Online Child Harassment Hotline Reports Increase in Calls Due to Covid-19

The Communal Strengthening and Development Ministry just recently talked about the online child harassment hotline. They reported that ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, the number of calls to the 105 hotline of the Child Online Protection Bureau has increased by 60%. Of all the cases reported, 70% of those were deemed to be and then handled as criminal cases. 

This increase occurred between the months of March and September. They were compared to the cases reported last year and yielded a significant increase. 

Nearly 1,660 minors have called the outline. Out of this number, almost 57% were girls. Further data revealed that most of the children who called were aged somewhere between 13 and 16. Research was carried out which led to the conclusion that 66% of girls were harmed online and 74% of the time, boys were the ones giving them grief. 

Instagram was reported as the site where most unfortunate incidents occurred. More than 30% of the complaints registered were of something that happened on the very platform. After Instagram, WhatsApp was where the second-highest number of problems occurred. 24% of the complaints made reported that they had been targeted on the well-known messaging application. 

Orly Levy-Abecassis, the Minister of Communal Strengthening and Development, stated that the rising reports are a major concern for the country. He declared that the online space is not safe for children or the youth. In his opinion, it is the job of the parents to ensure that they monitor their children and their activity. 

He urged parents to be proactive in focusing on what their children are doing online. In case of suspicious activity, the Minister urged them to call the 105 hotline immediately. He also went on to assure that timely action will be taken to deal with any and all of the cases that came to their notice. 

The Child Online Protection Bureau was formed by the coming together of government organizations and police. They wanted to ensure that the youth and children are kept safe online. The 105 hotline call center has numerous trained police officers as its employees. They have had extensive training in how to answer questions and diffuse problematic situations. Additionally, the staff has been instructed to take reports of violence, harm, and crime that is harmful or dangerous to minors online.