Teenage girls are twice as likely to report cyber bullying than boys, a major Government study has found.
Incidents of physical of violent bullying among GCSE students has fallen over the past ten years but cyber bullying is an emerging trend, with one in ten reporting it, research shows.
The Department for Education interviewed 10,000 15- and 16-year-old pupils in 2015 about trends in bullying, and compared their answers to a cohort of pupils in 2006.
Girls are also twice as likely to report name calling and social exclusion, while boys are more likely to report threats of and actual violence.
Between 2006 and 2015, there was an overall fall in reports of bullying, with the largest drop in violent forms of bullying. Researchers described the findings of the study as “broadly positive”, with the rate of bullying among pupils fell from 37 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent in 2015.
However, it added that beneath the overall reduction is a “more varied picture”.
“While violent forms of bullying have declined significantly, name calling and social exclusion have increased since 2006,” the report said.
“Females reported higher rates of bullying overall in 2015 than in 2006, with the increase entirely caused by name calling and social exclusion, while the rate of bullying for males fell over the period,” the report said.
“These diverging trends led to females reporting significantly higher rates of bullying overall in 2015 than males, despite reporting similar rates in 2006.”
Bullying also varied significantly by ethnicity, researchers said, with teenagers from African and Asian backgrounds generally less likely to report bullying than white British pupils.
Meanwhile, young people from the most deprived neighbourhoods were slightly less likely to report being bullied than their peers from more affluent areas.
“It is unclear whether this suggests that bullying is equally an issue for affluent areas as it is for deprived areas or whether perceptions of bullying and reporting thresholds may differ by area,” researchers said.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb praised schools for introducing a raft of effective anti-bullying policies which have led to a decline in violent and physical bullying over the past decade.
Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, he says that “alongside these positives, today’s research also highlights the threat of a relatively recent phenomenon: cyber bullying”.
Mr Gibb says that among parents there is a “clear and understandable worry that the internet has brought new dangers in to our children’s lives which are often hidden from us”.
He said the Government will include internet safety on the curriculum for compulsory sex and relationship education classes.
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