Why Are Teenagers Committing Suicide Over On-Line Bullying

Today logged on to Twitter for my morning peruse on the view of the world through the eyes of those that tweet about it. It was the usual mix of news,sport, satire and happy clapper celebrities with their shameless self promotion. Then I came across this from Jeremy Vine:

Initially I didn’t know who Dolly was but clicking on the hashtag soon brought me this this BBC news story – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-42631208#_=_. It made me shudder. I shed a tear and it brutally brough home to me how vulnerable my own 14 and 13 year old daughters actually are.

I re-tweeted Mr Vine’s tweet adding my own thoughts:

I got a bit of a surprise when Mr Vine re-tweeted my re-tweet of his original tweet (you may want to read that twice!). My phone started lighting up like Christmas tree with notifications. People who follow him liking and further re-tweeting my re-tweet. It was then I realised this subject really has struck a nerve.

When I was at school I suffered some low level bullying. Nothing that ever went too far (unless you count the “boxing match” I was persuaded to get into where I got walloped in front of an amused crowd) but sometimes enough to mean I was grateful to reach to sanctuary of home in the afternoon after school. 

Teenagers today, or rather those using social media (which is most of them), no longer have that sanctuary. They are still connected to all those people they left behind at school or on the school bus. They don’t have that escape. They could turn their phones off, but then they have to use the computer for homework, the temptation to check in on social media is there. Or emails, yes they are still a thing to teenagers!

When our eldest was born I was 23 and it was 2003. Social media wasn’t really on my radar although I think I was aware of MSN Messenger which essentially was an early form of social media. My research tells me that there was a a social media platform called Hi5, launched that year, but some 15 years later I’ve never heard of it! I had been working in IT for 3 years when she was born and the internet for me was for email and a source of information when asking Jeeves was still acceptable. I did use Friends Reunited, and of course looking back this was an early form of social media. It wasn’t until 2007 did I join Facebook. Going back further still though I didn’t experience the Internet at all until I was 16 and started work and it was a while later before I got it at home.

My point being is that I, nor my wife, didn’t go through our teenage years with social media and all the negativity it can bring. There is no doubt that social media is a good thing and has positive sides (where else would I get my daily dose of cat videos?) such as keeping up with family and friends for example. But everything has a dark side; social media platforms are like cities and all cities have really nice areas and really shitty ones, they have really nice friendly people and those that you’d just rather not share oxygen with.

Our teenage girls weren’t allowed the platforms they are on until they reached the age requirement of 13. That’s a start as far too many parent’s allow their kids to sign up using a false date of birth and I know of 9/10 years old on Facebook and Instagram – that’s wrong, totally wrong. They also know they are only allowed to use it on the proviso we as parent’s have access to their accounts and police it – how many parents do that? I recently saw a post on Facebook (oh the irony) from a friend who was saying happy birthday to his teenage son (he was 13 – the age requirement for Facebook) and he stated he didn’t know which one of his sons Facebook accounts was in use – the one that says he is 18 or the one that says he is 23! Shocking!

But of course social media has long arms. You might not realise that YouTube is essentially a form of social media with comments and messaging. My girls watch vlogs, and I take not of what they’re watching and check on that. Just last week we had a YouTube celebrity post a video of him discovering the body of a suicide victim in Japan – he actually posted that on YouTube. Kids are watching this shit you know! That channel is banned in our house now but realistically can we police everything they could see?

But what can we do about it? If social media platforms increase the age requirements people will just keep faking their date of birth. Limit it to 18 and verify age with a debit or credit card? Maybe, but I really can’t see that happening this side of never. I have no solutions to offer other than if parent’s are going to allow their children on social media then you must police it, you must monitor it, you must talk to you children about it and you must ensure they are safe. If you are not prepared to do all of that then don’t let them have it – it’s that simple. And, the moment you sniff that something is wrong take it away. Don’t be afraid to do that at all. 

Statistics of where cyber bullying takes place

I’m focusing on social media but of course cyber-bullying isn’t limited to that. There is text and other instant messaging apps and gaming of course. It’s everywhere and unavoidable unless you cut yourself off completely.

Teenagers, or children, and social media will forever be a talking point and one that will constantly raise issues. What’s your view? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll leave you with this infographic that summerises what we need to get into our kids heads when it comes to social media.

Thanks for reading.

Parents – Teach Your Kids to Cook

November 17, 2017 at 07:38PMNot long ago our usually excellent (by that I mean distinctly average) meal planning plunged to a new depths. You know those days when all plans unravel and change. Well, on one such day I came home from work, just after 5pm, and was greeted with having to whip up a meal for the 6 of us. You know, just like that. I don’t mind, I love to cook.

But, throw into the mix it was a Thursday and the cupboard and fridge we low on stocks what would I cook? Easy, every dads best friend – pasta. I produced a beautiful, Michelin Star restaurant standard spaghetti carbonara in about 20 minutes. Onion, bacon, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese (or cheddar if like us you like your carbonara distinctly English), salkt, pepper and of course spaghetti. Simple.

This week the eldest (14) girl got to make us all a meal. It was chicken Kievs and chips. The Kievs were frozen but she did make her own oven chips (let’s call them Italian potatoes to give them an edge). It was a perfectly enjoyable and tasty meal. The following night it was the turn of the 13 year old. Now, I thought the plan was cottage pie (i.e. shepherds pie but made with beef mince instead). However, on getting home it was to be carbonara and I was making it. “Oh no I’m not,” I insisted in pantomime fashion. I set about instructing the 13 y/o how to make this simple, yet delightful meal. First, chop the bacon into small pieces…..this is where it went wrong.

After 10 or so minutes the bacon was still being chopped and the meal was still as far in the distance as England winning a world cup. I had to step in. So I helped (read took over). I diced the onions, chopped the garlic and got it all going in the pan. Put the spaghetti on and then showed her how to seperate the egg yolks. She grated the cheese and then when it was all ready I put it together. Kind of a team effort in the end I guess.

My point is I have failed as a parent here. I should have been teaching them these simple cooking skills for a while not and haven’t – probably because they show zero interest in learning them and you can teach somebody who doesn’t want to be taught. But I still have failed.

So, in a not-so-new-years-resolution style I am determined to show them how to cook simple, hearty, healthy, balanced, delicious meals from scratch and not simply removing a pizza from a box and putting it in the oven.

Why I Won’t Stop My Kids Drinking Sugary Drinks

You must have seen the commotion caused as the makers of IRN-BRU announced that they are altering the recipe of their popular drink to reduce the sugar content in there famous drink from 10% sugar to 5% sugar and replace it with artificial sweetners. If not then take a look at Sky News.

Now the title of this post might suggest that my children drink sugary drinks until they are higher than an addict of something far more sinister. Actually that’s not the truth at all.

We generally don’t buy fizzy drinks at home. We might get the odd bottle of Pepsi Max but that’s about it until Christmas or a special occasion. But the thing is this is our choice and that is the point I would like to make,


As an adult I make choices every day. As a parent those choices also affect my children. We make choices and that is our right to do so. This is whether the nanny-state starts to get on my wick just a bit.

The sugar tax. Oh I hate that terms and I hate that smarmy Jamie Oliver for his link to it even more. We don’t need taxes or laws limiting what we buy – not at all. What we need is people to understand balance. i eat a balanced diet, as do my children. Is there sugar and fat in there – yes absolutely. Is there a good mix of healthier stuff thrown is – oh hell yes. Why not?

We educate our children to eat a balanced diet. We let them have a bag of crisp, but we ask that they limit it to only one in any day. There might be a chocolate biscuit after a meal, but there’s also fruit that is eaten. It’s a balance.

I am actually offended that our Government chooses this route of bullying us to do things rather that educating. Those of us that are balanced and careful and try to do the right thing are being punished because there are idiots out there who dont’ give a flying fart about their, or their children’s, health. Thanks for that, another case of the few spoiling it for the many.

I’m off now to buy a can of IRN-BRU….

Thanks for reading and I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.


A Happy Musical Christmas

You may have noticed my post on Instagram recently where I had bought this years Christmas Radio Times. We don’t generally buy TV listings magazines, and nor do we buy the weekend newspapers that usually contain their own variety so it’s not often we plan ahead what we watch on TV. In fact, for over a year now we’ve predominantly consumed our TV viewing on Amazon Prime and Netflix via our Amazon FireTV stick so we’re no longer following a TV listing anyway.

But, at this time of year which lots of visual TV delights to choose from it’s nice to peruse the Radio Times to see what’s to come. I particularly like the specials films section, even though with the above mentioned streaming services with thousands of films to choose from it’s nice to see what’s coming to terrestrial TV. With that, I like that the genre of film is also listed and being a family of musicals lovers I have mapped out a Christmas musical journey for us – here’s where we are going.

Christmas Eve

Bugsy Malone (ITV3 11:35am)
Who doesn’t love a bit of Bugsy? This is a great film for all the family and my foot is tapping already to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam.



Oklahoma (Channel 5 1:35pm)
A Wild West cowboy love story – what’s not to love about that?!




Guys and Dolls (BBC2 3:20pm)
I’ve never actually seen this one so it’s another one to tick off for me!



Christmas Day

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Channel 5 11:05am)
The premise of this film is a hard sell for me and in modern day terms is a tad sexist but still an enjoyable movie all the same.



Singing in the Rain (Channel 5 1:05pm)
It’s Signing in the Rain for goodness sake – it needs no introduction from me!



Oliver! (Channel 5 3:10pm)
“Please sie, can I have some more?”. Love this film, but o that Bill Sykes is a nasty piece of work!

Boxing Day

A Hard Day’s Night (BBC2 11.55am)
I’m not exactly a Beatles fan and I’ve never seen this so I’ll give it a go with an open mind.




The Little Mermaid (Channel 4 4:20pm)
Delilah’s favourite movie and one we shall definitely be watching!

Crimbo Limbo

Sunshine on Leith (Channel4 27th December 1:15pm)
I have to admit I’d never heard of this film until I caught the back end of it one night on Channel 4. I do love a good Proclaimers song so if you do do then this is one to watch.

New Years Eve

Into the Woods (BBC2 8pm)
This was such a promising movie with an awesome cast. We’re still not sure about it though if I’m honest. But, the waterfall see with these two signing Agony is worth it!




What to watch on TV this Christmas

I remember as a boy that my Mum would always buy both the Radio Times  and the TV Times Christmas editions. It always made me giggle with excitement as this event meant Christmas was not very far away and I would spend a good long while pouring over both books ensuring I knew exactly which films to watch and when the Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials were on. Back in those days we only had 4 TV channels (yes, I come from a time before Channel 5) and my parents didn’t see the point in having Sky TV so TV life was pretty simple for us. It wasn’t until 1990 that my parents dragged themselves into the technological worlds and purchased out first VCR! So, with these memories making me smile and it being my last working day of the year (I’ll be at my works Christmas party when this post goes live) I thought I would share what we will be watching this Christmas.

Admittedly, in this day and age with terrestrial TV, Sky+, Amazon Prime and Netflix to choose from in our house the schedule is a bit different as we are no bound by the schedule the TV broadcaster set. So, I’ll list what we’ll be watching by service.


  • Elf: The Musical – Live on Stage (23rd December 5pm, Channel 5)
  • It’s Christmas Live From The Royal Albert Hall (23rd December 8pm, Sky 1)
  • All Star Musicals (24th December 6:40pm, ITV1)
  • Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (24th December 8:30pm, BBC1)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (25th December 9:25am, ITV1)
  • Toy Story 3 (25th December 1:20pm, BBC1)
  • Call The Midwife Christmas Special (25th December 7:40pm BBC)
  • Strictly Christmas Special (25th 6:30pm BBC)
  • ET the Extra-Terestrial (26th December 3:30pmm ITV1)
  • Little Women (Starts 26th December 8pm BBC)
  • Grandpa’s Great Escape (New Year’s Day 6:55pm BBC)
  • Christmas Bake Off Special (25th December & 1st January 7:40pm Ch4)
  • Miranda Does Christmas (27th December 9pm Ch4)

Amazon Prime

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (just in case I miss it on Christmas Days on ITV1)
    Possibly my favourite Christmas film. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and still laugh at the ridiculousness of it every time and I’m hoping that my love for the film will spread to the girls. But, there is also an important message in there (somewhere).
  • Nativity 3 Dude, Where’s my Donkey?!
    I know what you’re thinking – what about the first two Nativity films? Well we’ve watched them already in December and now I’m happy to see that Nativity 3 is included with Prime.

  • Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’
  • Elf
  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
    We’ve watched this already because we love it. It’s a great film and I am sure will be a classic in time (if not already).
  • Arthur Christmas
    I won’t lie, again we’ve watched this already in December. It’s a great movie and we’ll definitely watch it again before festive season is over.