Latest helpline trends: Quarter 1, 2024

The Insafe network of helplines collects data about the types of calls received, which is analysed every three months to examine possible trends and emerging issues. The most recent helpline data covers the period from January to March 2024. This quarter, more than 16,500 contacts were made to the helpline network. 

Date 2024-06-25 Author BIK Team Section awareness, helplines Topic cyberbullying, excessive use, potentially harmful content Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers
Three individuals (only hands visible) holding a tablet and a set of graphs on paper

Almost 60 per cent of contacts come from teenagers, and almost 60 per cent of all contacts are from those identifying as female. Teenagers (12–18-year-olds) are the group which makes the most use of Insafe helpline services and, of course, for many helplines, these young people are the main target audience. Around seven and a half per cent of contacts were received from 5–11-year-olds – this represents an increase of three percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Contacts from parents are significant, accounting for 28 per cent of the total. 

This reporting period saw several helplines citing an increase in contacts relating to e-crime, which is defined as chain emails, phishing sites, identity theft, fraud, data theft, copyright infringement, hacking, piracy, and so on. This category has been accounting for an increasing percentage of contacts over the last couple of years, and there has been a rise of two percentage points on the previous quarter. Some helplines also reported an increase in contacts from both adults and children seeking help with technical settings on devices and platforms. 

Cyberbullying remains the most common reason for contacting a helpline with over 13 per cent of contacts concerning this. 

Six per cent of contacts related to excessive use during this reporting period – this represents the highest proportion of calls concerning this issue, and it has risen by two percentage points since Q1 of 2023. 

An infographic provides a visual representation of many of the above points

Insafe contacts are now grouped into four main areas: 

  1. Being online (incorporating advertising and commercialism, data privacy, fake news, media literacy/education, potentially harmful content, self-harm, suicide and technical settings. This area accounted for 35 per cent of all contacts. 
  2. Online violence (incorporating cyberbullying, e-crime, hate speech and radicalisation/terrorism) accounted for 25 per cent of all contacts. This was a five per cent increase on the previous reporting period. 
  3. Online activities/relations (incorporating excessive use, gaming, love, relationships, sexuality (online), online reputation, and pornography) which accounted for 26 per cent of all calls.
  4. Online sexual abuse and violence (incorporating grooming, the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (NCSII), and the online sexual coercion and extortion of minors (which used to be referred to as sextortion). This area accounted for 15 per cent of all contacts made.  

 A graph to show the reasons for contacting helplines January-March 2024. Among the most common reasons are cyberbullying, e-crime and love/relationships/sexuality online.

Reason for contacting the helplinePercentage
Radicalisation/terrorism0.18 per cent
Advertising/commercialism0.41 per cent
Hate speech0.55 per cent
Pornography0.80 per cent
Grooming2.62 per cent
Technical settings2.95 per cent
Self-harm3.46 per cent
Gaming3.89 per cent
Online reputation3.98 per cent
Online sexual coercion and extortion of children (sextortion)5.58 per cent
Data privacy5.59 per cent
NCSII5.65 per cent
Excessive use5.84 per cent
Potentially harmful content6.23 per cent
Suicide7.37 per cent
Media literacy/education8.84 per cent
Love/relationships/sexuality (online)9.60 per cent
e-crime11.14 per cent
Cyberbullying13.18 per cent

Find out more about country-based helpline services operating as part of the national Safer Internet Centre at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/sic

Find news updates on helpline services at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/practice/helplines

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