There is a rise in cyberbullying in the US, with three times as many girls reporting being harassed online or by text message as boys, according to the National Centre for Education Statistics, AP reported.
The US Department of Education's research and data department released its latest survey in July, showing a rise in online abuse, though the overall number of students who reported being bullied remained the same.
Many schools that once had hands-off approaches to dealing with off-campus student behaviour are now making rules around cyberbullying, outlining disciplinary measures such as suspension, according to Bryan Joffe, director of education and youth development at AASA, a national school superintendents association.
The change has partly come along with broader cyberbullying laws, which have been adopted in states like Texas and California in recent years.
Cyberbullying reports increased significantly, from 11.5% to 15.3% in the 2016-17 school year. The survey showed about 20%, or one in five students, reporting being bullied, ranging from rumours being spread or their being excluded from friendship groups to physical threats and attacks. That is unchanged from the previous survey carried out in 2014-15.
Gender responses to the survey showed that 21% of girls in middle and high school reported being bullied online or by text message in the 2016-17 school year, compared with under 7% of boys.
That number has increased significantly from 2014-15 when 16% of girls between 12 and 18 said they were bullied online, compared with 6% of boys.