Incidences of cyberbullying among teenagers in Ireland are among the highest in Europe, according to a new report.

A quarter of nine- to 16-year-olds experienced some form of bullying, both online and offline. Levels of bullying in Ireland are above average compared with the 25 other countries surveyed as part of Safer Internet Day, a global initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people.

Irish teenagers recorded four times the level of lasting damage from bullying than the European average, with 8 per cent reporting lasting trauma. The European average is 2 per cent.

More than two-thirds of the parents (68 per cent) did not know their children were bullied, while just 29 per cent did know.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn both turned up at this morning’s launch of two initiatives – the Watch your Space public awareness campaign on cyber-bullying, and a new Garda primary schools programme module, Connect with Respect, which deals with online bullying.

Mr Callinan said young people are “extremely vulnerable”, and that gardaí intend to go around to schools to raise awareness of cyberbullying and to offer support to students who are feeling bullied.

Mr Quinn said the level of awareness of cyberbullying was much higher than had been the case, partially as a result of a number of high-profile tragedies involving teenagers targeted in such a fashion.

He said he was “absolutely committed” to addressing all forms of bullying and was providing a budget of €500,000 to fund an action plan on the issue.