Throughout 2012-13 the charity saw a dramatic increase in the cases related to cyber bullying – 4,507 cases compared to those of 2011-12 where 2,410 cases were reported. It also saw increases of concerns about self-harming, with depression and difficult family relationships being the main causes for seeking help.
Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline said that too many of the nation’s children seem to be struggling and in despair.
ChildLine counselled 278,886 children and teenagers during 2012-13. It also handled 10,961 cases where a young person raised concerns about another child. Most counselling took place online (59%) than by telephone (41%) for the first time in the charity’s 28 year history.
There was a significant increase in racist bullying noted in the report “Can I tell you something?” with more than 1,400 children notifying the charity that they were experiencing problems, compared to 861 the year before.
There was a common theme where children were being called a “terrorist” or a “bomber” or being told to “go back where they come from”.
The instances of self-harm have steadily increased over the years and are now affecting children at a younger age. 470 twelve year old girls contacted the charity about self-harming in 2012-13, but these figures rose to 700 in 2012-2013. In total 29,163 children and teenagers mentioned feeling suicidal, up from 22,006 in the previous year.
The ChildLine figures come a week after the Prince’s Trust said as many as 750,000 young people in the UK may feel they have nothing to live for. High unemployment rates among young people played a significant part in feelings of depression.
Mr Rantzen said the report was a: “Wake-up call”
“If we are to help young people we need to listen to what they are telling us.”
“Far too many of the nation’s 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.”
“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 steap ahead and focused on the areas that are really concerning them right now.”
“Thank to our new curriculum, children will soon be taught how to stay safe online, including cyber bullying, from the age of five.”
ChildLine was launched in 1986 and has counselled about 3.2 million children.
ChildLine can be contacted on 0800 1111 or online at www.childline.org.uk