The number of Britons as young as 11 visiting self-harm websites has nearly trebled in three years, according to the most comprehensive study into children and the internet.
As many as 17 per cent of children had seen websites promoting self-harm in 2013, up from 6 per cent in 2010.
Reports of cyberbullying had also risen, from 8 per cent to 12 per cent last year which saw a disturbing number of teenage suicides, including 14-year-olds, Hannah Smith and Izzy Dix, who took their lives as a result of online abuse.
A Europe-wide academic study, Net Children Go Mobile, showed as many as a fifth of 13-year-olds had gone on pro-anorexia sites. The study of 3,500 children aged nine to 16 across seven countries – 500 of them in in the UK – found a quarter admitting they were missing food or sleep to go online.
Professor Sonia Livingstone from the London School of Economics, who oversaw the study’s British side, said: “No one wants to imagine their kids looking at dodgy sites but things that weren’t on the agenda are rising. Without panicking, we need to broaden our gaze, to talk to our kids about a wider range of online issues.”Reuse content