UK & World News
Cyberbullying: Survey Points To 'Growing Trend'
Almost seven in 10 young people have experienced cyberbullying on social media sites, with users of Facebook among the most likely to be targeted, a new survey suggests.
The national anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label sampled 10,008 young people aged between 13 and 22 and found that levels of cyberbullying were much higher than previously reported.
It found that of the 69% of young people who had experienced cyberbullying, a fifth said it had been very extreme.
The survey suggested the cyberbullying rate was at its highest on MySpace, with 89% of users claiming they had been subjected to taunts, although just 4% of young people said they used the site.
Of the three-quarters of those who used Facebook, 54% said they had been bullied.
That figure was around twice that of Twitter, which was used by 43% of young people surveyed.
Liam Hackett, founder of Ditch the Label, said the charity set up its annual survey after discovering more than 30,000 young people were visiting a virtual support centre on its Habbo Hotel website every week.
"We found that cyberbullying was a growing trend within the sphere of bullying and we were naturally inclined to investigate further," he said.
"We have identified that cyberbullying is not just a passing phase and is having a profound impact on the lives of millions across the country.
"Cyberbullying is seriously damaging the self-esteem and future prospects of young people and is an issue we cannot afford to overlook."
A spokesman for Facebook said: "We don't tolerate bullying ... and that's why we provide the best tools and support in the industry for people to report bullying to us or to someone else who can help them."
The research comes two months after 14-year-old Hannah Smith, from Leicestershire, took her own life after she was bullied on Ask.fm.
The website announced a raft of changes to protect users following her death.
Earlier this year, Twitter agreed to install a report abuse button alongside every tweet after feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez was subjected to a barrage of online rape threats.
:: BeatBullying.org is available for advice and support.