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Help & Advice

#BedtimeStories - Online bullying

Safer Internet Day: Bullying no longer stops at the school gate

Tuesday 6th February is Safer Internet Day 2018 – and the launch of the new PAPYRUS campaign #BedtimeStories. We need to raise awareness of the impact of online bullying and create greater online safety for children and young people.

Jump to section:

• Watch our campaign film

• About the campaign

• Recent research

• Calls to HOPELineUK

• Help and advice

• Get support

• How you can help

• Share the campaign

Watch our #BedtimeStories Film

About the Campaign

Online bullying is a contributing factor for many young people having thoughts of suicide. Over 200 schoolchildren die by suicide every year in the UK. We need everyone to be aware of the impact that online bullying can have on children and young people’s mental health.

Bullying affects young people in many different ways. It can impact on their self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, education and life outside of school. Those experiencing bullying may feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or feel that they aren’t ‘worth’ help. They may feel scared, sad or overwhelmed, and find it difficult to sleep or eat. Many young people who have been bullied find it really hard to ever feel safe or confident in anything they do, leading them to isolate themselves from others and give up the things they enjoy doing.

Read more in our press release.

Listen to our HOPELineUK staff discuss the reasons for our #BedtimeStories campaign on Radio City 96.7.

Read about #BedtimeStories in the Huffington Post.

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Safer Internet Day 2018 with others.

Calls to HOPELineUK

From calls to our helpline HOPELineUK, we know that bullying can cause many young people to feel isolated, worthless, and experience thoughts of suicide. As many as 40% of the contacts we receive from children and young people aged 11-18 involve issues around online bullying. For many, it can seem like there is no escape, that the bullying will never stop or go away, and that everyone would be ‘better off’ without them. Other contributing factors may make it harder for them to stay alive - battles with diagnosed anxiety and depression, or hearing negative voices that echo the comments made on social media.


These quotes have been taken from HOPELineUK and anonymised to ensure they are not identifiable.

Recent research

Young people are increasingly using social media from a younger age; recent research has shown that 59% of young people had their first accounts at age 12 or under, despite guidelines from all social media sites that users should be 13 years old before opening an account. 45% of young people spend more than three hours per day on social media, and sometimes use social media between midnight at 6am.

Many young people feel that social media has more of a negative impact on how they feel about themselves (38%), than a positive impact (24%). Over a quarter reported personal experience of online bullying within the last year – and as many as 42% have seen someone harassed or bullied online. Despite this, just 42% would tell their parents if something upset them on social media.*

*Findings from survey undertaken by YoungMinds and The Children’s Society of children and young people aged 11-25 on their views and experiences of bullying online.

Help and advice

This Safer Internet Day, we want to unite against bullying and consider what we can do to make our online environment safer. What can you do if you’re being bullied or if you’re worried about someone who is?

To help you, we've put together the following resources for you to download:

Online Bullying: Help and advice for parents and carers

Parents of children today didn’t have to cope with online bullying when they were growing up – so it can be confusing to know what advice to give children to help them cope. Click to download.

Online Bullying: Resource for children and young people

Coping with being bullied and getting support can be really daunting. Many young people find it difficult to cope and may experience thoughts of suicide when they can’t seem to find a ‘way out’. Remember, you are not alone if you feel this way, and there is always help available. Click to download.

Support the Campaign

You can help by:

• Watching our campaign film on YouTube

Sharing this page with others on Twitter

• Showing your support by updating your Facebook profile picture with our campaign frame on Safer Internet Day 2018

Updating your profile picture with our #BedtimeStories Twibbon

• Joining the conversation online and telling us why and how you plan to help stop online bullying - using the hashtags #SID2018 and #BedtimeStories.

• Helping us to support more children and young people at risk by making a donation to PAPYRUS: text PAPY17 followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70070. (If you are on an iOS device you can click here to open the Messages app), or you can make a donation through Facebook.

Get support

Support with suicidal thoughts

If bullying is leading to thoughts or feelings of suicide, or you have concerns that a friend or family member is having thoughts of suicide, contact HOPELineUK by phone, text or email and talk to our suicide prevention advisors in confidence. Our advisors can provide short-term advice and support around staying safe from suicide, help you to work on a plan to keep safe for now, and look at ways to manage and cope with suicidal thoughts.


Further support with online bullying

Bullying UK can provide advice and support if you are affected by any form of bullying. They have a confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222, online advice at www.bullying.co.uk or the forums to talk to others who are going through similar issues. 

Bullying UK


The Royal Foundation’s Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying has launched a national, youth-led, code of conduct for the internet:‘ Stop, Speak, Support.’ This aims to empower young people to stop online bullying by speaking out and seeking support. Find out more.


The UK Safer Internet Centre’s theme for this year is 'Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you'. To help schools, youth groups and the wider community get involved, they have created Education Packs and a series of films focusing on online relationships and digital wellbeing and empathy. For more details click here

Be part of PAPYRUS    

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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PAPYRUS will treat any information given here as confidential and will never use it for marketing purposes. We will store it and use it only to be able to contact our members and supporters and share information with them.

There are many reasons why people join us - for example, they may have been bereaved or affected by suicide in some way, have a professional interest in the area, or want to share their story and raise awareness.
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