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January 9, 2014

ChildLine reports rise in ‘cyberbullying’

Children cyberbullying cases almost doubled in the past year.

By CBR Staff Writer

ChildLine has reported a sharp rise in the number of kids contacting it over online bullying concerns, with the number cyberbullying cases almost doubling in the past year.

During the 2012-13, the charity saw 4,507 cases of cyberbullying, up from 2,410 registered in 2011-12, and there was 87% rise in contacts about online bullying, with 41% rise in contacts concerning self-harm and a 33% increase in youth feeling suicidal.

ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen said the report had to act as a 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," Rantzen said.

"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."

There has also been a 69% rise in racist bullying online, with over 1,400 youth notifying ChildLine they had been called a terrorist, bomber or had been asked to return where they originated from.

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In addition, the charity also witnessed increase in concerns about self-harming, while depression and complicated family relationships had been the top reasons for seeking assistance.

NSPCC charity chief executive Peter Wanless said that 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," Wanless said.

"If we are to help young people we need to listen to what they are telling us about the issues they are facing.

"ChildLine is one of the most important sources of information about vulnerable children in the UK and these regular snapshots will help us keep one step ahead and focused on the areas that are really concerning them right now."

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