Around 17% of the calls received by the helplines from 31 European countries in 2015 concerned cyberbullying with relationships online coming second, being the focus of over 11% of calls. Through their close interactions with young people, helplines hear at first hand problems that they experience online.
Collecting this information and using it to develop effective safety responses is now a central part of what helplines do. The report summarises the most prominent current and emerging risks. It also documents the challenges that staff and volunteers encounter in implementing the helpline service. The final report can be found here.
Karl Hopwood, Insafe Helpline Coordinator, explains “Insafe works with a network of European helplines who work to support children and young people, parents, teachers and social workers with a wide range of online issues. The helplines work tirelessly to stay up to date with the rapidly changing esafety landscape.” He considers that “the research carried out by European Schoolnet with EU Kids Online and funded by Kaspersky helps to identify how helplines are able to evaluate their effectiveness, something which challenges all those involved in esafety education and support. Young people are often well versed in “talking the talk” as regards to how to stay safe when they are online but whether they translate this into changing their behaviours is more difficult. Helplines clearly make a huge difference to the lives of those they support and the research will help to support the network in ensuring that the wider public are aware of them and the work that they do.”
The most recent data regarding the reasons for contacting helplines can be seen below and updates can be found at: https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu/web/portal/practice/helplines/statistics.
Brian O’Neill from EU Kids Online welcomed the opportunity to work with European Schoolnet and Insafe on this study of Helplines. He adds “Helplines provide vital support, information and guidance to young people about all aspects of their experience with the internet. Helplines are also a crucial listening service for young people who encounter problems online. The aim of the research was to find out how Helplines can best use this information to make their service more widely known and to demonstrate the impact of the very good work they do. The research will, we hope, assist Helplines in developing methods to enhance information gathering that will contribute to a better public understanding of supports for internet safety and well-being.”
The Insafe network, founded in 2006 and comprised of 31 national awareness centres develop materials, organise campaigns and deliver information sessions for children, young people, parents, carers, teachers and social workers to enable children and young people to make positive use of online technologies, and develop their own strategies for staying safe online. Members of the Insafe network also provide helplines where parents and children can obtain advice and assistance on online safety issues that may be causing them concern. More information, resources and best practice can be found at https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu.