The anti-bullying slogan “Don’t be mean behind the screen” was singer Rich Cottell’s big message to students on his tour.
Emphasising the need to combat cyber bullying and pay attention to on-line safety Rich told Weald School pupils about his passion for getting the message across.
Rich, a recently signed singer-songwriter who has supported acts such as The Wanted and Conor Maynard, visited Billingshurst as part of his year-long online “Safety and Cyber Bullying School Tour” in partnership with Life Skills Education CIC.
Rich told the students: “It’s about delivering a positive message and empowering kids to stay safe online.” The school said that his musical performance, along with his infectious ‘feel good’ attitude reinforced the theme that the school was already delivering to students.
Rich spoke openly about his experience of cyber bullying, explaining the significant effect it can have on individuals and the pressures young people face online, in particular the pressure to reveal too much information about themselves, or to post pictures of themselves they would not want others to see later.
He urged students to stay safe online and keep control by checking account settings to make everything is private; being aware of stranger danger and taking the time to think before you post.
Rich then performed some of his material and current hits which had the students dancing in the aisle.
One year eight student said: “I learned a lot. I’m going home to check that all my accounts are private.”
Karen Furse, assistant head teacher at The Weald said: “The internet is a big part of
young people’s lives and can be a really positive tool. Messages such as the ones we
received from Rich Cottell help to remind us that, in order to benefit from it, we need to
constantly remember to be vigilant and safe at all times.”