For us, the prevalence of bullying is one of the many reasons we don't send our children to school, yet they have still experienced it on a small scale in playgrounds, groups, parties or at soft play. The silly stuff like talking about you, mocking what you say, pulling faces, ignoring you when you speak, that kind of thing. But that low level mocking is how it starts, and within a culture that accepts criticism of others based on weight, perceived beauty, age, gender, sexuality, race and colour, bullying becomes almost accepted and considered 'normal'.
This week is National Anti-Bullying Week, and to mark the week Cartoon network have teamed up with Childline, the NSPCC’s leading UK helpline for children and young people. Together they are launching the CN Buddy Network, a nationwide initiative which helps kids and young people take positive action against bullying. The initiative will offer them immediate access to professional advice, relevant tips and support tools, which can be found online at Cartoonnetwork.co.uk/beabuddy.
Bullying has been the main reason for children aged 11 and under to seek counselling from Childline over the past decade, with 24% of all Childline counselling sessions in 2015/16 being bully related.
Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline said:
"Bullying, whether it occurs online or in person, can have a devastating impact on young people. It can affect their confidence, their work, leave them feeling isolated and friendless, and even make them feel life is not worth living. That’s why Childline is delighted to be partnering with Cartoon Network to support their anti-bullying campaign, CN Buddy Network."
As part of the CN Buddy Network launch, Cartoon Network has unveiled an original series of animated shorts voiced by children who, in their own words, articulate positive messages around friendship, school and appreciating differences. Which one is your favourite?
Here's the children's advice on what to do when there's a new kid on the block:
To mark National Anti-Bullying Week, the Cartoon Network and Childline initiative encourages kids and young people to "Be a Buddy, Not a Bully" because we are all different, and that's a good thing.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and empower young people to take positive action against bullying, so watch the videos and have that important conversation with your child today.
Ian McDonough, SVP and MD, Turner Northern Europe commented:
"As the Childline reports show, bullying is a very real and, sadly, growing issue for children and young people today. Our Cartoon Network audience fall within the prime age group experiencing bullying and it is hugely important for us to address this in a way that is positive, supportive and relevant. This year’s series of bespoke “Be a Buddy” animations make use of real thoughts and commentary from kids, which we hope will be really powerful and engaging for their peers."
Bullying remains a major concern for all of our children, we owe it to them to make this world a better place. Take the time to talk to them about bullying and encourage them to visit Cartoonnetwork.co.uk/beabuddy for more information, resources, professional advice and tips. Cartoon Network UK’s YouTube channel features the original animated shorts and video messages from triathlon stars Jonathan & Alistair Brownlee, Tom Daley, Tinie Tempah and Childline ambassador and volunteer counsellor, Anna Williamson.