Rise in school children experiencing cyberbullying

According to a report by WHO, the World Health Organisation, cyberbullying amongst school children has risen.

The second Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study focused on patterns of bullying and peer violence among adolescents across 44 countries and regions.

It found that 15% of adolescents (around 1 in 6) have experienced cyberbullying, with the rates closely aligned between boys (15%) and girls (16%). This represents an increase from 2018 when it was 12% for boys and 13% for girls.

The study also found that more children are cyberbullying, about 12%. Boys (14%) are more likely to report cyberbullying than girls (9%). Notably, this reflects an increase from 2018, with boys up from 11% and girls from 7%.

Sarah Hannafin, senior policy advisor for school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “These figures showing an increase in cyberbullying among children are a real concern, and while schools work hard to help keep pupils safe, online bullying can take place anywhere, at any time.

“Schools alone cannot tackle the issue and the government must ensure the Online Safety Act is implemented swiftly and properly enforced, while social media platforms must do much more to provide a safe online environment. This must include better monitoring, robust age verification, clear ways to report concerns and more transparent codes of conduct, setting out the implications of misuse.

“The government should establish a national online safety strategy and education programme to raise public awareness - supporting parents and carers to understand the risks and benefits of their children’s exposure to the digital world outside of school. NAHT stands ready to work with the government and other stakeholders to help make this a reality.”

The WHO report also showed that an average of 6% of adolescents bully others at school, and this is more prevalent among boys (8%) compared to girls (5%).

Meanwhile, approximately 11% of adolescents have been bullied at school, showing no significant difference between boys and girls.