New ChildLine campaign targets online bullying
More than 2,500 children in Northern Ireland were the victim of bullies last year and the number could increase during the holidays due to social media usage, the NSPCC has warned.
The children's charity is urging parents to be on their guard against online bullies who use social media to target their victims in their own homes.
The NSPCC's ChildLine service reported that bullying, particularly through social media and mobile phones, is the fourth most common reason why distressed children ring for help.
And out of the 25,736 calls received about bullying 2,614 were handled by ChildLine's bases in Northern Ireland.
Today the charity is launching its Stand Up To Bullying campaign, which offers advice on how to deal with bullying and how to get help if needed.
ChildLine service manager for Northern Ireland Mairead Monds said: "Schools in Northern Ireland may have broken up for the summer, but bullying isn't left in the playground.
"With the huge increase in children using mobile phones and tablets, bullying frequently takes place online over social media. It means that children are often plagued by bullying in their own home and it can take place at any time of day or night.
"ChildLine receives a lot of contacts about bullying, in particular from children aged 11 and under. One in four children who contacted us in this age bracket made bullying their top issue.
"Bullying can have a devastating impact on a young person's life. It can leave them feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, worthless and scared, but ChildLine is here to help."
Specialist counsellors who work at the service offer simple tips, such as telling a supportive adult and blocking the bullying on social media.
- Anyone affected by bulling can speak to a ChildLine counsellor by calling 0800 1111, or through a one-to-one chat online at www.childline.org.