google-site-verification: googled3ad79e48fba1031.html 'I worry my Summer will be trolled': Rebecca Adlington fears for daughter after being targeted by online bullies – Raidar Gist
Monday , March 19 2018
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‘I worry my Summer will be trolled’: Rebecca Adlington fears for daughter after being targeted by online bullies

She’s talked openly about her own social media abuse from cruel trolls .

But Rebecca Adlington ’s main concern is what will happen when her daughter Summer gets a smartphone .

Last month, MPs announced that they are to probe excessive social media use by children after a report said those as young as eight were at emotional risk. When asked if the potential effects of social media on Summer worry her, Rebecca, 29, says: “Oh God, yeah!

“When I was growing up, I didn’t have a phone until I was about 13, and now kids have phones at like six or seven.

“Summer is just two but she even knows that when a notification comes up on my phone she needs to swipe up.

“I don’t know whether it will be ­Instagram or Twitter when she gets to that stage. And, of course, social media is one of those things that conveys a different message to the truth.

“I try to show real pictures on my social media, not always posed or in good lighting. I don’t think it’s right to portray to the world that every single thing is amazing all of the time because that’s just not the truth.”

With pride and joy, Summer

The former Olympic swimmer is one of Britain’s most successful ­sportswomen after her incredible achievements at the Beijing and London competitions. But she was bombarded on Twitter with malicious comments calling her ugly and fat before her retirement in 2013.

She revealed the full extent of her crippling insecurity when she went into the jungle on I’m a Celebrity in the same year, breaking down into tears while comparing herself to beauty queen and fellow contestant Amy Willerton .

But Rebecca also knows ­exercise and fitness can be empowering when it comes to women loving their bodies.

She even has an unusual way of inspiring her little girl – doing her own high intensity workout with her once a week in the living room.

“I want her to understand that I have to work hard,” says Rebecca, who lives in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

“I try and cook with her whenever I can – I pull up a stool and give her a kid’s knife and she starts
chopping with me.

Winning gold in Beijing in 2008

“I want her to realise that you have to work hard in life and nothing gets handed to you on a plate.

“I also want her to ­understand about fitness, working out and eating well.”

Rebecca also acknowledges how important exercise is to her mental health, too – especially after she hung up her swimming cap for good.

She admits dipping to a terrible low after she stopped competing, but now she prioritises looking after herself both mentally and physically.

“I took about six months off where I just ate and didn’t want to exercise,” she says. “I didn’t want to go in the gym or see a pool – and it wasn’t physical, it was all mental, I just needed to switch off.

“You have to have that break and mentally zone out. And I always say to other athletes ‘You will want to get back into things because you miss feeling fit and healthy, and always go back to it’.

“I love going in the gym now – but everything in moderation. I don’t go crazy like I used to. For 15 years of my life while I was competing I didn’t really drink or go out – now I love a G&T!”

She admits dipping to a terrible low after she stopped competing

The main thing Rebecca does to try and ensure Summer grows up with great self-esteem – unlike the swimmer herself – is to never put herself down in front of her.

“Kids pick up on so much. I don’t want her to see her mum saying ‘Oh gosh, I look awful today’ and being really negative,” she says.

“The other day she was brushing my hair and saying ‘Mummy, your hair is so pretty, you look like a princess’. Things like that just melt my heart.”

Rebecca says she is really lucky to still have such a great relationship with her ex-husband, fellow former swimmer Harry Needs, after their split in 2016.

She has since been linked to ­swimmers Thomas Haffield and Mark Foster , and has been seen cosying up to another, Michael Gunning, who recently revealed he was caught up in the Manchester Arena bomb last year.

But Rebecca insists they are no more than just good pals.

It helps that she has such an amicable relationship with her ex.

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“I am really lucky with Harry because I know so many people who stay ­separate, but it makes our lives so much easier that we both get on,” she says.

“And Summer is such a happy little girl. She’s a bundle of joy. She has her moments– don’t get me wrong, every kid does. But she’s just such a privilege to be around.”

  • Rebecca has teamed up with Richmond Sausages for its Nation’s Favourites campaign, which aims to celebrate the nation’s favourite workforces, last week surprising the crew at St Abbs Lifeboat Station in Berwickshire.

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