Safer Internet Day 2019 in Norway: GDPR, social media and children under 13

Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made its way through Europe last summer, a new discussion has emerged – and it is perhaps high time: what does the age limits and ratings on social media mean? And when do we, as grown-ups, determine that it is "ok to join"?

Date 2019-03-04 Author Norwegian Safer Internet Centre

The Norwegian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) took the opportunity to put these questions on the agenda for Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019. It was important for them to make room both for a parental voice, but also for youngsters themselves at the event. The Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) had in advance contacted the largest social media businesses to ask them these questions:

  • How do you react to the fact that many underage kids have profiles on your platform?
  • Do you have any means to let parents accept responsibility for kids under 13, and to make a consent form?

As we strive to prepare children on how to act and protect themselves online, we are facing a problem with children under the age of thirteen having profiles and accounts where they are in fact treated like consumers, as if they were thirteen or over. The NMA alongside the Norwegian Directorate for Data Protection published an article on how social media companies must take more responsibility for all these underage children. In Norway, 70 per cent of children aged 9-13 have social media profiles on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, while all these platforms have in fact an age limit of thirteen.

Picture of Safer Internet Day 2019 celebrations in Norway

Children's Ombudsman Inga Bejer-Engh, Actress and mother Ane Dahl-Torp, Tech-teacher Simen Spurkland, Director general at the Norwegian Media Authority Mari Velsand, Director General at the Norwegian Directorate for Data Protection Bjørn Erik Thon, Facebook Public Policy Manager Janne Elvelid, Lisa Klem Brandt, Petter Hessen Finholdt and Ella Fyhn, from Kors på halsen's youth panel at the Norwegian SID-event 2019.

The event organised by the Norwegian SIC received major interest from teachers, parents and professionals working with children. Governmental bodies, parents, children, the Children's ombudsman and researchers on children and marketing in social media took to the stage and weighed in on the question. Facebook itself was also represented and took part in the conversation. The Norwegian youth panel also took to the stage.

Check the Norwegian Safer Internet Day profile page for further information.

Find out more information about the work of the Norwegian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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