ONE-in-seven Irish teens has been the victim cyber-bullying in the last three months, according to new findings.
And one-in-11 young people admitted to cyber-bullying others over the same period, said Dr Stephen Minton, a lecturer in the psychology of education at Trinity College.
The levels of cyber-bullying and cyber-aggression appear similar in both boys and girls, particularly in young teenagers – peaking in adolescents of around 13 years of age.
"Exclusion-type bullying is always more prevalent among females than males.
"The physical forms of bullying are always more prevalent among males than females, but in terms of cyber-bullying, it is roughly even for most categories," said Dr Minton.
He will reveal more findings at the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) conference in Dublin Castle tomorrow.
He pointed out that "most of our data relates to 13 to 16-year-olds. We can't really say with great confidence whether kids grow out of it or not.
"We don't have the hard numbers but our experience of working with young people, working with teachers, working with parents, would seem to be that this sort of thing seems to be a difficulty perhaps most associated with the early teenage years.
"But we also find that conventional and non-cyber forms of bullying also peak at 13 years of age," he said.
Dr Minton's lecture will relate to the wider issue of the role of social media in the lives of young people with illness.
Some social media sites have made substantial improvements in relation to cyber-bullying, but others continue to allow such behaviour – often while affording the perpetrator relative anonymity.
He believes the Government's decision not to introduce legislation in this area earlier this year was "a mistake".
"If the law is unclear, if the response of technology providers is intermittent, it really puts the onus on parents to smarten themselves up. There is no excuse to say 'oh this is all beyond me, we didn't do computers in school'.
"Get to know the sites and above all keep communication open with the child.
"While modern-day adolescents may be digital natives, their technological ability outstrips their emotional maturity."
Meanwhile, a separate survey of more than 10,000 young people has found that seven-in-10 have been victims of cyber-bullying.
The survey was conducted by charity Ditch the Label in partnership with Habbo Hotel, an online community for teenagers.
Some 10,008 young people responded, of which approximately 250 were Irish.
It showed that the most extreme impact bullying had was on people's self-esteem, followed by impact on their social life, optimism, studies, home life and future career. The annual cyber-bullying survey is among the largest of its kind.
Ditch the Label founder and chief executive Liam Hackett said that cyber-bullying was not just a "passing phase" and was having a profound impact upon the lives of millions.
"Cyber-bullying is seriously damaging the self-esteem and future prospects of young people and is an issue that we cannot afford to overlook," he said.
Some 52pc of the respondents were male, 46pc female and 2pc transgender. All were aged between 13 and 22.