How businesses can improve children’s rights

Through our communications services, we have the possibility to change children’s lives. Earlier this week, Telenor joined launch of principles for children’s rights in London.

Last updated: Aug 2012

Finding the right balance between keeping children safe and giving them room to explore new technologies is key to Telenor. UNICEF, Save the Children and the United Nations Global Compact have together developed the first set of principles for how business should respect children’s rights.

Principles for how business should respect children’s rights

The Children’s Rights and Business Principles contain recommendations and guidance for how companies should integrate concern for children into different areas of their operations. They include both actions that companies should take to ensure respect for children’s rights and voluntary actions to support these rights.

The global launch event in London on Monday 12th March featured senior leaders from both the business community and non-governmental organizations. Mai Oldgard, Vice President and Head of Group Corporate Responsibility, spoke at a panel session on children’s rights in the marketplace.

“Our corporate responsibility strategy is founded on shared value – contributing to society through responsible operations and by maximizing the value of being connected. This thinking is equally relevant in the context of children,” says Oldgard.

“In Norway today, children grow up with mobile phones. While this has many positive effects, we need to address potential risks. For example, Telenor Norway participates in the campaign “Think!” to educate children and parents about the problem of digital bullying. So far the campaign has reached 70,000 children. And in Malaysia we are raising awareness through the DiGi CyberSAFE Programme”.

Filter against child sexual abuse content

Telenor Group has also implemented a filter against child sexual abuse content through fixed line broadband and mobile Internet. Initiated in Norway, the filter has now been implemented in Telenor’s operations in Sweden, Denmark, Montenegro, Hungary, Serbia and Bangladesh.

“While the filter cannot alone stop the problem of exploitation of children, it does help restrict the market and prevents accidental access to this very harmful material,” Oldgard says.

Business can contribute positively to children’s rights

The principles emphasise that business can also contribute positively to children’s rights.

“A great example of how we can support children’s rights is Grameenphone’s partnership to use SMS to improve maternal and infant health, aiming to reach 500 000 expectant and new mothers within 3 years. By using our products to spread life-saving messages to mothers, we can contribute to advancing the health of children,” Oldgard explains.

The principles will be launched in Norway at an event organized by UNICEF on Friday 16th March. Mai Oldgard will be a featured speaker at the event, which will also include speakers from UNICEF and the investment community.

The Children’s Rights and Business Principles Initiative

  • A joint initiative between UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Global Compact
  • The principles are based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and align with the Ruggie framework for human rights and business
  • The principles are meant to serve as guidance and recommendations to companies on how to respect and support children’s rights
  • The principles comprise an overall commitment to children and specific principles for the workplace, the marketplace, and the environment and community

Telenor Norway’s Bruk Hue (“Think!)

  • Campaign to educate children and parents about digilal bullying in partnership with the Norwegian Red Cross, Kids and the Media and the Norwegian Media Authority
  • The campaign has visited more than 250 schools to date (70,000 children)
  • Telenor Norway has also implemented a free “bully filter”

DiGi CyberSAFE Programme

  • A national campaign and workshop series aimed at educating students, parents and teachers about safe Internet usage
  • The programme is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and CyberSecurity Malaysia.
  • In the first year, the target is to reach approximately 8,000 students, parents, teachers and guardians.
  • DiGi has also established a partnership with Childline Malaysia, a 24-hr helpline for children under 18. The hotline provides information about assistance available to children facing different issues in their lives

Child Sexual Abuse Filter

  • The filter blocks access to child sexual abuse material based on a list provided by Interpol and Norway’s Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos)
  • Telenor does not perform any evaluation about the legality of the content; this is done by Interpol or Kripos
  • Currently implemented in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Montenegro, Hungary, Serbia, and Bangladesh
  • Telenor’s goal is to implement the filter in all markets

Grameephone mHealth partnership – Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)

  • The organization D.Net coordinates the initiative while funding is provided by USAID
  • The initiative uses mobile phones to deliver life-saving health messages to expecting and new mothers in Bangladesh either via voice or SMS
  • The service includes message on both health during the pregnancy and how to best care for newborn babies
  • Currently in the pilot phase, but aims to reach 500,000 mothers in three years