How to deal with bullying – an interview with Ronan Parke
Ronan Parke hit the British television screens in 2011, when at just 12 years old he stole the heart of the nation after receiving a standing ovation during his first audition for the ITV show Britain's Got Talent.
After finishing the national competition in second place, he landed a joint recording contract with Sony Music and Syco Music which led to the release of his first album Ronan Parke in 2011. He has since released a number of singles, including Defined, a song with a strong anti-bullying message that urges young people to not allow others to determine who they are.
It was during the release of this particular single that Ronan's relationship with Kidscape formed. Due to the strong links between Kidscape's values and the lyrics of Defined, Ronan generously chose Kidscape to be a beneficiary of this release. Throughout this relationship, Ronan has bravely spoken out about his own experiences of cyber bullying after becoming a public figure, and reached out to young people to encourage them to think about how their actions may affect others, and persuade targets of bullying to seek support from family and trusted friends.
Ronan became a Kidscape ambassador in 2014 and continues to speak out about bullying. Here he speaks exclusively to Kidscape about his experiences throughout this time.
Why did you choose to work with Kidscape?
They work very closely with children who are going through a hard time because of bullying and it is hard to find organisations that specialise in helping young people deal with this. It is essential to have people to talk to when experiencing bullying and the Kidscape team are the people. They dedicate so much time and passion into what they do and I find it truly inspiring.
Sometimes people are bullied for their hobbies and passions, which can sadly make them want to avoid the things they love. Is this something you experienced?
Actually, no. Singing is my passion and that helped me through bullying. It is almost a sense of relief when I sing. I forget everything else that is going on in my life. Having something to focus on can encourage you to ignore the bullies and realise that you are worth something and that there are so many more important things in life.
What helped you to overcome the negative effects of bullying?
My fans were so supportive and I am so thankful for that. I have an incredible family who I can always open up to. I also had a team of people around me who were helping me through different challenges I was faced with, but not everyone has that.
I would definitely recommend talking to a family member or a friend. It's not always easy opening up about being bullied, because you can sometimes feel weak. But people need to understand that being bullied is not a weakness. My mum always said to me that people talking about you only means one thing - that you are more important and relevant than anything else going on around you. Positive thinking always helps and it's sayings like that which can just make you realise that you are more important and special than you think.
What would you say to young people who are experiencing cyber bullying?
Try your very best to ignore it, even though it's not always easy. Some people used to pick on me because they didn't think I was strong. When I stood up for myself, they weren't expecting it. Standing up for yourself is key, but that doesn't mean you have to get into an argument with the bullies, you just have to know your worth and be confident. Don't let people get you down. And of course, speak to someone you trust as they can help. I promise you, that keeping things locked inside never helps. Be brave.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Be whoever you want to be, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The same goes for everyone. No matter someone's race, gender, sexuality or beliefs - everyone can be exactly who they want to be.
If you, your child or someone you know is experiencing bullying or cyber bullying, please follow the links below for a range of advice and information.
For young people
- Watch our #DontSayDontSend cyber bullying video
- Dealing with bullying
- Dealing with cyber bullying
- Friendships and frenemies