Channel 4’s flagship youth drama Hollyoaks has revealed its plans to explore the issue of cyber bullying and the related problems of social media through a storyline and special online project.
Viewers of the early evening soap have already seen sixth form student, Esther, suffer from more traditional forms of bullying in recent weeks. But when fellow student Dylan innocently decides to create a bespoke micro-blogging site, ‘DocYou’, for a filmmaking competition the other students misuse it creating a public forum to broadcast humiliating content about Esther.
To support the story-line Channel 4 is creating the fictional micro-blogging site which will go live straight after the programme airs at 6:30pm on Thursday 25 October. The Hollyoaks writing team has created a range of exclusive content for the site including videos, photos and text posts which will build on the in-show story.
Created by Lime Pictures’ digital team and commissioned by Channel 4 Education, the project is supported by BeatBullying and will explore the impact of social media bullying. Advice and support will also be provided on the official Hollyoaks website where cast members will discuss their experiences with bullies via online videos, a dedicated Facebook page will allow the audience to share their bullying experiences as well.
Bryan Kirkwood, executive producers of Hollyoaks, commented: “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.”