Majority of young people worry about experiencing abuse when online, research shows

Three in five young people have been victims of bullying in school and nearly a third (30 per cent) have been bullied online, survey suggests.

The majority of children (53 per cent) say they are worried about experiencing bullying online, research by charity the Diana Award has revealed.

The survey, of more than 1,000 children aged between 11 and 16, found that more than two in three young people find it easier talking about online issues with peers their age than with a teacher

Nearly half (49 per cent) of online bullying starts offline but the majority of cases (78 per cent) start in school, the research shows.

It comes as Facebook hosts a Diana Award anti-bullying school event on Tuesday to celebrate young people across the UK who are working together to tackle bullying in their schools.

The charity’s anti-bullying ambassador scheme is a training programme offered to schools in the UK to train young people to provide peer-to-peer support and stand up to bullying.

The programme has reached 770 schools with 9,120 young people trained in anti-bullying prevention since working with Facebook in March 2018.

Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of the Diana Award, said: “We know that bullying remains the number one concern of young people, with the majority of bullying behaviour starting in school.”

He added: “We are now urging more secondary schools across the UK to sign up to this programme.”

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright and Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, are expected to participate in a panel discussion at the event.

Ms Mendelsohn said Facebook had developed many resources to help young people stay safe over the past decade.

But she added: “We know there’s still work to do, and we will continue to invest in this important work to help young people build safe and supportive communities on Facebook.”

The findings come on the same day that a survey by charity Action for Children found that two thirds of parents and grandparents felt childhoods were getting worse, and a third of children agreed.

All said bullying – online and offline – was the main problem followed by pressure to fit in, which has intensified in the age of social media.

Last month, a global survey of around 260,000 teachers revealed that England is one of the worst countries for bullying among secondary school pupils.

The frequency of bullying in schools has almost doubled in five years – and secondary school heads in England reported the highest level of cyberbullying among students compared to other countries.

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