Thousands of children across the UK are suffering from depression and are even contemplating suicide after being targeted by cyber bullies, a new report says.
One in four children have been targeted by cyber bullies with, 28 per cent of children aged 11 to 16 having experienced bullying on the internet or via a mobile phone, writes Chris Brooke at the Daily Mail.
More than half of the incidents of cyberbullying take place on Facebook, with MSN messenger being the second most common platform for the abuse to take place.
The survey was carried out by the charity Beatbullying and the National Association of Head Teachers. 4,600 children were analyzed and, worryingly, 11 per cent of those who had been on the receiving end of this bullying said it made them depressed, and 3 per cent attempted suicide.
The report said:
"There have been a significant number of child and teenage suicides caused by relentless online aggression.
"In the face of this, it is increasingly difficult to argue that the online world is not âreal' when activities there can have such devastating repercussions in the real lives of young people."
âSexting' in schools also seems on the rise, with 6 percent of surveyed pupils explained how they had received an image or sexual message that made them feel uncomfortable.
Teachers are also under an increasing amount of cyber attacks, as uncovered in a survey at the end of the year.
In this study it was revealed that one in 10 teachers said they experienced technological harassment, while 15 per cent said they felt afraid for their safety or that of their family.
"Teachers also spent an average of six hours a week dealing with cyber bullying cases – costing the taxpayer an estimated £18million a year."
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of Beatbullying, said:
"Cyber bullying continues to be a dangerous problem for a significant number of young people and we must not ignore its complex and often devastating effects.
"We as a society need to take responsibility for both preventing such harmful and anti-social behavior, and dealing effectively with incidents of virtual violence when they occur."
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, added:
"The benefits of new communications technologies in education are hard to overstate but we know that when they are abused, life can be made a misery for pupils and teachers alike."