‘They don’t get it’ Jimmy Bullard urges parents to allow children to be social media stars

Jimmy Bullard appears on I'm A Celeb in 2014

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Jimmy Bullard, 42, has revealed that he feels it is important for parents to get behind their kids’ social media pursuits and is now backing a new initiative to train children in content creation. The Soccer AM presenter spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how getting in front of the camera has helped him develop a “thick skin”, and why parents need to be more open-minded. 

The former footballer opened up about the need for parents to support their children’s dreams of becoming social media stars.

“It’s a real career pathway,” he explained. “I used to look up to footballers but kids nowadays are looking up to YouTubers and influencers.

“I’m here to tell them: fulfil your dreams, it is a real job. 

“And parents more importantly – being brought up in the era that I was brought up in – I don’t think a lot of them get it.” (sic)

Jimmy, who is teaming up with toy brand NERF to host free events for children who want to learn more about digital content creation, went on to share some surprising statistics about the disparity between parents and children when it comes to the profession. 

Research has revealed that, despite over half (56 per cent) of British children expressing an interest in content creation, almost a third of parents (30 per cent) don’t think it’s a “real job”. 

The presenter admitted that he was once the type of parent to say “you’re spending too much time on your computer”, but can now see the benefits. 

Once Jimmy realised that his eldest son Archie, 15, wasn’t just wasting time in front of the screen and actually wanted to be a social media star, his attitude changed.

Now, his advice is: “Get behind them, parents. Listen to your kids.

“Spend some quality time with them in front of the computer screen.”

Research has also found that key concerns for some parents include their children spending too much time on a screen (55 per cent), becoming isolated from friends and family (43 per cent), and even just sitting in the dark all day (24 per cent).

“Obviously it has to be managed and not too much time, obviously,” Jimmy confirmed.

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“We’re not saying they should sit in front of the screens for hours on end – we all know that isn’t good for them.”

As a young-at-heart parent who grew up in the spotlight himself, Jimmy also had some words of wisdom to share with parents who were worried about their kids receiving negative comments online.

“It’s the same as real life, you know. I had it growing up being a football player,” he explained.

“You will get negative comments, of course, you’ll get that in life.

“But it can make you have thick skin. And later in life, it will make you grow as a person.”

Talking about his time on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here? in 2014, Jimmy explained that being in front of the camera was what armed him with the right skillset to speak in public and hold an audience’s attention. 

“I don’t believe if I didn’t put myself in front of the cameras there, that I would be doing what I’m doing now, which is presenting on Soccer AM,” he reflected.

NERF Upload is holding two free events for parents and children with limited spaces: one in person on Tuesday 26th October, and digitally on Saturday 30th.

There, aspiring vloggers can learn about editing, camera work and public speaking from popular YouTubers including Morgz, AJ Shabeel and Sharky. 

Jimmy concluded: “Parents should get involved, go to these events, learn a little bit more, spend some more quality time with your kids and, yeah, don’t stand in the way of their dreams – that’s what I want to see.” (sic)

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