One in four teenagers suffered hate abuse online in the last year, a major report has revealed.
A survey of 13 to 18-year-olds found 24 per cent reported that they were targeted on the internet because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity.
One in 25 said they are singled out for abuse “all or most of the time”. The alarming findings emerged in a study published to mark Safer Internet Day.
It revealed more than four in five youngsters have seen or heard “online hate” in the previous 12 months, with 41 per cent suggesting it had become more rife.
Researchers defined online hate as behaviour targeting people or communities via the internet because of their gender, transgender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
Social media platforms were the most common domains in which youngsters witnessed hate on the internet, according to the report.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said the internet industry has a duty to keep young people safe.
“Socialising online is central to children and young people’s lives today, so it’s very worrying that so many are witnessing or experiencing online hate,” he said.