General News

More than half of young people are bullied because of appearance

Paul Gustafson April 29, 2015

New research published on April 16 shows that 51 percent of young people are bullied because of their appearance.

Ditch the Label

WORKING in partnership with schools and colleges across the UK, the Annual Anti Bullying Survey 2015, published by anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, surveyed 3,600 teenagers between the ages of 13 – 20.

The report found that appearance is the key reason for bullying in the UK, to the extent that nearly half the young people surveyed (47%) wanted to change their appearance, with:

• 56% wanting to weigh less

• 17% wanting breast implants

• 5% wanting Botox.

The research showed that teenagers as young as 13 are considering these procedures, while 14% developed an eating disorder as a result of bullying.  30%  of those questioned admitted to having had suicidal thoughts.

For the first time, the charity also surveyed teenagers to establish how many people are perpetrating the bullying. It found that 50% of young people have bullied another person, with 30% of those bullying others at least once a week.  13% of teenagers reported being bullied by a teacher.

The report also highlights that there is much work to be done in schools to support those who have been bullied. 92% of bullied young people have turned to a teacher for support but only 51% were satisfied with the support they received, whereas of the 86% that turned to a family member only 18% were dissatisfied.

Liam Hackett
Liam Hackett

Liam Hackett, Founder and CEO of Ditch the Label, says: “Our Annual Bullying Survey 2015 cites attitudes towards the appearances of young people as the most common reason for bullying in the UK. The implications of appearance-based bullying are significant and can have devastating, long-term impacts.

“The evidence is clear: young people are now considering drastic and invasive measures to alter their appearances due to insecurities and bullying. Teens as young as 13 are adding things such as liposuction and breast implants on their wish list because they want to feel accepted by their peers and society. This report also identifies that young people are also being failed by the existing support measures that are currently in place.”

Ditch the Label provide comprehensive support, training and intervention materials for schools, colleges and parents on their website at They additionally urge people to think differently about bullying and to try and understand the perspective and motive behind the person doing the bullying.

Professor Ian Rivers
Professor Ian Rivers

Professor Ian Rivers, psychologist, author and Professor of Human Development and Head of School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, comments: “This report demonstrates the importance that we now place upon physical appearance, weight, size and body shape. It is a sad indictment on society that young people judge by how a person looks rather than by their actions or deeds. We need to encourage young people to look beyond the surface and value one another. Ditch the Label celebrates diversity in all its forms. It would be a boring world indeed if we all became stereotypes.”

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