ONLINE BULLYING

/ 4 January 2019

Bullying is not a new problem, sadly having caused much distress over the years. However, due to our ever-advancing technical world, this long-established issue that many children suffer has been granted a new means of affect.

Due to advances in technology and the fact that most children now have access to mobile phones and computers of their own, bullying can now follow children off the streets and out of the playground, now pervading into their own homes. The 24-hour nature of the internet means that there is no respite. Nasty comments can follow victims throughout their day from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep and so can have a devastating effect on their mental health, in some instances costing precious lives.

On Do The Right Thing, Dame Esther Rantzen will be talking to Hannah who self-excluded from school and attempted suicide after years of relentless bullying both in person and online. Hannah bravely tells us of the torment she faced at the hands of bullies and gives her message of support to those currently suffering.

Hannah’s Story:

The bullying started when Hannah was just 11 years old. It began with snide comments about her appearance and this evolved into horrible rumours which left her feeling terribly alone and isolated. At one point, when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, one bully even said to her; “If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.” Hannah was in such a low place at this point that she began to believe it was true.

The bullying then moved online, with Hannah being targeted on social media sites and a questions app which allows people to ask each other questions anonymously. The bullying eventually got so severe that Hannah’s family took the decision to remove her from school. Hannah was left with no motivation to learn, she didn’t see the point in being alive and eventually at the age of 15 she tried to take her own life.

Hannah was ‘saved’ by Red Balloon, a charity set up by Dr Carrie Herbert that helps children who have self-excluded from school. Red Balloon combines counselling with general education to help children get back into their studies and Hannah admits that she doesn’t think she would be here if it wasn’t for the organisation’s support. Hannah is now back at college and is studying for a BTEC in applied science. She is planning to study medicine at university and has considered becoming a neurosurgeon.

Also speaking with Esther on the issue of online bullying will be founder and CEO of Red Balloon, Dr Carrie Herbert, whose organisation is responsible for getting Hannah back on track.  Anne Longfield (The Children’s Commissioner) will talk about her commitment to working with tech companies and the government to safeguard young people online, and guitarist James McVey (The Vamps) will share his own experience of bullying as well as his advice for those currently suffering at the hands of bullies.

If you would like to get in contact with Red Balloon, you can call them on 01223 366052 or email admin@group.rblc.org.uk

If you would like to get in contact with Childline, you can call them on 0800 1111 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk for more ways to get in touch. 

If you would like to get in contact with The Mix, you can call them on 0808 808 4994 or visit their website www.themix.org.uk for more ways to get in touch.