The Dutch helpline for kids and youth, De Kindertelefoon, was founded in 1979 as a telephone helpline. Later on, it has extended into an online community. Our mission is to enable that all children can talk about their problems in confidence.
On De Kindertelefoon, children can have contact with professionally trained volunteers and together with them find solutions to various problems. The online community includes plenty of information and a discussion forum. There’s also a chat function where it’s possible to talk to the volunteers.
Founded in 2011, our community has become a great success. The forum is meant for the target group of 13-18-year-olds. Our professionals rarely interrupt conversations or otherwise take place in them. Still, the community is safe and contains high quality conversation. How is that possible?
After-moderation and rules
First of all, moderators supervise the community. All comments posted on the community forum are screened by one of our 24 moderators. We use after-moderation which means that the comments are screened after publishing.
We find it very important that we can offer a channel that is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we would moderate every single comment in advance, this would not be possible.
This process however entails a potential risk: Harmful or dangerous comments can sometimes remain on the forum for a little while before the moderators notice them.
To restrain unwanted comments, we have compiled a number of forum rules. The users are for instance not allowed to post any personal contact information of identifiable pictures of themselves. They should also treat each other respectfully. Giving advice to others in a malicious way or encouraging illegal activity is prohibited.
If the rules are violated, the user will get a warning or a ban.
In general, the community is largely self-reliant and self-regulating. This is very nice to see! For example, if a member posts contact details on our forum, the users advice each other not to contact this person. The users can report inappropriate content, which will be looked at by a moderator. This function is used regularly.
We’re also very happy to see that teenagers are good at helping each other. The responses they give on their substantive topics contain high quality advice or support. Moderators get of course involved if false information is given.
The approach of De Kindertelefoon has proven its success. The community users appreciate our peer-to-peer approach: there are many daily requests for help and many comments posted on the forum. Every single day we get to witness the support and help teenagers can give to each other. That makes us very proud to offer this service.