Half of teenagers have bullied others, report finds

TES News, 16 April 2015 

Half of teenagers admit to having bullied others and more than three-quarters have witnessed bullying, a survey has found.

A poll carried out by anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label found 50 per cent of the teenagers surveyed said they had bullied somebody. Of these, 30 per cent said they did so at least once a week and 21 per cent did so several times each week.

Some 27 per cent of those who admitted to having bullied someone said they had “said something nasty to somebody online”, and 27 per cent said they had “physically attacked somebody”.

Of the 3,600 people aged between 13 and 20 who took part in the survey, 43 per cent said they had been bullied. Of these, 51 per cent said they were bullied about their appearance and 23 per cent said bullies targeted them over high grades. Nine per cent were bullied over a disability and 8 per cent said they had experienced racist bullying and comments.

Overall, 69 per cent of respondents said they had witnessed bullying. Female students appeared to be at greater risk of being bullied than their male classmates: 54 per cent said they had been bullied, compared with 35 per cent of males.

All respondents were asked how they would like to change their appearance. Thirty-seven per cent said they would like to weigh less, 48 per cent wanted teeth-whitening treatment and 6 per cent said they wanted liposuction.

Liam Hackett, chief executive of Ditch the Label, said the results were “interesting but unfortunately not surprising”.

Ian Rivers, head of the school of sport and education at Brunel University, said: “This report demonstrates the importance that we now place upon physical appearance, weight, size and body shape. It is a sad indictment on society that young people judge by how a person looks rather than by actions or deeds. We need to encourage young people to look beyond the surface and value one another.”