CN Buddy Network encourages young people to “Be a buddy, not a bully,” aiming to raise awareness and empower kids to take action against bullying. Daley appears in an on-air campaign that debuts on Cartoon Network today and also includes an original series of animated shorts spotlighting the viewpoints of the bully, the bullied and the observer. The initiative is being launched in collaboration with ChildLine, a U.K. helpline that provides immediate advice and support to those in need.
Children can visit CartoonNetwork.co.uk/beabuddy for more information, resources and professional advice. They can also watch the original animated shorts and video messages from Daley, English rapper Tinie Tempah and ChildLine ambassador and volunteer counselor Anna Williamson on Cartoon Network UK’s YouTube channel.
Daley commented: “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. 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.”
Williamson noted: “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 safety 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.”
Ian McDonough, the senior VP and managing director of Turner Broadcasting for Northern Europe, added: “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. 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.”