Helpline 179


The internet helpline is an extension of Support line 179 and aims to offer support to individuals that reach them via telephone on free phone 179 or email 179.appogg@gov.mt . The helpline offers support to parents, educators or minors on any online safety issues such as cyberbullying, sexting and online grooming. The individuals seeking support will be referred to a holistic team of experts that are specifically trained in the handling of such cases.

In the addition to the national support line 179, Kellimni.com is another support service that is run as a result of a partnership between the SOS Malta, Salesians of Don Bosco, Aġenzija Appoġġ, and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. It is manned by a team of professionally trained operators.  The Kellimni.com team can be contacted through email, chat and smart messaging.  Chat lines are open 24/7 and can be accessed here.

 

1. Who can benefit from our support.

 We are a team of professionally trained volunteers, who run the national support line 179, who offer support, information about local social welfare services and other agencies, and a referral service to callers who requires specialised or additional support.  Apart from the support in relation to online safety, the national support line also acts as a national service to people who are experiencing times of difficulty or crisis.

 

 2. What can we help with.

Support line 179 receives calls on situations of child abuse, domestic violence, drug/alcohol/gambling problems and other situations such as the following:

Cyberbullying

This involves the use of technology deliberately upset, threaten and intimidate someone else. This type of bullying takes place in the virtual world and therefore goes beyond the boundaries of school and school hours.  It therefore has the potential to affect someone, not just at school but at home or any other place as well. It can happen anytime and can make someone feel upset or threatened even in his / her own home or ‘safe place’. 
 
How does ‘cyber bullying’ differ to traditional bullying?
 
Cyberbullying can be an extension of bullying that goes on at school through technological means. The person who is bullying uses new technology such as websites, text messages, social networking sites and emails to embarrass, demean, harass, intimidate, or threaten other people.
 
Any type of bullying involves:
 
An imbalance of power - for example a group ganging up on an individual or someone much more confident picking on someone who is less confident.
Repeatedly picking on someone over the phone, email, website or online forum (for example, sending messages to the same person over and over).

Sexting/Self-made videos or photos

Sexting is the sending of nude or semi-nude selfies by mobile phone, or posting sexual images on social networking sites such as Facebook, Snapchat etc.

Often, teens send explicit images to a partner or to friends for their eyes only. It could also be that in a moment of blurred judgment, they let someone take pictures of them that they might not otherwise agree to.

What can potentially happen next?

Harassment or cyber stalking: threats to share the images.

Outing: posting or sharing the images publicly

Impersonation: pretending to be the person who created the image and posting or sharing it publicly, often with the suggestion that the person is interested in sexual contact.

 

Many young people are unaware that sexting can be a criminal offence when the subject of a sext is a minor, even if the person committing the offence is also a minor. A young person found to have a naked or semi-naked photo of someone under 18 on their phone or computer, even if they delete it, can be charged with child indecent content. They can also be charged even if it is a photo of them and they agreed to the photo being sent.

Grooming

Child grooming refers to actions deliberately undertaken by an adult with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, in order to lower the child's inhibitions in preparation for sexual activity or exploitation of the child.

This can be done through various means of internet communication systems such as: 

  • Social Networks (ex. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram)
  • Instant Messaging (ex: Messenger, Whatsapp
  • Chatrooms (ex. Skype)

In a number of cases young people think they have met somebody online who is really special, but they are in fact speaking to an adult who has a sexual interest in them. These adults and older adolescents target children and young people with the aim of making them feel loved enough to want to meet them in person in the real world.

In most cases online groomers want to be seen as a trusted peer or caring older person. Sometimes they might pose as someone needing help or in distress, which makes the victim less suspicious of the groomer's actions and intentions. Groomers will typically want the victim to keep part, if not all, of the relationship secret. Conversations might often focus on the meaning of "true love," involve talking about sexual issues, or include requests for photos and web cam sex.

 

3. How we can be reached.

 Dial free phone 179 or send an email to 179.appogg@gov.mt

 

 4. What happens after you contact the Helpline.

 Due to the fact that all cases are different, you will be supported and guided according to your individual needs.  There are cases which can be easily resolved over the phone where tained volunteers will listen to concerns and guide callers to the relevant help.

Call 179 for support and guidance on the issues related above or where the minor may be feeling uncomfortable relating to an online situation.

 

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