From July 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022, a total of 797 people contacted Helpline 1480, the Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday. A rate of 6.04% related to incidents of cyberbullying.
Specifically in an announcement it is stated that the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute of the Ministry of Education is the coordinator of the Cyprus Safe Internet Center – CYberSafety (https://www.cybersafety.cy) and Helpline 1480.
The 1480 Helpline aims to provide children, young people, parents, teachers, and the wider community with counseling and support services regarding the safe, responsible and ethical use of the Internet and digital technologies.
It is clarified that 135 calls (16.9%), from the total number of calls, were not related to the services provided by Helpline 1480 and related to information, among other things, about benefits and assistance from the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance etc.
Regarding the 662 incidents, which related to the services of the Helpline 1480, 61.3% of the callers (N=406) were female and 38.7% of the callers (N=256) were male.< /p>
As for the profile of the callers, the majority who called for help and support were adults at a rate of 99.5% (N=659). Only 3 people, out of a total of 662 callers (0.5%), were minors (up to 18 years old), who used the 1480 Helpline to report personal difficulties on the Internet.
Regarding the reasons for contacting the 1480 Helpline, most requests were related to cybercrime incidents (53.17%), i.e. dealing with breach of privacy (hacking), financial fraud, etc.
< p>The particularly increased number of related reports concerned the interception of passwords and illegal access to Social Media.
Callers primarily reported receiving messages from profiles belonging to their online friend group, which also appeared to have been compromised, telling them they no longer had access to their email or mobile phone and they were asking to send the verification code to their mobile phone to help them recover their account. Therefore, the callers were pushing the relevant code, thereby allowing their account to be accessed and hacked.
In the relevant cases, the Line Operators guided the recovery process of the accounts, through relevant identification and informed the callers that it is necessary to be careful with people who contact them or with messages (email, sms, etc.) received from social network services, public or non-governmental bodies and banking companies, requesting access or identification/confirmation of their details (eg password, social security number, credit card number).
The importance of not proceeding with any action and contacting the individuals or relevant companies and services directly, investigating the credibility of the relevant requests, was emphasized. In addition, the importance of not trusting messages demanding money, offering gifts, etc. was noted. and strengthen their security settings by, among other things, enabling two-factor authentication.
A large number of calls to the Hotline concerned issues falling under the category of digital literacy/education (20.39%), which remains elevated compared to the corresponding quarterly report in 2021. This fact seems to demonstrate the need to inform the public about digital literacy skills and the importance of support for the safe and responsible use of digital technology and the internet.
At the same time, a significant number of calls to the Hotline concerned how to protect their personal data (8.16%), as well as incidents of cyberbullying (6.04%), demonstrating that cyberbullying remains a perennial problem, for which further and more intensive efforts should be made to inform and raise awareness of it.
However, it is worth noting that this percentage appears significantly reduced compared to the corresponding quarterly report last year, where the number of calls related to incidents of cyberbullying scored a rate of 16.5%.
It is important to emphasize that the number of calls to the Helpline 1480, in relation to the corresponding quarters (July – September), for all years of the Line's operation, shows a significant upward trend. In addition, the number of calls to the Helpline 1480 during the 3rd quarter of 2022 has almost doubled compared to the same period last year.
This finding demonstrates the successful dissemination of the purpose and services of the Helpline. and affirms the significant acceptance and trust of the public towards it.
All citizens can contact the Helpline 1480 by calling, free of charge, the number 1480 (opening hours: Monday – Friday, 9.00 – 13.00 & ; 15:00 – 18:00, and Saturday 10:00 – 13:00) or by sending an email to [email protected] as well as via an online form (https://www.cybersafety. cy/helpline-report) or via chat (https://www.cybersafety.cy/helpline-chat).