Young LGBTQ+ people are more than twice as likely to experience hate speech online compared with their heterosexual peers, a new report on internet usage has revealed.

Being online was also more likely to negatively impact minority groups more generally, according to the annual Digital Youth Index study.

Additionally, both LGBTQ+ people and those living with a mental health condition were said to face higher unease with their online lives than the average person.

The report concluded that more than two-thirds of young people (a group defined as those between the ages of eight and 25) had witnessed distressing content during their time online.

This was said to be most common on social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr.

“It’s never been more important for young people to feel connected, included and secure when they’re online,” said Paul Fletcher, the Chief Executive of Nominet, the company that oversees the .uk domain name and put the report together.

“Completing this research over a number of years allows us to compare young people’s digital skills, their use of online services and their mental health and overall wellbeing over time. Society depends on young people learning to thrive in our increasingly digital world.

“Growing the diversity of the UK’s digital talent pool and increasing digital skills for all young people is vital not just for improving social mobility and the economy, but for building the kind of society we need, today and tomorrow.”

Digital devices were found to have negatively impacted the sleep of three in 10 people surveyed, while more than quarter stated that they want to spend less time on them.

Just 53% of those surveyed believed that being online has had a positive impact on their relationships with friends.