A life cut short by bullies
The family, friends and classmates of a Devon schoolgirl who is thought to have taken her own life after falling victim to cyber bullying are set to gather today to mourn her following her death aged just 14.
Teenager Izzy Dix, was found dead in her Brixham home last month, and her family say she is the latest victim of the cruel online phenomena. Her devastated mother has joined a growing campaign to close down a controversial website which has 70 million users worldwide. Messages on the site have been linked to the suicides of ten young people.
Gabbi Dix has urged support for a petition to close down Ask.fm – which has been described by the Prime Minsiter as "vile".
Izzy, who was said to have been bullied at school and online, was particularly distressed by the unregulated social media site which allows the posting of anonymous comments.
On Facebook, her mother wrote: "Izzy told me she wanted to change the world. Let's do it for her."
As loved ones pay tribute to the 14-year-old, campaigners have revealed the true scale of the growing problem. Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label has produced the largest ever survey of cyberbullying which is published today.
The survey reveals that 69% of young people have been victims, a figure much higher than previously reported.
New research also shows that young men and women are equally at risk of cyberbullying and that young people are twice as likely to be bullied on Facebook than on any other social network.
More than a third are regularly bullied on websites such as Facebook, Twitter and the controversial Latvian site Ask.FM, according to the study published today. One in five suffer abuse on a daily basis.
Liam Hackett, a former victim who founded the charity, said: "Our report has identified that cyber bullying is on the increase. It is seriously damaging the self-esteem and the future prospects of young people and is an issue we cannot afford to overlook.
"Social networks have a moral obligation and a duty of care to their users to implement tight mechanisms of flagging and reporting systems for cyber bullying, although we all have a responsibility and an opportunity to help fix this."
The Annual Cyberbullying Survey 2013 sampled 10,008 young people, aged between 13 and 22 years old, of which 67% were from the UK, 17% from the USA, 12% from Australia and 4% from other countries.
Professor Ian Rivers, who has been researching bullying for 20 years and works at Brunel University, said bullying via social media is now a "global phenomenon".
"This survey demonstrates that young people remain vulnerable online. It is worrying that almost one-in-four young people are victims on a daily basis and is important that those who manage these sites recognise their responsibility to protect them from harassment."
Facing facts: what survey found
The report identified the different levels of cyberbullying across different social networks. Findings show that:
7 out of 10 young people have been victims of cyberbullying.
37% young people have experienced cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis
20% of young people have experienced extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis on social lives of up to 69% of young people.
An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyber bullying with 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyber bullying on a daily basis.
New research shows that young males and females are equally at risk.
Young people are found to be twice as likely to be bullied on Facebook than on any other social network.
Facebook, Twitter and Ask.FM are found to be the most common social networks for cyberbullying.
54% of young people using Facebook reported that they have experienced bullying on the network.
28% of young people using Twitter reported that they have experienced bullying on the network.
26% of young people using Ask.FM have experienced bullying on the network.
Cyberbullying is found to have catastrophic effects