Nearly 700 calls were made to the Cyprus internet safety portal’s 1480 hotline from October 1 to December 31, 2020, marking a 140 per cent increase from last year’s figures.
Operated by the Cyprus Paedagogical Institute, CYberSafety is an education ministry initiative promoting the safe, responsible and ethical use of the internet. Its 1480 hotline is open to members of the public in need of support and advice with any internet issues they may have.
The institute blamed the marked increase in calls, a total of 684, on the Covid-19 pandemic, as 438 calls, around 64 per cent, were not relevant to the services available to those calling the hotline. Callers were instead seeking information on government measures and financial aid.
The other 246 calls were similar to last year’s, with 157 female and 89 male callers. Callers were mostly adults, with only 4.07 per cent aged 18 and under.
Calls about cyberbullying marked an 11.19 per cent increase from last year, while about a quarter of the calls were made with regards to cybercrime, such as hacking, fraud, or identity theft.
An increase of 10.94 per cent concerned e-learning issues in the past year, pointing towards a need to expand internet literacy among the public in light of the pandemic.