The most recent data collection covered the period from October - December 2015 inclusive and saw 9,274 contacts which all related to online issues. The latest set of data shows that there has been a rise in the number of calls relating to cyberbullying. Some helplines have suggested that this may in part be down to the fact that the previous reporting period (July - September 2015) was mainly taken up by the summer holidays whereas the current report covered mostly school time when bullying is perhaps more prevalent.
- Cyberbullying remains the single issue which helplines receive the most calls about. During this reporting period, cyberbullying is over six percentage points higher than privacy (abuse of privacy) although if the two privacy categories are combined then 15.83 per cent of calls concerned privacy. It is also interesting to note that there has been a rise in the number of calls concerning cyberbullying of 3 percentage points (from 14 per cent to 17 per cent). Similarly calls concerning privacy also rose by 2 percentage points (abuse of privacy 9 per cent to 11 per cent and how to protect privacy 4 per cent to 5 per cent).
- Sextortion remains a concern with several helplines making specific reference to this.
- A number of helplines noted that they are receiving more calls from parents who have concerns about their children and their use of technology. There are obvious links to be made here to the need for awareness-raising workshops and other materials and resources to inform and educate parents. A wealth of excellent resources created by the European network of Safer Internet Centres, including many aimed at parents, can be accessed via the resource gallery on the Better Internet for Kids portal.
- One helpline noted that there had been "an alarming number of contacts regarding suicide and self-harm" with young people saying that this was as a result of feeling depressed and lonely. A recent headline from the UK stated that there was a ‘nation of unhappy children' and that "the pressure to keep up with friends and have the perfect life online is adding to the sadness that many young people feel on a daily basis". On Safer Internet Day (SID) 2016, the UK SIC released a report titled 'Creating a better internet for all' which focused on young people's experiences of online empowerment and online hate. The report found that young people want a ‘kind and inclusive internet' although 82 per cent of 13-18 year olds have seen something hateful on the internet in the past year. Worryingly, one in four said that they had been targeted themselves with online hate as a result of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity. Clearly the wellbeing of young people online is something which is of paramount importance and the number who are clearly affected by negative experiences needs to be addressed.