Latest helpline trends: Quarter 3, 2016

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

Date 2016-12-15 Author BIK team Section awareness, helplines

The most recent data collection covered the period from July to September 2016 inclusive and saw 7,909 contacts which all related to online issues*. Once again, cyberbullying remains the issue which helplines are dealing with most often although there has been a drop of around 4 percentage points from almost 18 per cent to 14 per cent. Love, relationships and sexuality accounted for 12 per cent of all calls across the network showing a rise on the previous quarter.

Other key findings include:

  • Some helplines noted the influence of YouTubers and vloggers on children and young people. Indeed, at the recent Safer Internet Forum (SIF), a representative from Google talked about their work with ‘impactful YouTubers' to consider what tolerance and respect looks like online.
  • As in previous reporting periods, some helplines refer to the fact that younger and younger children are struggling with a range of different issues including cyberbullying, sexting and accessing content that they think is harmful.
  • There is an ongoing challenge for helplines in dealing with content which is not illegal but which can be very harmful and distressing for children and young people. This was also discussed at the recent Safer Internet Forum (SIF), with a colleague from the Norwegian helpline talking about the cotton ball diet which has been promoted by some ‘celebrities' The helpline has received a number of calls concerning this.

* It is worth noting that this period of time covers the school summer holidays which can have an impact on helpline statistics. Some helplines see an increase in calls with young people not attending school and having more time to get into difficulties, have more time to reflect on their lives, and so on. Equally, some helplines reduce their opening times during the long summer holiday which can also impact upon statistics. This period was also a bridge between two Insafe project-funding periods with some helplines seeing changes in staffing and other human resource challenges.

Find out more about the work of the Insafe network of helplines, including national contact details, at

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