Bullying in cyberspace is much less prevalent than in the real world, according to a survey of more than 120,000 teenagers in England.

Some 33,000 of the 15-year-olds (30%) questioned said they had experienced a form of bullying in the past couple of months.

Of those, 29,302 reported physical or verbal bullying only.

And 3,655 teenagers (3%) said they had been bullied both face-to-face and online.

But just 406 of the teenagers (less than 1%) said they had been bullied only in cyberspace.

Researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute said: Traditional bullying is considerably more common among adolescents in England than cyberbullying.

They said their findings did not square with media reports and the popular perceptions that young people are now more likely to be victims of cyberbullying than traditional forms.

In 2014, Sky News reported how police were dealing with thousands of children for breaking laws used to crack down on those abusing others online.

Earlier this year, the anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label reported it found more than half of children had been bullied while playing games online.

A poll commissioned by the charity Action for Children found as many as one in seven children were bullying others online.

The researchers’ findings also come in stark contrast to a report by the NSPCC on bullying in 2015/16, which noted that calls to Childline about cyberbullying have increased 88% over the last five years.

The NSPCC says that according to the counselling sessions held with young people, cyberbullying is now almost as prevalent as physical bullying.

Claire Lilley, NSPCC’s head of Child Safety Online, said: We know that cyberbullying can be particularly damaging because it doesn’t stop at the school gates. Bullying can be devastating for young people no matter what form it takes.

Every year we receive more and more calls about cyberbullying. It’s vital that children who are being bullied tell someone what’s going on, either by talking to a trusted adult or by contacting Childline on 0800 11 11.

(c) Sky News 2017: Online bullying may not be as prevalent as feared

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