Childline Message Board Project

Graphic showing a seated person conducting a remove video meeting with two other figures.

In October to December 2020, myself and many other YPAGers worked on a project with Childline to evaluate a “message board” feature on their website. The message board feature is a place where young people can post anonymously with the intent of either receiving or giving peer support and/or advice. 

Our first meeting involved finding out about the context of the project. We then moved into the main part of the project which was analysing the posts on the website. We learned how to conduct data sampling, analysis and interpretation. Then, both small groups and individually, we were able to apply this knowledge practically with anonymised posts on the Childline website. We then presented our findings back to Childline and discussed our work and how it was to be involved in the research. The final meeting was for Childline to share their thoughts on the report findings, give feedback on our recommendations and talk about how to communicate them. 

A few of us who had been working on the project decided to get involved with the final steps, involving helping to draft, write and then comment on the final papers. Our project also got featured on BBC news and a news story by the Oxford University department of Psychiatry. Currently, Childline are currently working on implementing our feedback. Some of us have also been involved in developing a proposal to get more research funding to continue our work and investigate some more of our recommendations. We have been shortlisted and this is currently being reviewed by the Grant Panel. We expect to find out in July whether we have been successful.

This was a really rewarding project to work on, we got the opportunity to work with Childline which is a charity that many of us have received help from ourselves. We were able to help improve their services as well as learning many research skills and finding out how research projects like these can work.

Some of the work that we have co-produced from this project to share with other professionals and tell them about our work is provided below!

Projects resources

The NSPCC Summary report that we co-produced is helpful for a range of people working with children and young people in this area.

Slide presentation we developed during a work experience week to tell possible funders about our evidence and recommendations and ask for support to improve the service

This is the Department of Psychiatry News Story (including my quote from the press release!)…

We have been developing three papers, and four YPAGers are involved as co-authors on these…

Our first paper has been submitted by the researchers to a peer-reviewed (checked by experts) journal for publication. I am a co-author on this paper!

‘In their own words’: a naturalistic co-produced study of young people’s experiences of emotional maltreatment expressed in anonymous, peer-peer online message forums.

Read our pre-print for this paper at the link below.

The other two papers have now been submitted to a journal and you can read the pre-prints (early version while they are being processed) at the links below.

Developing novel co-produced methodology to understand ‘real-world’ help-seeking in online peer-peer communities by young people experiencing emotional abuse and neglect (Peter is an author)

Co-production to understand on-line help-seeking for young people experiencing emotional abuse and neglect: building capabilities, adapting research methodology, evaluating involvement and impact. (Asher and Cassia are authors)