Hollyoaks, a long-running British television soap opera, is launching a special online project to tie in with Esther Bloom’s ongoing bullying storyline. Esther, played by Jazmine Franks, is currently experiencing a tough time at sixth form college as her so-called friends continue to tease and isolate her. The plot develops further as fellow student Dylan Shaw (Mikey Riddington-Smith) innocently creates his own micro-blogging site DocYou to enter a filmmaking competition. When the other sixth formers begin to misuse Dylan’s creation, it soon becomes a public forum to broadcast humiliating content about Esther, which makes her situation even more unbearable.
Hollyoaks is now teaming up with Channel 4 Education and Beatbullying to bring the fictional micro-blogging site online for real. DocYou will allow viewers to further explore the emotional storyline through a range of exclusive content, including videos, photos and text posts. Content will also include behind-the-scenes videos of the Hollyoaks cast talking about the issues raised and their own experiences with bullies. Show chiefs hope that the project will help to highlight the impact of social media on everyday life, including the issues of cyber bullying, privacy, and the pitfalls of revealing too much online.
“This ground-breaking initiative will add a whole new level of depth to the story and highlight how easy it is to miss what is really happening on a site full of seemingly benign content, and how this content can become an additional source of bullying for some people,” said the executive producer. “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.”
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