Latest helpline trends: Quarter 1, 2018

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 January to March 2018 inclusive, and saw almost 11,500 contacts which related to online issues. This was an increase on the previous reporting period (10,809). Once again cyberbullying remains the issue which helplines are dealing with most often with around 18 per cent of calls relating to this.
 
This reporting period marked the first in which Insafe helplines used a new set of categories to log calls against. Changes were made following extensive consultation with the Insafe helpline network and the new categories reflect some of the emerging trends and challenges that helplines are supporting young people with. Hate speech and sextortion are two new categories which reflect some of the current challenges facing children and young people today.
 
Graph showing Insafe helpline data Jan-Mar 2018
 
Teens were once again the group making most use of helpline services, with 68 per cent of calls from this age group. Parents and also younger children (up to 11 year olds) accounted for 13 and 12 per cent of all contacts respectively.
 
Data privacy was the focus of almost 8 per cent of calls which is perhaps not surprising given the huge focus on the newly-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) during this reporting period. This new category covers those contacts made under the previous categories of privacy (abuse of privacy and how to protect privacy); it is used to indicate concerns around the abuse of personal or private information, as well as how to protect privacy and how to react when something has gone wrong.
 
Several helplines specifically mentioned the game Fortnite which has been in the news a great deal recently with many children and young people spending lots of time playing it. The UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) has published a blog about the game which provides some useful information. The new category of gaming accounted for four per cent of all calls.
 
Once again, there were a large number of calls relating to children's access to pornographic content. Inappropriate content on mainstream social media sites was also a concern and the Insafe network continues to work very closely with some of the key platform providers so that they are able to better support children and young people who are using their services.
 
The new category of sextortion accounted for just over 3 per cent of calls. Sextortion continues to be a concern and some helplines noted that calls concerning cyberbullying often included elements of sextortion and blackmail. Data from the Dutch helpline, for example, showed that 26 per cent of calls related to sextortion.
 
Find out more about the work of the Insafe network of helplines, including national contact details, at www.betterinternetforkids.eu/helpline-statistics, where country comparisons can also be made.

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