Safer Internet Day 2024 in Norway: harmful content in the digital era

The Norwegian Safer Internet Centre marked this year's Safer Internet Day by focusing on the harmful content which children might face in the digital era, and what their parents can do to help.

Date 2024-03-23 Author Norwegian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness, sid Topic media literacy/education Audience organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers, teachers, educators and professionals
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Harmful content encountered by children and adolescents on social media includes violent videos, exposure through ‘exposed’ accounts, cyberbullying, sexual solicitations from strangers, and aggressive marketing tactics, among others. A digital event hosted by the Norwegian Media Authority addressed these concerns, featuring insights from professionals, including psychologists, the Police Cyber Patrol, and the Norwegian Media Authority itself.

A report launched by the Norwegian Safer Internet Centre titled Robust, resigned or numb highlights discrepancies between children’s experiences and parental concerns. While youth mentioned violent videos and exposure through ‘exposed’ accounts as distressing, parents were more worried about sexual solicitations and aggressive marketing.

Police reports also indicate an increase in ‘exposed’ accounts, with shared content becoming more severe, including illegal material such as sexual abuse and violence. The police seek to intervene in situations where individuals express intent to harm themselves. 

Psychologist Line Indrevoll Stänicke stresses the importance of children sharing their online experiences with adults for guidance and processing. However, many young people refrain from doing so, necessitating proactive engagement from adults without judgment.

Both young people and parents support stricter enforcement of age restrictions on social media platforms to shield minors from inappropriate content. New EU regulations, such as the Digital Services Act (DSA), aim to make social media safer by imposing measures like enhanced age verification, banning targeted marketing towards minors, and expediting the removal of illegal content.

Additionally on Safer Internet Day 204, the Norwegian Safer Internet Centre tested a new format for its awareness work in the form of a digital seminar aimed at parents and professionals working with children and young people. In the evaluation, 93 per cent of participants said that the digital format was crucial for their participation, and over half of the participants talked to their children about harmful content after the seminar.

Discover more about Safer Internet Day in Norway or learn more about the Norwegian Safer Internet Centre more generally. 

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