Latest helpline trends: Quarter 2, 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 April to June 2018 inclusive and saw 10,843 contacts which all related to online issues. 70 per cent of calls came from teenagers, once again highlighting the challenges that this group face when they are online.

latest statistics from helplines

It is important to always recognise the benefits and positive experiences that teens have online but they do come across difficulties too. 13 per cent of contacts were from even younger children: 5-11 year olds. As devices are more readily available – perhaps as parents upgrade and then give their "old" device to their children – we are seeing more and more children going online at an earlier age. Some recent cases with this age group have included an eight-year-old child who was really upset by an online game involving a parallel universe. Helpline staff were clear that he needed psychological support which they were able to provide. The parents had suggested that switching the computer off was the best solution. More education is needed around the best way to support children and young people.

Cyberbullying accounted for 16 per cent of all calls and remains the biggest problem for those using the helplines. There was a small increase in calls relating to data privacy perhaps fuelled by attention in the media around what is happening to our data and our right to privacy.

One of the new categories that helplines started logging calls against in 2018 was sextortion. Although the number of calls regarding this has remained fairly steady (around 3 per cent), some helplines did report seeing significant rises and this will be monitored during future reporting periods. 16 helplines dealt with calls about sextortion; 25 dealt with calls about sexting.

Children and their access to pornography was referenced by several helplines and this will be a topic for discussion at the next Insafe Training meeting taking place in October 2018. Helplines have also expressed some concern at children and young people becoming desensitised to some of the content that they are seeing online. The Austrian helpline carried out some research which found that 40 per cent of 11-18-year-old girls have experienced sexual harassment or violence online (the figure is 27 per cent for all 11-18-year olds). The research found that sexual harassment and abuse online is considered as "normal" by young people who feel resigned to it and powerless to do anything about it. This further emphasises the importance of helplines and awareness raising to challenge such beliefs.

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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