Latest helpline trends, Quarter 2, 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.

The structure and composition of helplines varies greatly across the Insafe network which some being general helplines dealing with a huge array of issues, some dealing specifically with online issues, and some catering for very targeted audiences such as professionals only. Nevertheless, the latest set of data, covering the period from April to June 2016, confirms that teens are the main users of helpline services, with almost three quarters of helplines identifying 12-18 year olds as the main group using their services. This supports the trend seen also by awareness centres that this age group tends to be the one that faces the greatest challenges online.

In terms of methods of contacting helplines, the telephone still remains the most common method of making contact, although this has declined slightly over the last 18 months while the number of contacts using chat and, to a lesser extent, email has risen slightly. This recognises the growing number of helplines that are introducing this capability in order to meet the demand, particularly from teens who favour alternative methods of contact which align with how they typically interact with other types of content and services online.

In terms of issues seen by helplines, these remain broadly similar to previous reporting periods with issues around cyberbullying and love, relationships and sexuality online topping the list. Privacy - and more so abuse of privacy - saw a slight increase in reports during this quarter, and many helplines reported supporting users to take control of privacy settings where appropriate. In line with this, awareness centres are continuing to develop educational information about how to take control of privacy on specific sites and platforms – the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Guide to online services provides tip sheets on many of the main apps and services, often in a range of languages.
 
Read the full report here.
 
Find out more about the work of the Insafe network of helplines, including national contact details, at helplines.betterinternetforkids.eu.

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