Nearly half of all young British people say they are bullied at school, while one in four admits they feel suicidal, a survey by the Diana Award charity reveals. About 45% of the young people surveyed say they’re targeted by bullies on a daily basis.
The revealing report says that 24% of the students polled said they felt suicidal because of the bullying they’ve suffered. More than two thirds consider changing their looks or losing weight to avoid bullying in the future. Alex Holmes, head of the Diana Award anti-bullying campaigns, summed up the concern:
“It is incredibly worrying for parents – when you send your child into schools you think it will be a safe and happy place. Young people spend 11,000 hours in full-time education, to think they can be abused is awful.”
Holmes added that having young people consider suicide is ‘incredibly worrying’. The fact that students are being abused on a daily basis has pushed these people to have negative, lethal thoughts.
“For a child to feel suicidal is totally unacceptable,” Holmes said.
The charity works with thousands of schools across the UK on anti-bullying campaigns. For the survey, the charity polled 1,865 young people aged nine to 17 years old. A total of 72% of the students surveyed were in secondary school and 25% in sixth form or college.
Cutting one’s hair, using makeup and losing weight are among the practices young people consider to put an end to their bullying and become more likable to their peers.
The researchers found that bullying in schools has long-term effects including damaging victims’ self-esteem, relationships and careers. The researchers polled 578 adults and more than half of them mentioned that the bullying they received in their youth is still affecting their daily lives.
As the research showed, bullying is not taking place just in schools. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are bullying playgrounds, too:
“Our research seems to suggest that the largest amount of bullying is verbal and face to face. But that is not to say that the drama in playgrounds doesn’t turn to digital drama online. We are seeing bullying continue online. It amplifies the bullying – there is a bigger audience and in some cases anonymity,” Holmes said.
Nearly 52% of those surveyed said they were feeling depressed as a result of online and offline bullying.
To highlight the gravity and extent of bullying in schools, British celebrities are supporting the charity’s campaigns and speak of the bullying they suffered at school, including The Vamps’ singer James McVey, who says:
“I would be punched in the stomach whenever I was seen in the corridors, and told that I would to be ‘cut up and hidden under the floorboards’. …“I think, for me, the worst part was the fear before school, and also walking through the corridors; there’s nothing worse than living in constant fear in a place you’re meant to feel safe,” he added.