Hollyoaks to tackle online bullying

Hollyoaks is to launch its own micro-blogging site to tackle the issue of online bullying.

Sixth form student Esther Bloom, played by Jazmine Franks, is already being targeted at college by bullies, led by Maddie Morrison, and the teasing is making her feel scared to go to class.

Fellow student Dylan Shaw is set to create his own micro-blogging site, DocYou, to enter a filmmaking competition. But the other sixth formers misuse it to target Esther online, posting embarrassing videos and abusive comments on it, so she can’t escape the bullying.

Hollyoaks’ producers Lime Pictures and Channel 4 Education have created a real version of DocYou on the internet, where viewers can see videos, photos and text posted by the show’s characters, running in parallel to the storylines on TV.

The project, supported by Beatbullying aims to highlight the effects of social media on British teenagers, such as cyber bullying, and the dangers of revealing too much online.

There will be advice and support for viewers about the issues raised on the official Hollyoaks website www.e4.com/hollyoaks, as well as a dedicated Facebook page for the audience to express their views and share their own experiences.

Bryan Kirkwood, executive producer of Hollyoaks said: “Hollyoaks has always had a youth focus and we never shy away from tackling difficult youth issues. I am really proud of this story and how it realistically approaches bullying which is so relevant to our audience.”

Channel 4 Education editor Gemma Brady added: “We are delighted to be working with Hollyoaks on this project. The show has a strong track record of tackling difficult issues and feels like the perfect home to explore the complexities of bullying in a connected age.”

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