Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

One in seven children admit to online bullying

Many claimed they did it to try and fit in, others revealed they turned to bullying to avoid becoming a target themselves, or due to peer pressure. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

One in seven children say they have bullied someone online according to a poll.

Many claimed they did it to try and fit in, others revealed they turned to bullying to avoid becoming a target themselves, or due to peer pressure.

Action for Children, which commissioned the survey, said it was "shocking" that online bullying is so widespread, but added it is important to remember that many children bully others because of problems in their own lives.

The poll, published to mark Safer Internet Day, found that 15% of the 2,000 eight to 17-year-olds questioned said they have bullied someone online.

  • nearly three fifths (59%) said they did so to fit in with a particular social group
  • around 43% said they had done so to prevent themselves from being bullied
  • over a quarter (28%) admitted they had become a bully due to peer pressure
  • 12% said they had done it because they were unhappy.
  • nearly half (48%) admitted they had kept silent after seeing or reading something online that made them feel uncomfortable, rather than telling someone
  • around one in five (20%) said they had kept quiet because they were scared of what a bully might do to them
  • nearly half (46%) said they were not worried enough to let someone know what they had seen
  • 17% said they were worried they would get into trouble if they told

It's shocking that online bullying is so prevalent, but we must not lose sight of the fact that many of these children bully others because of something going wrong in their own lives, or being driven to it through fear of being bullied or socially shunned themselves.

Low self-esteem, stress at school or being victimised themselves by peers or adults are all reasons a child might act out on others.

It's important for parents to ask children about the day they've had online, just as they ask about the day they've had at school - whether your child is being bullied or bullying others, the problem, and any potentially more severe issues surrounding it, must be addressed.

– Deanna Neilson, head of child protection at Action for Children