A British Government survey of more than 120,000 15-year-olds in England found that 63 per cent of girls and 48 per cent of boys said they had been bullied in the past couple of months.
Girls were twice as likely as boys to say they had been victims of online bullying.
They were also more likely to say they had been the subject of sexual jokes, false rumours or the use of “inappropriate” pictures without permission.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “The impact of bullying on young people is devastating and can last a lifetime. Cyber-bullying can be especially torturous as it’s not possible to escape; a child can be bullied in their own home, often by anonymous predators, who hide behind the internet. Online bullying is abuse and we must not allow it to become a standard part of young people’s lives.
“This comes at a time when Childline has seen a very worrying rise in the number of counselling sessions to young people suffering from body image issues and eating disorders – the majority girls – rising by 15 % and 21% in the past year respectively. We must be alert to the issues young girls are facing today – there is no denying there is a growing pressure to look a certain way and they are struggling to cope.”
Paul Niblett, Responsible Statistician from HSCIC said: “Today’s report shows that more than half of 15-year olds in England have experienced some form of bullying in the last couple of months, with girls being more likely to report this. Girls were also twice as likely as boys to report experiencing cyber-bullying.”
“Forms of psychological bullying were more common than physical bullying or cyber-bullying. Just over a third (34 per cent) of 15-year olds reported that they had been called mean names, made fun of or were teased in a hurtful way in the last couple of months.”
“Just under a third (30 per cent) reported they had experienced people telling lies or spreading false rumours about them and trying to make others dislike them.”
While physical abuse was the least likely type of bullying to be reported, it was more common among boys than girls, he said, with 11 per cent of boys reporting being hit, kicked, pushed, shoved around, or locked indoors at least once, compared with 7 per cent of girls.