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Kids’ helpline for safer internet use Article from Cyprus Mail

A HELPLINE has been set up to help children tackle issues related to internet safety, such as phishing, intimidation and bullying.

The line will operate daily between 8pm-9pm. Children will be able to call in and talk anonymously to trained professionals concerning issues related to internet risks.

Experts believe children encounter dangerous and disturbing material on the internet and they may even experience fear, intimidation and bullying.

The helpline will offer access to psychological support and hopes to help youngsters deal with complex situations, take action and even report illegal websites.

Callers can report illegal or disturbing presences on the internet to SafenetCY. The Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute together with CYTA are operating the line.

To prepare for the launch, experts held a three-day training seminar last week. The President of the Pancyprian Co-ordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children (PCCPWC) Ninneta Kazantzi and the Chair of the Board of the Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute Dr Yiannis Laouris announced the launch of the helpline at the conference.

Professionals from the CyberEthics team, Polish expert Marta Woidas and two local experts, Elisa Georgiades and Soula Kapouti of the YouthBoard shared their experiences with other helplines and briefed psychologists and volunteers ahead of their involvement.

CyberEthics concerns the safe use of internet in Cyprus and hopes to serve the needs of all the island's inhabitants, including Turkish Cypriots and other minorities. Its aim is to address issues of pornography, racism, gender discrimination and inappropriate use of peoples' images. It operates as a combined awareness node and a hotline.

The launch of the helpline takes place just a few weeks ahead of 2009's Safer Internet Day, which falls on February 10. Those interested in further training can communicate with the coordinator of CyberEthics in Cyprus.

n CyberEthics internet safety hotline 22-674747