As the UK marks the start of Anti-Bullying Week (14-18 November), the NSPCC has revealed that the number of children and young people being tormented online has increased by 88% in the last five years
The worrying stats, released today, show how the charity’s helpline service, Childline, counselled 4,541 children about online bullying in 2015/16 compared to 2,410 in 2011/12. Little ones as young as seven told counsellors how they were being abused my malicious and hurtful messages from online trolls, from which they felt there was no escape.
Comments posted on their social media profiles and online pictures ranged from abusive words about how they looked, to death threats and even comments telling them to kill themselves, and 31% of children said a gaming or social networking site was the platform for their humiliation.
Stats show that online bullying is rapidly becoming the main type of bullying – and the 24/7 nature of social media and the feeling that they are unable to escape the trolls only exacerbates the issue.
The NSPCC, which is currently working with the Royal Foundation Cyber-Bullying Taskforce to develop new tools and technology for children, has also created a dedicated area about online bullying on the Childline website, where young people are able to share their experiences and offer support to their peers through message boards. Last year alone, there were more than 11,000 posts.
The advice given to youngsters on dealing with bullying includes:
- Talking to an adult you can trust
- Keeping a diary of what the bullies do, including dates and descriptions
- Writing a letter to your headteacher
- Not reacting; show the bullies you don’t care and often they will lose interest
On Childline’s YouTube channel, the helpline has filmed ‘How To Help A Friend Who’s Being Bullied’ with vlogger Marina Joyce. Watch the full video below:
Parents can also contact the NSPCC for free advice on 0808 800 5002