Telenor Group: Mobile operators must take responsibility for internet safety

Press release
12 minute read
Today Telenor Group worldwide marks Safer Internet Day 2015 by announcing expanded efforts to keep the internet safe for the estimated 55 million children around the world who are expected to come online by 2017.
“Telenor takes responsibility to ensure children’s safety on the internet, and works with multiple stakeholders at a global level to deliver on that commitment,” says Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group.

Along with other leading ICT players, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, Telenor collaborates with the European Commission’s CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids, and has worked with Interpol to become the first mobile operator in the world to introduce safety and child sexual abuse filters for mobile phones.  Telenor has also joined industry forces to drive the establishment of the GSM Association’s Mobile Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Content.

Key responsibility for mobile operators – child abuse filters
In 11 of its markets now, Telenor customers are using child abuse filter, introduced for the first time by Telenor Norway and Kripos (National Criminal Investigation Service Norway) 10 years ago. This proprietary blocking system has over the years prevented the spread of enormous quantities of images and films showing sexual abuse of children around the world.

Telenor initiatives for a Safer Internet for All taking root across Asia
Sigve Brekke, EVP and Head of Operations for Telenor markets in Asia, said, “The potential of the internet to drive financial inclusion and access to knowledge, better health, and resources, connectivity is immense, but not without its risks. Our business units are actively working to mitigate these by rolling out multiple safety initiatives in parallel with the expansion of its mobile services – with the aim to achieve Internet for All.”

In India, Uninor’s WebWise, which was launched last year, aims to reach 20,000 children this year in all of its six circles through internet education and online safety workshops. Additionally, regional Safe Internet Forums are also planned in order to reach out to larger group of audience that include schools, parent groups and children’s rights organizations.

In Thailand, dtac is expanding its Safe Internet programs to include a new national study on internet behavior and experiences of Thai youth, much like that which was conducted in 2014 in neighboring Malaysia by dtac’s sister company within the Telenor Group, Digi.

Digi meanwhile plans to continue growing its Digi CyberSAFETM in Schools (a collaboration between CyberSecurity Malaysia and Digi). This year they will train 300 more ICT teachers, bringing the nationwide total ICT-trained teachers to 1000. They plan to reach 40,000 students via awareness workshops and will conduct a second nationwide survey of children and their levels of digital resilience (knowledge and behavior that leads to Safe Internet.

Grameenphone, the largest mobile service provider in Bangladesh celebrates this Safe Internet Day with a parent-teacher workshop at Grameenphone headquarters. Subsequently, the company will reach out to 500 schools nationwide as part of a student and teacher-targeted Safe Internet awareness program launching this year, and will conduct a national survey on online safety for school children, like their Thailand and Malaysia counterparts, dtac and Digi.

Myanmar is Telenor’s newest market, and presents unique challenges as a digital greenfield. As it establishes its network, Telenor Myanmar is planning ways to rollout responsibly and will later this year launch its own Safe Internet program to promote digital literacy education and Safe Internet use.

Europe: Where Telenor’s Safe Internet started – and strengthens

Educational programs helping children and parent to comprehend the advantages, but also dangers of internet and how to deal with them are being conducted in most of Telenor’s European markets.

“In some of most digitalized markets in Europe, children are simultaneously browsing internet while learning to speak and getting their own smartphone as they start school. Our responsibility is not only to help this generation discover all the benefits of internet, but also to provide parents with the tools and knowledge needed to  keep pace with increasingly tech savvy kids,” said Kjell-Morten Johnsen, EVP and Head of Operations for Telenor markets in Europe.

In Norway, Telenor started a program against digital bullying called “Use your head” in 2009, reaching 550 schools, 166,000 students aged 12-15 and 33,000 parents during the past five years. Seven out of ten children who attended the lecture say it equipped them with the knowledge needed to deal with digital bullying. In 2015, this anti-digital bullying initiative will visit 100 schools, aiming to reach 30,000 children and 10,000 parents. Special focus this year will be on parents’ knowledge of children’s use of social media, within a newly developed program, “Digital parents.” Telenor also plans to develop a program for younger children, 10-13 years old, who are today getting their first smartphone as young as age eight.

In Sweden, Telenor launches a new tool for smartphones “Telenor Safe Report” for reporting websites containing child sex abuse images directly to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking). Telenor also continues its membership in Surfa Lugnt, a public private partnership for safer internet and has also become a head sponsor of the Red Cross mobile chat for young people “Friends on duty.”

Along with the Media Council for Children and the Youth, Telenor Denmark, content providers and a few other telcos are arranging a workshop for parents to discuss the lives of children in online environments and parents’ concerns, expectations and responsibilities. The outcome of the workshop will provide input into a guide that will be launched in the autumn.

In Montenegro, Surf Wisely Initiative launched in 2012, will reach 6,000 children in all towns in Montenegro in 2015. Peer education processes, consisting of educational lectures and engaging drama plays with call to action ‘’what does it mean to Surf Wisely’’ will be implemented during the first half of 2015. Additionally, digital content and quizzes are also planned in order to reach out to a larger audience that includes parents and teachers. Initiative #SurfWisely is being implemented together with Ministry for Information Society and Telecommunications and Ministry of Education as key partners, together with several other organizations across the country.

In Serbia, Telenor is expanding partnership with Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and UNICEF by launching new #thinkfirst online campaign within its Stop Digital Bullying project, launched in 2012. With the help of UNICEF ambassadors, it engages digital generation in adopting positive models of responsible and safer online behavior.  During the year, a number of activities will follow: online education programs for teachers and parents, workshops, digital SOS line, and new online research about digital violence.

In Hungary, educating children to safely use the internet will now be integrated in a broader e-education project starting this year in co-operation with the Ministry of Education. While supporting Hungarian schools in introducing digital learning, Telenor takes responsibility for teaching children to behave responsibly on internet through its e-learning program.

Telenor Bulgaria, the latest addition to the European region launches today its first educational campaign dedicated to the safety of children online in partnership with the Safer Internet Centre and the Ministry of Interior. The initiative will include a series of seminars and workshops for children 12-15 years old in five Bulgarian cities. The campaign will also feature outdoor events for kids and parents, and publishing of a safer internet brochure. A digital awareness campaign targeting parents will focus on social media.

Join the conversation: #SafeInternet and



Press contact

Tor Odland
Head of Communications
Telenor Group region Asia
+65 9777 4782

Ola-Jo Tandre
Director of Sustainability
Telenor Group
+47 9517 4579