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Girls are twice as likely as boys to experience cyber-bullying

08 December, 2015: Findings reported in new survey of 120,000 15-year olds, alongside information about body image, wellbeing and diet

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional data are available within this report

Around twice as many girls (19 per cent) than boys (10 per cent) reported being a victim of cyber-bullying3 in 2014, according to new figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre today.

Overall, more than half (55 per cent) of young people in England said they had experienced some form of bullying in the past couple of months.

The findings are taken from the first 'What About YOUth? Survey', which took place in 2014. More than 120,000 15-year olds responded to questions about smoking; general health; wellbeing; physical activity and free time; diet; drinking; and drugs. The results are published in today's report, Health and Wellbeing of 15-year-olds in England - Main findings from the What About YOUth? Survey 2014.4 5

The survey found that girls were twice as likely as boys to think they were "too fat"; 46 per cent thought this compared with 23 per cent of boys. In addition to this, girls were twice as likely to report low levels of life satisfaction as boys (19 per cent and 9 per cent respectively).

The report also shows that in 2014:

  • Nearly one in four (24 per cent) young people reported having ever smoked.
  • On average, one in seven (14 per cent) young people said they had participated in at least one hour of moderate/vigorous physical activity on every day in the last week.6
  • Young people in the least deprived areas were more likely to report having ever had an alcoholic drink than those in the most deprived areas (70 per cent and 50 per cent respectively).
  • Just over one in ten young people (11 per cent) said they had ever tried cannabis.

Paul Niblett, Responsible Statistician, said: "Today's findings report on the behaviours and attitudes of young people nationally and at local authority level, across a range of subjects.

"For the first time, we have also been able to report on experiences and perceptions that will help to provide much needed and well-rounded insight into the health and wellbeing of young people today. The report will be of particular use to families and service professionals working in education and health."

Read the full report at:

Types of bullying experienced by gender, 2014

pdf icon WAY 2014 - Types of bullying [63kb]


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

3. Cyber-bullying in this context is defined as:

  • 'Someone sent mean instant messages, wall postings, emails and text messages, or created a website that made fun of me'
  • 'Someone took unflattering or inappropriate pictures of me without permission and posted them online'

4. What About YOUth? aims to make improvements to the health and wellbeing of young people across England. As part of the study, 15 year olds were invited to answer questions at home or online. More information can be found at:

5. Data on smoking prevalence were published on 4 August 2015. The publication can be accessed at:

6. Government recommendations suggest that young people should take part in at least 60 minutes of moderate/physical activity on every day of the week.

7. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.

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