Online bullying crisis: Cases soar by staggering 87% as ChildLine report 600 Manchester incidents

By Alan Ross

Online bullying increased by a staggering 87% in 2012/13, according to ChildLine who reported that its Manchester centre received more than 600 contacts about the topic last year.

More than 4,500 children contacted the charity about cyber-bullying with those being bullied online predominantly aged betweeen12 to 18-years-old.  

With more information about the topic in the media ChildLine feels that this may have contributed to the increased number of calls.

“Online bullying has been also raised as an issue in nationwide media, which might mean that young people are able to identify more easily and have reached out for help as a result,” they said in a statement to MM.

“We know that increasing numbers of young people now have access to the internet and the digital world presents more opportunities for bullying meaning that, for some young people, the bullying never stops.

“This can significantly increase the impact for young people who often tell us they feel as though they cannot escape the bullying.”

For the first time ever ChildLine received more contacts through online channels than by telephone, with boys preferring to call and girls more inclined to use the online counselling service.

ChildLine also revealed other worrying information detailed in it its report entitled ‘Can I tell you something?’

The number of contacts that the organisation recorded about racist bullying showed a marked rise – up 69% on last year.

This trend was also seen in the figures for self-harm which, over the same period, had a 41% increase in mentions during counselling sessions.

Founder of ChildLine, Esther Rantzen, described the report as a wake-up call and demanded that people give children the time and space they need to talk about their lives.

“Far too many of the nation’s children seem to be struggling and in despair,” she is recorded as saying.

“It’s so important that we support children to talk about issues and look out for signs that they’re not able to cope.”

While Peter Wanless, CEO of ChildLine, said that the figures reiterated the need for significant attention to be given to the matter due to the changing nature of the issues raised.

“The issues facing children today are very different from those that faced us as children,” he said in a statement.

“Stranger danger, for example, rarely comes up in contacts to ChildLine but depression, self-harm, online bullying and even suicide contacts are increasing exponentially.”

ChildLine can be contacted confidentially and for free on 0800 1111 or online.

Image courtesy of Rodriago, with thanks

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