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Last Updated: Friday May 02 2008 17:35 GMT

Hotseat: Agony uncle Aaron

Aaron Balick

As part of Newsround's Why Worry? week agony uncle Aaron took part in a webchat to answer YOUR questions.

We had loads of questions about bullying, terrorism, the way you look, climate change and doing well at school.

Check out some of Aaron's answers here...

I'm worried about terrorism and terrorists and people robbing my house and me being kidnapped - snowpat1

Aaron: "It sounds like you're worried about loads of things! The good news is that each of the things that you are worried about are VERY uncommon.

This is one of those cases where the WORRY is more of a problem than the actual thing!

This happens a lot with our worries -- the best thing to do is to talk them through with someone who can make you realise you're a lot safer than you worry about.

Worry not!"

My best mate gets bullied. I stick up for her when I'm around, but in some lessons I'm not and sometimes it's really hard to stick up for her because I get scared they might start on me - YassaG

Aaron: "Well done for you for sticking up for your mate! Sticking up for mates is a good idea because sticking together can help to stamp out bullying.

However, it's important to know that it's not JUST up to you or your friend to stop the bullying.

Every school has a bullying policy and the BEST way to stick up for your friend AND yourself is to let someone at school know what's going on. That way, it's not JUST up to you or your friend to sort things out.

So to stamp out bullying, don't keep quiet -- speak to a teacher about it, and get support sorting it out."

Everyone at my school calls me a "speccyfour eyes" and "Bad Rock chick". They swear at me too. It started when I got my new glasses two days ago, and my glasses were really nice, electric pink. I loved them and then the name-calling started. My glasses are now broken because someone threw them off and jumped on them.(They were a lot of money!) All my friends have turned against me and I don't know what to do. Please help! - shinymanasion

Aaron: "Oh boy, that sounds like a terrible situation - one that you should definitely get some help with from parent, carers, or someone at school. Like I said above, every school has a responsibility to take care of bullying.

While the school's on that, always remember that what bullies SAY is not what you ARE -- after all, your electric pink glasses sound really cool!

Just because they don't like it doesn't mean anything about your cool taste in glasses (I've got glasses too, so I know what it's like!).

Your good friends will stick with you through most anything, so stick with them, get some support for the bullying, and hopefully get a replacement set of glasses that YOU really like -- no matter what the bullies think."

I hate going on public transport because of terrorists. I rarely go on public transport because my parents have a car. But when I stay with my grandparent's we have to use the train. What are the chances of a terrorist being on board transport and what can I do to calm myself down before using transport? - !~!Mathatonic!~!

Aaron: "The chances of getting caught up in something on public transport are absolutely TINY!! The thing is, when big things happen (like they did on 7/7) it gets HUGE coverage in the news and people can't stop talking about it.

The thing is, that makes the awful things seem much more common than they actually are. It's really important to remember that when you get scared.

Every day MILLIONS of people use the tube, and are home in time for dinner - they take it every day, two or three times a day, no problem.

When you get scared, just remember that you're on the train or tube that ONE time -- the chances of something happening are just so tiny -- you're probably a thousand times more likely to fall on your face on the pavement by tripping on a piece of gum -- and how often does that happen!

Happy riding!"

I am doing really well at school, but all my friends are calling me boff girl and I don't know what to say or do. Everyone in my form is doing it and I don't know that if I tell them to stop they would hate me. - Joamel

Aaron: "Did you know that the word "Boff" is actually a compliment? It comes from the word "Boffin" which means someone who's an expert in something.

I don't know when it is that being an expert is a bad thing - I can think of a boffin, like Bill Gates, who's the richest guy in the world!

You should be proud of what you do well. Some of your friends might feel a little jealous about it, which is why they call you names. Your true friends will like you for who you are.

You've got a right, too, to tell them to stop if it makes you uncomfortable -- if they can't understand that, they're not the hottest friends around. I'm sure, though, that there are folks (like me!) who will respect you for who you are.

I'm worried about climate change. It might affect me and my children, it is so upsetting when you see the polar bears on the ice and the ice melting away - queenohearts

Aaron: "It sure is upsetting to hear about climate change. Most upsetting about it is that climate change is SO big, you feel like there's not a lot you can do about it.

The thing is, just worrying won't help a thing -- it will only make you stressed out! Instead of worrying, it's a good idea to "be concerned" -- what's the difference?

Being concerned means that you know there's a problem, and you work out a way that you can best respond to it. You may want to make sure that you recycle at home, conserve water and energy, and that sort of thing.

If you really want to plug into being concerned, see if you can get behind some bigger projects -- getting in touch with a charity by volunteering, making sure your school recycles, stuff like that.

By getting concerned and involved you turn worry into action, and change the very world you live it.

So, transform worry into concern and make the world a better place for the polar bears, yourself, and your future children!"

Being taken (like Maddy McCann), exams, robbers. Please help me!!!- sportyspice450

Aaron: "Just like you, lots of other kids got really worried about the Maddy McCann story.

The thing to remember is that this story got SO big because it is such a rare thing to happen. If it happened all the time (like a minor car crash, or the trains running late) you actually wouldn't see it on the papers or on TV.

Worries about things like this come from thinking that the risk of the thing happening is much more that the ACTUAL risk of it.

It's a bit like thinking that every time it rains you'll get hit by lightening! You KNOW that's not gonna happen, so you don't worry about it.

Same thing with kidnapping! Very uncommon, and SO uncommon, it's not worth worrying about outside taking normal precautions that you learn from your parents and at school.

Be wise, but don't worry yourself to death!"

People at school bully me at school just because I am brown. What shall I do? - stargaze75

Aaron: "This is straightforward bullying and straightforward racism and BOTH of them are ABSOLUTELY NOT ON, at school, or anywhere else.

The first thing to do is to nip this in the bud by speaking to someone at home or at school about it. Bullies get away with this kind of stuff because people stay quiet about it. By telling a grown-up you can get some help to sort it out.

We live in a really cool multicultural society, and most people know that -- it's the few people who don't know this that make it a hard time. Don't let them get away with it, and if they do, don't let yourself believe the garbage they say!

So talk to someone, get some support, and be proud of who you are, whatever colour that is!"

I met this boy. We have been going out for one month now. I have spoken to his mum and we are going to meet him, but I am not so sure now because we met online. BUT I LOVE HIM! WHAT SHALL I DO? - Alyr1000

Aaron: "You never know who anybody is when you meet them online and it can be dangerous (even if you've spoken to their mum!) -- so make sure you talk this through with your parent or carer before you make any real life plans.

It's always scary to meet someone for the first time, especially if it's a first date. When you meet someone online, that brings a whole lot of different things to think about.

I'm glad to hear you've spoken to his mum since, like I said, these things can be risky -- but if you're meeting him the first time, take a parent or carer along with anyway.

While you might think that's a drag, it's actually a good thing because it takes the pressure off of the two of you!

If you got on okay online, then it's just a next step to see how things go in real life. Just make sure you're sensible about it, and take that grownup along with you."

Dear Aaron, I'm always afraid that not doing well at school will affect my later life. I REALLY like my friends, but they are the type of people who don't care about their studies and get me into trouble. I'm really stuck, what should I do? - tracy_4ever

Aaron: "I can understand why you are concerned about not doing well in school, and how that can affect your life later. I always think that so long as you do the best you can, that's the best you can do, and you take it from there.

In your case, it sounds like your friends might be getting in the way of you doing well at school. If that's so, then you're probably NOT doing your best because your friends are getting in the way.

When you think about what you want to do when you grow up, what do you find? Does it make you excited? Will you need to have done well in school to be that person when you've grown up? Probably.

It would be a shame to not do your best because of friends. I ALWAYS say that good friends stick with you for WHO YOU ARE, not what you need to do to keep them as friends. If part of who you are is caring about doing well in school, don't give that up for anyone.

I know you REALLY like your friends, but if they REALLY (and I mean REALLY) like you back, they'll respect you for who you are now, and what your dreams are for the future.

What do I do, you ask? Do what's in your heart and your brain -- and I think you know what that is."

I'm worried about school, because when I come back from the summer holidays I'm starting standard grade so I have loads of work and exams to do. But the other thing is that, on very few occasions, I've been called emo because of the way I dress, music I like and the way my hair is, and there's a girl that keeps on annoying me at class. Also, there was a time when I asked someone if you like music that's classed as emo, does that make you one and she started shouting 'Ewww!' Some people in my class do accept that I might be emo, but I don't know if I am one though - TOUGHCLEVERCOOLGAL

Aaron: "You are writing about two worries.

1. Worries about school - try not to let your worries about starting standard grade get you down. So long as you start with a clear head, take things one day at a time (in bite-sized pieces) and don't let things pile up, I'm sure you'll do fine. With the word "clever" in your name, this should be no problem for you!

2. This second worry is a bit more complex - it's about being okay with who you are. Some people are happy to identify themselves as emo, others aren't. Just because you dress a certain way, and like a certain bit of music doesn't MAKE you anything!

It's up to you to decide if you're an emo or not (it's not up to others, whether they call you that or not!) - you're more than a name, just like anyone else is more than the music they like, or the kind of trainers they might wear!

So, be proud of who you are, and the people who will respect you for that are the only ones you need to be concerned with!

Good luck."

"There's this girl in my class and she keeps being horrid to me. The main problem with this is that she is best mates with the same person I'm best mates with and it seems like she's trying to take my friends away from me and not include me for anything. I've spoken to our head of year and she said she'd speak to her and she did and it's just got a TINY WEENY bit better. What Should I Do? I'm Fed Up Of It! - [Emo]QueenFrankii[Emo]

Aaron says: "It sounds to me like that girl in your class who's being horrid to you might be a bit jealous of YOUR friendship with your best mate!

I'm pleased you spoke to your head of year, and that that made things better - it shows that talking about it can help (at least a little!).

The thing is, you and your friends have to think of a WIN-WIN situation instead of a LOSE-LOSE one. That means that you can have things with your best friend an the girl in your class where things are okay with all of you!

Would it be possible for the three of you to be friends? You could still have an independent relationship with your Bestie, and sometimes, the three of you can hang out.

Nobody has to steal anyone else's friend from anyone else - there's enough friendship to go around! Going in with that attitude can help a lot - talking to your best friend about your feelings will help too.

Good luck with it."



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