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Threat of online bullying greater than offline

Published: 25 May 2022
Last updated: 16 March 2023

Older children in the UK are more likely to be bullied on a screen than in person, Ofcom has found.

Our latest study into children’s media and online habits shows that four in 10 children aged 8-17 (39%) have experienced bullying, either on or offline. Among these children, the bullying was more likely to happen on a device (84%) than face-to-face (61%).

The most common way for children to be bullied via technology was through text or messaging apps (56%), followed by social media (43%) or online games (30%).

Two thirds of parents worry in general about their child being targeted by online bullies. Among parents of children who game online, over half were concerned about being bullied during gameplay (52%).

Most children (93%) say that they would tell someone if they saw something upsetting or nasty online. Girls are significantly more likely than boys to always tell someone about something worrying that they had seen (62% vs 56%).


of children aged 8-17 have experienced bullying, either on or offline

The digital playground

So where is cyberbullying happening? How can parents speak to their kids about it? In the second episode of our podcast Life Online, Ofcom’s Joe Smithies looks for answers with Dr Radha Modgil and the Diana Award’s Alex Holmes. And anti-bullying ambassadors from the Diana Award – Paige, Harman and Theo, aged 16 and 17 – share their experiences of online bullying.

Where can I listen and subscribe to Life Online?

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