Many Norwegian children experience online abuse

phone apps close up

writer icon Tormod Birch     Tero Vesalainen   |   Tech     🕐 01. Mar. 2019

A great number of children in Norway have experienced online abuse, and Norwegian police and Save the Children are now speaking out. The abuse happens on a range of well-known social media platforms and online games.

The Norwegian police speak out
Many parents are not aware of what their kids are up to on their phones, nor are they aware of the new law from last summer that states it is against the law to create an account on social media apps or websites when you are under 13, explains Kenneth Helberg from Tromsø police to NRK.

The police find it important to inform parents about what kids are doing online, and have set up talks at schools. There they inform the parents and kids about potential dangers of internet and social media use. Simply put, both children and adults should be aware that it is possible to perform or attempt to abuse through any application or platform where you can communicate with others, Helberg says.

It is not only police who are concerned, Norwegian Save the Children and Barnevakten have also spoken out about the problem.

Children and nude pictures
According to a recent 'Children and Media Survey', 13 percent of participants aged 13 to 18, sent nude pictures of themselves. Of these kids, one in five had sent nude pictures to people they had only ever chatted with online.

Pressure and misuse of trust
The pressures of social media have a massive effect on the children, Kaja Hegg from Norwegian Save the Children said to NRK. Images posted, and contact list information, can also be used for extortion. People can threaten you by spreading whatever pictures they may have gotten their hands on.

Hegg further explained that it can be hard for parents to keep an eye on every single conversation that happens on social media accounts, at all times.

What to do
Both Kaja Hegg and Kenneth Helberg encourage parents to talk about what it is that actually happens online, and what they and their children can do to avoid it, as part of the police school talks.

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