The most recent helpline data covers the period from April to June 2023. There were almost 21,000 contacts made to the network – this is an increase on the previous quarter and represents the highest number of contacts that the network has ever received in a single three-month period. There continues to be an overall upward trend in numbers using the helplines over the last three to four years.
As usual, teens (aged 12-18) are the largest group who are using helpline services; 59 per cent of contacts were from them during this period. This represents an increase of seven percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Parents and teachers make up around 34 per cent of contacts which demonstrates the concern that those caring for children and young people have around these online issues.
During this reporting period there was a drop of six percentage points in contacts being made by phone. Despite this, phone remains the most popular method of reaching out to a helpline with 44 per cent of contacts being made this way. There was an increase of six percentage points in contacts made by chat since the previous quarter. Overall there is a slight decline in contacts being made by phone over time which reflects the ongoing developments in chat and other online means of communication.
Almost 13.5 per cent of contacts were about cyberbullying and this category continues to be the most common reason for contacting an Insafe helpline. As mentioned above, there are several new categories being used to log helpline reports, with suicide, self-harm, pornography, fake news and radicalisation/terrorism all being added and accounting for a total of 13.5 per cent of all contacts. This clearly demonstrates the importance of collecting data around these issues.
Sextortion is now referred to as the online sexual coercion and extortion of children and accounted for over seven per cent of contacts.
There has been a reduction in contacts which are logged as love, relationships, sexuality (online) from 11 per cent to eight per cent. Part of the reasoning for adding the new category of pornography was to better capture the contacts relating specifically to this. Three per cent of contacts were categorised under this heading which, again, suggests that the new categories are providing more granularity in terms of the types of challenges that young people face online.
|Reason for contacting helpline||Percentage of contacts|
|Radicalisation/terrorism||0.2 per cent|
|Fake news||0.7 per cent|
|Hate speech||0.9 per cent|
|Grooming||1.9 per cent|
|Advertising/commercialism||1.9 per cent|
|Pornography||2.5 per cent|
|Self-harm||3.7 per cent|
|Gaming||3.8 per cent|
|Technical settings||3.9 per cent|
|NCSII||4.4 per cent|
|Excessive use||4.6 per cent|
|Online reputation||5.5 per cent|
|Suicide||5.9 per cent|
|Potentially harmful content||6.2 per cent|
|OSCEC (sextortion)||7.2 per cent|
|Data privacy||7.6 per cent|
|Love, relationships, sexuality (online)||8 per cent|
|Media literacy/education||8.8 per cent|
|e-crime||8.9 per cent|
|Cyberbullying||13.4 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 articles on helpline services more generally at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/practice/helplines.