Latest helpline trends: Quarter 4, 2022

The Insafe network of helplines collects data about the types of calls they receive and this is analysed every three months in order to look at possible trends and emerging issues. 

Date 2023-03-17 Author BIK Team Section awareness, helplines Topic advertising/commercialism, e-crime, media literacy/education, potentially harmful content Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals
A girl looking at a computer screen

The most recent helpline data covers the period from October to December 2022. There were over 18,800 contacts made to the network which continues the upward trend in the number of people who are reaching out to helplines as has been the case for the last three years. There was an increase of seven percentage points from the previous quarter.  

Cyberbullying continues to be the most common reason for contacting a helpline accounting for 16 per cent of all contacts, a rise of two percentage points since the previous quarter.  

Contacts relating to sexting, sextortion and online sexual harassment account for 16 per cent of all contacts when combined and once again several helplines have cited an increase in sextortion cases in particular. As mentioned in the last BIK bulletin, it was noted that advances in technological evolutions are facilitating criminals who want to benefit from sextortion. When comparing the number of contacts relating to sextortion in 2022 with those received in 2021, there was a rise of 60 percentage points which highlights the scale of this growing problem.  

The main users of the helplines continue to be teens (aged 12 to 18) and this group represents over 61 per cent of all contacts made – a slight rise on the previous reporting period. Helplines received almost seven and a half per cent of their calls from children under 12 which shows the challenges that younger children are facing when they are going online. During this reporting period, parents accounted for almost a quarter of contacts.  

39 per cent of contacts came from individuals identifying as male and this represents a small rise of one percentage point on the previous reporting period. Reaching out to boys remains a priority for many helplines and there are ongoing discussions about the best way to make the services more accessible to this group. Only one helpline received more calls from those identifying as male during this reporting period.  

Helplines will be using an updated set of categories starting at the beginning of April 2023. These were agreed on following a series of meetings and discussions over the last year.  

Chart summarising the reasons for contacting helplines Oct-Dec 2022. Main reasons are cyberbullying and love/relationship/sexuality online. Chart data in the table below.

Figure 1: Reasons for contacting helplines October – December 2022 (© Better Internet for Kids)

Reason for contacting helplinesPercentage of contacts
Hate speech1 per cent
Advertising/commercialism2 per cent
Grooming2 per cent
Excessive use3 per cent
Technical settings4 per cent
Sexual harassment4 per cent
Online reputation5 per cent
Sextortion5 per cent
Gaming6 per cent
Media literacy/education6 per cent
Sexting7 per cent
Data privacy8 per cent
e-Crime8 per cent
Potentially harmful content11 per cent
Love/relationships/sexuality (online)11 per cent
Cyberbullying16 per cent

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