September 16 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Norfolk teenage singing star Ronan Parke has told of the scary and shocking cyber-bullying he experienced as a 12-year-old on TV’s Britain’s Got Talent.
Now 15, Ronan has released a new single in aid of anti-bullying charity Kidscape.
1. Communication with your child is essential. Reassure them that they can always come to you if something upsets them online.
2. Make sure your child doesn’t give out personal information online. If they give out their mobile number or internet alias to people they don’t know, there is an increased chance of being attacked by cyberbullies.
3. Make sure that you know how to block and report online bullying. You can take screen shots of conversations or messages to save as evidence.
4. Don’t try and prevent your child from using computers or mobile phones. It won’t stop the bullying happening and it will make them resent you.
Instead, keep the family computer in a communal room and encourage some screen-free time where your child is not using their phone, tablet or computer.
5. Let your child’s school know about the bullying. It is a legal requirement for every school to have an anti-bullying policy and cyber bullying should be discussed within the document. Even if the bullying is not happening during school hours, a responsible person at the school should be made aware of it so that they can take steps at school to identify those responsible and follow the agreed procedures.
Kidscape’s helpline (08451 205204) for parents of children experiencing bullying of any kind is open Monday-Thursday from 10am-4pm.
Half of the profits from ‘Defined’ will be going to the charity, which hopes to be able to support thousands more young people who are being bullied.
“When I was on the show I did experience bullying on social media,” he said. “Because I was on one of the biggest shows in the country I expected people to be talking about me but it was shocking because I didn’t expect the name-calling and threats.
“Because I was on the show I was having such a great time and I was focused on that, but it was after that it hit me.
“It was really upsetting and it was scary as well, especially the threats.
“It was mostly name-calling but some of the threats were quite scary and I got help from people who I was working with so I’ve dealt with it now.”
When he first appeared the show, Ronan was just 12 years old, so the bullying was even more difficult to handle.
“It was hard to deal with because of my age and I think what I needed to do was to tell people and when I finally did it helped me. If I was to give somebody advice I’d say definitely tell somebody so they can help you, tell somebody you trust.
“The aim of this song is to give people strength to be able to tell someone and I think that’s difficult when you’re being bullied because you lose confidence.”
Ronan’s experience with bullying inspired him to work with writers on a song which would give young people the strength to talk about what they were going through and to become stronger than the bullies. When Kidscape heard the track the idea to make it into a charity single was formed. Nikki Kerr, the charity’s head of fundraising said they were delighted to benefit from sales of Ronan’s single.
“He’s such a great talent and a lovely young man,” she said. “We’ve been able to spread our message to his fans and other young people as well and the release of our first charity single is a great way to start the New Year.
“People who are bullied often keep it a secret for so long for fear of the bullying getting worse, but they need to be strong. Bullies thrive on silence. We run sessions for young people who have suffered from bullying where they can come along with a parent and talk about what they’ve gone through and work on their confidence and self-esteem.
“90% of young people on our course are not bullied again and the sales from this single will go towards helping us fund more of these sessions.”
Ronan say’s he’s already seen fans messaging each other and talking about their experiences of bullying. “They’ve said that this has helped them overcome it, that’s all I wanted from this song, to help. People have already said that it’s helping them, they’ve spoken about their experiences and it just shows how brave my fans are. If they can speak to each other, it just shows that you can speak to somebody, you can get help.”
The charity was the first in the UK established specifically to prevent emotional, physical and cyber bullying and works with young people nationwide. To find out more, visit www.kidscape.org.uk.