Lanka Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo)The biggest misconception is that all boys serve as child soldiers but that is completely wrong. More than 40% of child soldiers are girls Who is the next generation of the world? Well… It’s those child soldiers who are constantly being told that their next meal will be when they pull the trigger. But, This is their time to go to school and get their education, play outside with a group of their friends, go watch a movie, and stay up till dawn at sleepovers. But many have only known to wrap their fingers around a gun in constant fear of their lives. It upsets me that the media feed us careless stories and diverts our attention from the real problem. The real crisis that affects not only a few a few people but the world as a whole. In Northern America, we are so fortunate to not have known of such circumstances. So let’s support the cause so others children don’t have to know what it’s like to take a life. Because in the end they fight like soldiers but die like children.