Cyprus Safer Internet Helpline
The Helpline 7000 0 116 started functioning in Cyprus in 2009 as part of the Cyberethics:_Cyprus_Safer_Internet_Center. Children, adolescents and adults, by referring to the Safer Internet Helpline have the opportunity talking with expert operators in case they experienced something negative while they were surfing on the Internet. Trained operators provide support and essential advice so that the crisis is overcame and the situation is confronted with. It is essential for the helpline to inform people who refer to the helpline that the communication is completely confidential and anonymous.The Helpline is a member of the INSAFE European network of Awareness Centres that promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people. The mission of the Insafe cooperation network is to empower citizens to use the Internet, the mobile phone, as well as other online technologies, positively, safely and effectively. The network calls for shared responsibility for the protection of the rights and needs of citizens, in particular children and youngsters, by government, educators, parents, media, industry and all other relevant actors.
Purpose of the existence of the Helpline
The need for an operation of a Helpline has been stressed by the European Committee, which supports the idea that the increasing rhythm of use of the Internet is disproportionate as far as the correct use and the moral education of using it is concerned. Consequently, a lot of children come into contact with pages containing inappropriate content or individuals who want to exploit them. Such cases usually cause fear and intensity, which needs equitable confrontation.
Operation of the Helpline
The Helpline functions under the Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute (CNTI), in collaboration with the Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children. The Helpline currently operates daily from 3pm to 5pm and from 7pm to 9pm, and on weekends from 7pm to 9pm. The Helpline currently employs 6 operators that take shifts to cover the hours. After each shift a ‘shift report’ is being send to the Helpline Coordinator to be processed and put into record.
The Helpine has run visibility events to promote Internet safety issues and has participated and contributed to various forums with the view to develope safer internet initiatives. It has also provided support and speakers for events run by educational organisations, industry associations and child welfare organisations. Interviews regarding the working of the Helpline are regularly given on TV, radio and the written press. It is vital that all relevant agencies work together to promote Internet safety and provide a safer Internet environment for all. The Cyprus Internet Helpline is also an active participant in the organisation of various events and activities to raise awareness in the context of the annual celebration of the International Safer Internet Day.
From the month of January until April 2011 an extensive training has been put into motion targeting educators, sociologists and psychologists in order to train them in taking over the Helpline operators position but also to promote safer internet in their settings. The presentations of the training are placed online. You can find the presentations at: http://www.cyberethics.info.
From January until March 2012 a Safer Internet Trainings is being organized by the Helpline in collaboration with a lot of partners from the Cyberethics project. This training aims to educate adults who use the internet on how to be safe while they are online, and also the ethical part of internet safety.