The amount of calls to Childline concerning cyberbullying continues to increase. During 2016/17, there were 3,103 counselling sessions on Childline, an increase of 12% from the year before. The amount of sessions has in fact double since cyberbullying was considered to be a specific issue, which was in 2012. Some of the common concerns in children surrounding cyberbullying are:
- Name calling
- Rumour spreading
- Death threats
Young people are often left feeling unable to cope and cyberbullying is now a contributing factor to mental health problems that include self-harm, depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Females aged between 12-15 have received the most counselling sessions regarding cyberbullying, but there have been calls from children as young as 9.
Around the Clock Cyberbullying
One of the major concerns is that cyberbullying can take place around the clock, there is no escape. Children feel unable to unfriend their bullies because they feel the problem will increase at school as a result of the blocking. It’s hard for children to talk to parents about the problem too.
The social pressures faced by modern children is huge. The NSPCC has called for the government to do more to help keep children safe online. It is hoped that a rulebook enshrined in law will be produced, requiring all social media sites to protect children from online abuse and bullying. It is hoped that the rules will include the introduction of an alerts system and strict privacy settings along with easy reporting systems.
Childline is available 24/7 for children who would like to talk in confidence by calling 0800 1111 (the number is free to call from landlines and mobiles in the UK). Read more about cyberbullying and how you can help children to deal with the social pressures of the 21st Century.