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Girls as likely as boys to be among the few who bully other children online survey discovers

Girls are just as likely as boys to bully other children online a survey of young people’s internet habits reveals.

EU Kids Online asked 25,000 children across Europe whether they had ever bullied others, or been bullied, online and found that 93 per cent had no experience of bullying at all.

However, the three per cent of youngsters who admitted bullying others was almost evenly split between girls and boys, contrasting with studies for bullying away from the computer which show it is significantly more likely to be conducted by boys.

Hands on keyboardThe study, of 9-16-year-olds in 25 countries, found that both those who bully and are bullied online are more likely to be psychologically vulnerable or socially disadvantaged. It suggests that the amount of online bullying could be decreased by providing support, such as mentoring schemes (either online or offline) to the most vulnerable.

The study also revealed that bullying and being bullied are likely to go hand in hand with 60 per cent of those who bully admitting they have been a victim too.

The survey by the EU Kids Online project, which is funded by the European Commission and based at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also found that both victims and perpetrators were more likely to have a social network profile and to meet new contacts online than those involved in offline bullying.

Dr Anke Görzig, one of the project’s researchers, said: ‘Our study of bullying reveals a very healthy picture – for most children online it is simply not an issue. However, where it does occur it tends to affect those young people with social or personal vulnerabilities. It is quite possible to target those youngsters with positive action in both their online and offline lives which should help reduce both the amount of bullying and its seriousness.’

The full report, Who bullies and who is bullied online?, is available with all the EU Kids Online survey findings at www.eukidsonline.net

For more information contact Dr Anke Görzig a.s.goerzig@lse.ac.uk or LSE press office +44 (0)207 955 7060 pressoffice@lse.ac.uk