Council chiefs say the increasing use of social media accounts is to blame for a rising number of reports of bullying at schools across Dundee.
Between January and December 2015, and the same period in 2016, reports of bullying increased from at least 78 cases to 115. The figures rose again last year to at least 123.
Between the start of this year and the middle of this month, the figure was at least 89.
Stewart Hunter, convener of the city council’s children and families service committee, said more incidents were being logged with teachers.
He said: “Part of it is that the schools are getting a little bit better at reporting.
“In the last 10 years we’ve seen an increase in social media and a lot more bullying now happens online than perhaps it does in classrooms.
“We’ve been trying to do a lot of work on helping our young people who are being bullied through social media.
“One of the issues is that it’s unseen, whereas if it’s bullying in a classroom or in a playground, people see that. A lot of the efforts over the last five or so years have been talking to kids about the effects of social media. Hopefully what that has done is give kids who use social media a bit more confidence to come forward and speak to teachers and staff about their experiences.
“One of the fantastic things I’ve seen over the last few years is senior pupils in schools leading and doing a lot of peer work, and being able to say, ‘If you’re not able to go to an adult, come to us and we’ll support you and help you as well’.”
Craigie High School has had the most reports of bullying over the last four years, with 115 incidents.
Mr Hunter said: “I know the head teacher and staff are really good at clamping down on it and working to stop the bullying happening again.
“I’m not sure there’s any specific reason why one school has more than the others. But it’s how we react to that and work with the young people to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Mr Hunter also admitted that parents are often frustrated, since child protection rules mean they cannot tell victims’ families how bullies have been disciplined. He added: “We try working with the bully to stop that type of behaviour happening again.
“Often we will involve families and we will work hard to ensure the bully is aware of the damage they’re doing.”