Latest helpline trends: Quarter 2, 2017

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.

The most recent data collection covered the period from April to June 2017 inclusive and saw 11,573 contacts which all related to online issues. This was a rise on the same timeframe in the previous year (8,928 contacts), possibly due to an increased awareness of helplines by the general public, successful helpline marketing campaigns, or raised public awareness of topical online safety concerns, such as the Blue Whale Challenge.

Once again, cyberbullying was the most common reason for contacting a helpline but with a lower percentage of calls relating to this problem than in previous reporting periods. A total of 13 per cent of calls concerned cyberbullying which is the lowest since this period of 2015. It is difficult to determine exactly why this might be, but it is possible that some calls have been logged as other issues, such as abuse of privacy.

bar chart with percentages on the reasons for contacting helplines in April to June 2017.

There was a marked rise in the number of calls about privacy with 12 per cent of calls relating to the abuse of privacy and 7 per cent about how to protect privacy. The combined categories account for 19 per cent of all calls which is the highest since data has been collected. It is possible that increased public awareness as a result of viruses, such as WannaCry and large-scale hacks like the recent giant spambot attack, have led to more concern from members of the public.

It was noted in the last quarterly helpline report (Q1, 2017) that there had been a growing number of calls relating to self-harm and suicide (there was a rise of one percentage point in both categories in the last report). For this quarter, there has been a rise of three percentage points in calls about both self-harm and suicide with these categories accounting for 7 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. Several helplines have cited concerns around the Blue Whale Challenge and have noted that this has undoubtedly led to an increase in calls. Further information on this issue can be found in a previous article on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) public portal.

Find out more about the work of the Insafe network of helplines, including national contact details, at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/helpline-statistics.


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