Childline: Support is on hand for young people who are being bullied
Today marks the start of Anti-Bullying Week, and over the last 35 years our Childline counsellors have supported thousands of young people who have experienced bullying.
The way victims have been targeted has changed over the years, and those changes have moved on quickly during the coronavirus pandemic - we’ve seen a 26% increase in the number of counselling sessions we’ve delivered on bullying in England in the last year.
For many, as lockdowns and restrictions took place, the bullying transferred onto social media, apps and games, leaving children unable to escape their tormentors.
For many who were struggling with this issue, Childline was the only place that they felt they could turn to, whether they were being bullied in person, or over the internet.
One boy, aged 15, told us: “Today I heard people making fun of me through a video game chat. They were mocking me and calling me upsetting names.
“I felt very upset and distressed after hearing this as I am being made fun of for no reason and I can’t do anything.”
A 14-year-old girl told Childline: “The bullying I used to get at school has gone online now.
“I am getting horrible messages sent to me and nasty comments about everything I post. One message that really upset me said my mum was going to die of coronavirus.”
If you are worried that your child is being bullied, it’s important to remind them you’re there for them. If they say they’ve experienced bullying, try to remain calm and reassure them it’s not their fault.
If they’re being bullied online, there’s advice available through the NSPCC and Childline websites, including pointers on how to explore sites, apps and games together to look at how they can report or block messages that upset them.
And if they’re not ready to speak to you about their experience just yet, Childline is here to support them. We’re always here on the phone or through our website, where children can speak to counsellors or on moderated forums with people their own age who might have experienced the same thing.