Playground bullies turn to email and SMS

Playground bullies turn to email and SMS

Thousands of children plagued by nasty or aggressive messages

Text messaging and email are increasingly being used to bully children, according to research carried out over a four-year period.

A survey of more than 11,000 children found that nearly 15 per cent had received nasty or aggressive messages via email or SMS.

The findings were presented to the British Psychological Society by Nathalie Noret of York St John's University College.

"Acknowledging the high prevalence of this kind of bullying is important because most interventions in schools are based on the assumption that bullying is physical or face-to-face," she said.

The British Psychological Society will also be told that the York researchers noted a steady increase in children being the victims of such bullying.

The survey found that girls were more likely than boys to report being bullied by email and SMS.

"Teachers and parents need to realise that a child's mobile phone or computer isn't just a communications tool; it is also a way for a bully to reach children in their own home," said Noret.