Children’s helpline to combat internet dangers
HELPLINE counsellors are being recruited to take calls from children in yet another initiative to crackdown down on unsafe internet use.
The Pancyprian Co-ordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children (PCCPWC) in collaboration wit the CyberEthics project is looking for operators for its Safer Internet Helpline for Children.
The anonymous helpline is targeted at children who may encounter dangerous and disturbing materials on the internet and experience fear, intimidation and bullying and want to talk to a professional about it.
"The possibility to talk anonymously to a professional may support them psychologically to deal with such complex situations and even take action and report illegal web pages," said a CyberEthics press release.
The new helpline is offering training to people interested in taking part in the scheme.
The training will span two days and will take place on Saturday April 4 from 10am to 2pm and Wednesday April 8 from 3pm to 6pm.
The criteria for participation are a background in counselling, psychology, pedagogy or other related fields which place an emphasis on the cultivation of high-level communication skills. Upon successful completion of the training, the applicants will receive a certification of attendance and will be able to work as Helpline operators.
The operators will be expected to work a number of one hour shifts each month, depending on the number of applicants who successfully complete the training. They will be paid €5 for each shift.
The Safer Internet Helpline will be operated by PCCPWC and the Cyprus Neurocience and Technology Institute. The latter already operates another such hotline in co-operation with CYTA called SafenetCY (details available at www.cyberethics.info).
The goal of the new helpline is to provide guidance and counselling on internet safety issues. It will operate for an hour daily from 8pm to 9pm. Similar helplines are being launched throughout Europe with the support of the European Commission.
CyberEthics is the Cyprus Awareness Node for the safer use of the internet and it gives presentations at schools, municipalities and media on a regular basis. Partners in the CyberEthics project are also CYTA, the Ministry of Education's Pedagogical Institute and the Turkish Cypriot NGO, Olive Branch Foundation.