The majority of UK parents believe bullying in schools is more intense now than it was when they were children, according to a study.
Researchers who polled 1,571 adults and 448 kids found eight out of ten mums and dads worry children are singled out at school more frequently now, mainly because of social media and mass ownership of smart phones.
However, it also emerged more than three quarters of the parents who took part in the study had a hard time at the hands of playground bullies when they were growing up, compared to 31 per cent of children today.
And parents claim children are bullied for LESS time now than in the past – three months compared to 18 months a generation ago.
The study was carried out by ChannelMum.com to mark National ‘Stand Up To Bullying Day this Wednesday.
Cathy Ranson, editor of ChannelMum.com, said: “Bullying is damaging, cruel and can scar the lives both of children and adults. But the more we talk about it and bring it out into the open, the less power the bullies have.
“While children today are still suffering, it’s clear they are more ready than past generations to speak our and stand up to the bullies.
Bullying survivor and Head of the Anti-Bullying Campaign at The Diana Award, Alex Holmes said: “This Wednesday is Stand Up To Bullying Day where we encourage the nation to stand up to bullying.
“Parents can play a big role in this with positive strategies, support and hope.
“I’m sure that this campaign and video packed full of advice and experiences from parents will enable others to stand up and protect children from the harmful effects of bullying.”
The study also found name calling (85 per cent) was the most common form of bullying suffered by the adults who took part, followed by being excluded from social groups (53 per cent), pushing (35 per cent) and being followed and taunted (31 per cent).
A further eight per cent of adults were cyber bullied and seven per cent were the victims of serious violent attacks.
Three In five (60 per cent) resolved the issue through the school, over a quarter (26 per cent) went directly to the bullies’ parents, and one in 20 posted on social media to warn other families.
Seven per cent involved the police and 16 per cent tackled the bullies themselves.
Almost twice as many children are cyber bullied (17 per cent) now compared to their parents, while violent attacks have almost halved, down from eight per cent to four per cent of bullied children suffering.
Theft has also dropped from 13 per cent to seven per cent today.
Of the adults polled who were bullied, the majority confided the childhood attacks are still effecting them, with 58 per cent reporting a lack of self esteem, 48 per cent anxiety and 26 per cent feeling depressed.
A quarter (23 per cent) have not gone for a better job through fear related to bullying. And tragically, ten per cent have had suicidal thoughts linked to the bullying while 12 per cent have experienced an eating disorder.
But looking back, 54 per cent of adults bullied as a child would urge youngsters to ‘tell someone straight away’, while half believe bullies are the weak ones while 48 per cent refusing to ‘let bullying define me’.
Alarmingly, 58 per cent of adults bullied as children say it is still effecting them as adults.
Of the children who took part 51 per cent who were bullied felt confident enough to tell their parents what was happening, leading to 82 per cent of adults being able to stop the bullying once they found out.
Two thirds of plucky youngsters would tell a teacher, 35 per cent would inform another adult they trust while two in five (38%) would step in to stop the bullying as it happened.
A further two per cent would name and shame the bullies on social media.
As a result, 76 per cent of kids and 74 per cent of adults think all bullying should be made a crime, with 30 per cent wanting the Government to do more to stamp it out.
The average time a child is bullied for has dropped from 18 months a generation ago to three months now