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New report shows continued rise in counselling for cyberbullying

23/11/2017 Joanna

A new report has demonstrated the continued need for schools to provide more support to children who may have been affected by cyberbullying.

Data from the NSPCC has revealed that 5,103 counselling sessions about cyberbullying were held by the charity's Childline phone service in 2016-17, which represents a 12 per cent increase from the previous year.

Girls and 12 to 15-year-olds were shown to have received the most counselling sessions, but the report indicated that children as young as nine are experiencing this problem, while the number of sessions overall has more than doubled since cyberbullying was first recorded as a specific issue five years ago.

Issues raised during these counselling sessions include name-calling, spreading rumours, death threats and blackmail posted publicly on social media profiles, blogs and online pictures. This can result in low self-esteem, depression, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, among other mental health issues.

The NSPCC is therefore calling for the government to compel social media sites to do more to protect children from cyberbullying and other online abuse, particularly since this form of victimisation can result in children feeling as though they can be targeted in and out of school.

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of Childline, said: "Young people these days rely upon their mobile phones and social media to keep in touch with their friends, but inevitably that makes it easier for bullies to pursue their victims relentlessly.

"Whether bullying occurs online or in person it can have a devastating impact on a young person, destroying their confidence and leaving them isolated and vulnerable."

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