British Olympic diver Tom Daley has teamed up with Cartoon Network to launch the next phase of the CN Buddy Network anti-bullying campaign.
Launching today to tie in with national anti-bullying week, the initiative encourages kids to ‘be a buddy, not a bully’ and aims to raise awareness and empower them to take action against bullying.
Cartoon Network is collaborating with ChildLine on the campaign as bullying remains the top concern among children aged 11 and under, with one in four in the age group contacting ChildLine about bullying in the last year, a two per cent increase year on year.
Tom Daley is appearing in an on-air campaign on Cartoon Network premiering today. The campaign includes an original series of animated shorts addressing the viewpoints of the bully, the bullied and the observer.
“I jumped at the chance to work with Cartoon Network and ChildLine on this as I know only too well what it feels like to be bullied," said Daley.
"I had things thrown at me at school and was rugby tackled on the school field for no reason and it made me feel terrible. It made me question whether I wanted to be a diver if it meant suffering in this way as a consequence. It was such a relief when I finally told someone.
“My advice; if you’re being bullied, or you know someone that is, please remember that it’s not your fault and you’re not alone. Bullying is never acceptable and there is nothing shameful about asking for help – speaking up is the first step in making things better.”
Kids affected by bullying can access professional advice, relevant tips and support tools online at Cartoonnetwork.co.uk/beabuddy.
“Our work with ChildLine has reaffirmed the fact that many of our Cartoon Network audience are affected by bullying every single day, whether in person or online," added Ian McDonough, SVP and MD, Turner Broadcasting, Northern Europe.
"This is a very real issue and it’s important to us to address it in any way we can to show our viewers that there is help and support out there. Our series of short anti-bullying cartoons and Tom Daley PSA gently address the issue, encouraging kids to talk about their experiences, be a good friend and offer support to others.”
ChildLine ambassador and volunteer, Anna Williamson, added: "Bullying is still one of the most common issues that children call ChildLine about but the difference is that nowadays it can follow children wherever they are. It’s not just in the playgrounds or on the way to and from school.
"It’s in their pockets – it follows them on their phones, on social networks as well as face to face and the 24 hour nature of it can be relentless. For some children it seems like there’s no escape which can cause anxiety and distress. It is so important that we, as adults, take time to listen to our children and help support them through bullying issues.
"It is also important to keep up with online issues so we can help children navigate safely settings and block unwanted contact. And if children feel they can’t talk to anyone, they can always contact ChildLine, 24/7 for confidential advice and support."