Sixty per cent of secondary pupils have been bullied in school and 30 per cent have experienced online bullying, according to research published today.
The research, on behalf of The Diana Award anti-bullying charity, also shows that 53 per cent of the pupils are worried about experiencing online bullying.
The figures have been released today to coincide with a panel discussion event, organised by Facebook, which will be attended by culture secretary Jeremy Wright, who has warned social media operators they face tough penalties if they fail to take action on the “alarming rise” in online bullying.
Read: Social media firms warned over 'alarming' bullying rise
Stats: Quarter of young people admit to bullying someone online
Insight: 'Bullying is endemic in our profession'
Diana Award deputy chief executive Alex Holmes said: “We are working hard to ensure that bullying doesn’t prevent young people from leading happy, safe and successful lives.
“We know that bullying remains the number one concern of young people with the majority of bullying behaviour starting in school.”
The research, of 1,009 pupils aged 11 to 16, found that 49 per cent of bullying starts offline and that 78 per cent of cases happen at school.
It reveals that 67 per cent of pupils find it easier talking about online issues with someone who is close to their own age than with a teacher.
The Diana Award said this reinforces the need for peer-to-peer anti-bullying support. The charity's anti-bullying ambassador programme has been used in 770 schools and involved 9,120 young people trained in anti-bullying prevention in partnership with Facebook.
Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, admitted there was “still work to do” to prevent online bullying, but said: “Over the last decade, we’ve developed many resources to help young people stay safe on Facebook, including our Bullying Prevention Hub, Parent’s Portal, Safety Centre, and our online reporting tools.”
The Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme is the brainchild of Mr Holmes who, before joining the charity, worked in pastoral care in schools leading on behaviour and bullying, and has used his own experience of bullying at school. He also sits on all the major tech companies' global safety advisory boards.
The Diana Award figures were published on the same day that the charity Action for Children said that childhood was in a state of crisis, with bullying one of the main factors to blame.