Dramatic rise in mobile phone and online bullying

Growing numbers of British children say they are carrying knives and bottles to defend themselves against bullies, according to a new report.

Children's rights director for England Roger Morgan warned that bullying by mobile phones and websites are on the rise.

And a study into the experiences of children in care or boarding schools found many felt this new form of intimidation in general was getting worse.

Dr Morgan, who is based at the education watchdog Ofsted, said: "Bullying was once considered the domain of the school playground.

"But more and more children and young people we spoke to are now suffering at the hands of bullies in many places - at home, in the classroom, in the street, and now even online."

Dr Morgan's report, Children On Bullying, found young people were worried that experiences of abuse could stay with them for life - and even lead to suicide.

Two groups of children who took part in discussions said bullying could bring friends together to defend each other.

But some children and teenagers said they could protect themselves by carrying weapons as they increasingly feared violence on the streets.

About four out of 10 youngsters said they had been victims of electronic bullying, by threatening text message or mobile phone call.

It can also include having an embarrassing photo taken of them and circulated via the internet or mobile phones, and "happy slapping", where attacks are filmed.