2011 has kicked off and cyberhus.dk’s Q&As continue the explosive growth. January saw 164 answers from our volunteer counsellors, which is the highest number ever for one month.

The trend from the last couple of years continues. In both 2009 and 2010, we saw the number of questions from children and young people rising by just over 100 percent. The reason for this increase our coordinating counsellor, Erroll Marshall, thinks can be found primarily in the following two aspects:

 

1. The Knowledge of Cyberhus Is Spreading…

We experience a general increase of visitors on the site. In Counselling we see young people recommending Cyberhus to each other, which is fantastic. This shows that the young people think we do a good job, and that they feel comfortable talking to us, which has been the primary goal for Cyberhus from the beginning.

Our Google optimising has also been of great importance, and Cyberhus now features higher and higher in the young people’s google search on help and information on what is important to them. Here the large number of questions and answers in our Q&As is an essential factor.

 

2. The Q&A’s Safe Environment

Anonymity and no conversation:

We often find that the Q&A is a young person’s first attempt to ask for help and advice, and perhaps the first time they formulate their thoughts and feelings to another person. This lack of experience in articulating their feelings and thoughts that characterise many young people today, makes the conversation with a parent or teacher confusing and difficult for the young person. They are anonymous in the Q&A and can write their questions and describe their situation at their own pace.

The respectful meeting:

In counselling, we have worked hard and professionally with the respectful and written meeting between the young person and the adult counsellor in the Q&A. Erroll Marshall thinks that the educational and ethical ponderings, which is the basis for our answers, pays off and that young people feel they can use our Q&A constructively in their life. He thinks they feel they have been heard, respected, and not least they experience an adult wants to help and takes the necessary time to do it.

Our answers are published on cyberhus.dk, and we can see that our answers are being read by many people. Erroll Marshall believes that children and young people read them to make sure that the adults answering are ‘decent’ before they put up questions of their own.

The virtual platform:

Cyberhus is an online club house, and therefore the web-based aspect is important in this context. The vulnerable young person feels at home on the web, and often feels more comfortable than for an example at an interview at the staff room at school, at the doctor, at the social worker’s office, or at the dining table with mom and dad. This often creates a more safe and constructive foundation for the first dialogue/counselling with an adult.

There can be no doubt that the aim of the Q&As and our counselling in general in Cyberhus is to motivate and ready the young person to seek the dialogue and help with adults in real life. But the opportunity to practise in a Q&A can be a step in that direction.

2011 will be an exciting year in the Q&As, because we, by the number of questions and affiliated volunteers, are also challenged to maintain and continually develop a strong professional and ethical focus in our answers. Every child and every question is unique and must be met and answered as such.

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