Cyberbullying a growing concern

ChildLine has said it has seen a large increase in the number of children contacting it about online bullying

The charity’s “Can I Tell You Something?” report highlighted an 87% rise in contacts about online bullying, whilst bullying contacts overall increased by 8%.

Young people have told the charity that the 24-hour nature of online bullying means there’s no escape and it can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and in a few desperate cases, suicide.

Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, said:“This report is a real wake-up call. Far too many of the nation’s children seem to be struggling and in despair. It’s so important that we support children to talk about issues and look out for signs that they’re not able to cope.

“No matter how hard pressed we are, we must commit to giving children time and space to talk about their lives. If they are concealing unhappiness, encourage them to open up and if they can’t talk to you, maybe they can talk to ChildLine.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC adds:“The issues facing children today are very different from those that faced us as children. Stranger danger, for example, rarely comes up in contacts to ChildLine but depression, self-harm, online bullying and even suicide contacts are increasing exponentially. If we are to help young people we need to listen to what they are telling us about the issues they are facing.”

For the first time ever, ChildLine received more contacts via online channels than by telephone (59% and 41% respectively), showing a shift in the way young people choose to communicate.