Bullying is an issue that many young people face. You may have been bullied yourself or you may have seen or heard about a friend being teased, humiliated or intimidated. There is no blueprint for bullying and people can be bullied at any age for many different reasons.
Being bullied online
Although many young people are bullied in person it is also an issue that can take place online. You or someone you know may have had someone post humiliating comments on your photographs on social media or send you unpleasant messages.
During the current COVID-19 lockdown, the internet is proving to be a lifeline for many people. You may be using the internet to keep in touch with family members, play games and take part in virtual exercise classes. However, if you are being cyberbullied, things may be feeling overwhelming for you and you may not want to take part in these online activities.
Childline is here for you
If you are being bullied online during the lockdown, here at Childline we want to reassure you that this is not your fault and there are things you can do to make the bullying less overwhelming and to enjoy using the internet.
Firstly, I would advise any young person being bullied to tell a trusted adult. This could be a parent, guardian, grandparent or any other adult family member who you can trust. Speaking to someone about what you are experiencing may seem difficult or make you feel anxious. To make things easier, you could keep a diary of what is happening or take screenshots of any horrible messages you are receiving. You can then show this to an adult to help start the conversation.
If someone has posted something that is upsetting you on your social media page, you can report it so the content is removed from your feed. As well as this, you can also block people so they can’t contact you. If you don’t want to block someone, you can always take a break from looking at the messages to help make you feel less overwhelmed.
You may also be concerned about friends who may be being bullied online during lockdown. Although you can’t see them in person, you can still support them in many ways. If you have a friend who is being cyberbullied, you could call them and have a chat and see how they are. This will help them know you are still there to support them. You could also play a game with them online or you could do a fun activity together over a video call such as charades or a quiz. This will help your friend feel more positive as it will take their mind off of the bullying.
Someone to talk to
Finally, here at Childline we want all young people to know that we are still here for you during the lockdown. If you are being bullied online one of our trained Childline counsellors are available 24/7 to speak to you confidentially and for free. No matter what is worrying or upsetting you, we are always there to listen. You can also visit www.childline.org.uk for further support and advice.
Our Childline counsellors are working very hard to make sure we can continue to support young people who need our help during the lockdown. For some children home isn’t safe and others are worried about the virus. Although we are adapting to the challenges we are facing, we don’t know how things could change.
Therefore, the NSPCC has launched its emergency fundraising appeal ‘We’re still here for children’ to ensure vital services like Childline can continue.
To support the campaign you can click to donate.