The main users of the Insafe helplines continue to be teens (aged 12 to 18), with this group accounting for 59 per cent of all contacts during this reporting period. It is also interesting to note that 24 per cent of contacts were made by parents which is higher than it has ever been and perhaps is a reflection of the growing concerns that parents have about what their children are doing when they go online. A recent spate of worrying headlines, coupled with an acknowledgement that most people have been spending increasing amounts of time online as a result of the ongoing pandemic, will no doubt have contributed to their concerns. It is, however, reassuring that parents are recognising the services that helplines are able to offer and making use of these.
This particular reporting period covers the summer holiday period and so it is understandable that there are fewer calls from teachers during this quarter.
62 per cent of contacts were from those identifying as female; a figure which remains consistent over recent reporting periods. Helplines work hard to promote their services to all, but some of the stigma associated with boys and young men acknowledging that they might need help and support, and the perception from some that asking for help is a sign of weakness, means that this is an ongoing challenge.
Helplines record contacts against 16 different categories and, as usual, the main reason for contacting a helpline is cyberbullying with over 17 per cent of contacts relating to this. Sextortion was referenced by several helplines and this category accounts for five per cent of all contacts. Sexting, sextortion and sexual harassment account for 16 per cent of all contacts when taken collectively and perhaps reflects a growing global concern about online sexual harassment and abuse, particularly of women and girls.
Figure 1: Reasons for contacting helplines July – September 2021 (© Better Internet for Kids)
|Reasons for contacting Insafe helplines||Percentage of contacts|
|Advertising/commercialism||1.06 per cent|
|Hate speech||1.15 per cent|
|Grooming||2.86 per cent|
|Excessive use||3.19 per cent|
|Sexual harassment||4.87 per cent|
|Technical settings||4.37 per cent|
|Sextortion||5.02 per cent|
|Online reputation||4.78 per cent|
|Gaming||4.80 per cent|
|e-Crime||6.90 per cent|
|Sexting||5.69 per cent|
|Data privacy||8.07 per cent|
|Media literacy/education||7.10 per cent|
|Potentially harmful content||12.47 per cent|
|Love/relationships/sexuality (online)||10.38 per cent|
|Cyberbullying||17.30 per cent|