In every country where Telenor operates we see compelling evidence that connectivity enriches lives. This is particularly true for children and young people, who take up exciting new services with great ease. However, the online world also brings challenges that impact the lives of young people in negative ways. These challenges include cyberbullying, exposure to potentially harmful content, attempts at fraud, distribution of child sexual abuse materials and more.

As a particularly vulnerable group, children deserve special attention. At Telenor we aim to stimulate a supportive ecosystem that can address the risks and grow the digital resilience of young people. This ecosystem needs to involve a range of different stakeholders, and we believe there is a constructive role for Telenor to play in several areas. Telenor’s local operations are all involved in providing educational outreach, access to toll-free helplines, access to parental controls and good reporting mechanisms as well as firm measures to prevent child sexual abuse material from being distributed through our networks.

At Telenor we have identified five focus areas where we want to contribute going forward. Everywhere we operate our business units strive to:

  • Reach out to schools to grow awareness and provide education to children, parents, guardians and teachers
  • Ensure guidance on the availability of meaningful and easy-to-use parental controls
  • Provide access to toll-free child helplines with capacity to support children who have been exposed to harm
  • Make available effective mechanisms for reporting illegal and harmful content
  • Maintain effective mechanisms to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse

Joining forces to protect children online

Together with experienced partners, we take an active role in promoting safer use of communications services among children and young people as well as among teachers, parents and caregivers. Key priorities are preventing cyberbullying and contributing to make the online environment a safer place for young people to explore.

Telenor continues to work with child helplines in several of our markets, and we support the efforts of Child Helpline International to build capacity on child online safety among its member helplines. There is a growing need for resources that can support children and young people who have had a negative experience online – and who need somewhere to turn for help and assistance.

Telenor is also a member of the ICT Coalition for a Safer Internet Experience for Children and Young People. This coalition is made up of a range of companies from across the information and communications technology sector. Members of the ICT Coalition pledge to encourage safe and responsible use of online services and internet devices among children and young people and to empower parents and caregivers to engage with and help protect their children in the digital world.

Telenor will continue to engage with organisations that are dedicated to promoting children’s rights. In support of children’s digital rights we are working with such partners as UNICEF and the Red Cross, as well as a string of smaller specialist NGOs. Government agencies are often involved and we see this as an area where real progress is best achieved through alliance-building and mutually reinforcing partnerships.

Creating a safe experience for youth

Sophisticated, internet-enabled mobile devices are increasingly often in the hands of children and young adults and there is today much research that acknowledges the risks resulting from increased access among young people. Numerous reports and studies call for stakeholders to work together to find solutions. At Telenor we believe we share a responsibility to be part of these efforts.

We have learned much about how to interact with children from successful outreach programmes across our footprint, and it will be our aim to leverage synergies and foster further best-practice sharing across Telenor business units. In recognition that this is an area where different specialist insights are required we will also continue to seek out partnerships wherever we can.

Working with law enforcement to prevent Internet misuse

We work actively to prevent criminals from distributing illegal images which depict child sexual abuse. In partnership with national and international law enforcement agencies, we take steps to prevent children from further victimisation and to stop illegal misuse of our services.

At Telenor we prevent access to web domains that either national law enforcement agencies or Interpol have found to contain illegal child sexual abuse images. Telenor does not however engage in any kind of censorship or evaluation of the legality of the content – this is strictly the responsibility of law enforcement. Our role is to provide the technical solution and manage the blocking mechanism based on a list of prohibited web addresses.

Telenor continues to support the accessibility and capacity of child helplines as avenues for children to turn to in case of an untoward online experience. In this regard, Telenor funds are committed to help Child Helpline International (CHI) build capacity among national helpline staff through digital means in responding, reporting and referring online abuse cases. Through e-learning modules and personalised follow-up, member helplines of CHI will be able to develop their capabilities and skill-sets in key areas relating to child online safety.

Preventing cyberbullying

Mobile phones enable instant sharing of content, including images and video. These sharing features are available across a range of social media services and are regrettably sometimes used for the purpose of bullying. Fostering responsible use of new technologies is a priority for Telenor. Our goal is to empower children and young people, parents and teachers to understand and address the potentially harmful impacts of mobile phone use.

Within the umbrella of our Sustainability Direction, Telenor has taken a clear position on creating opportunities for meaningful and safe digital participation for everyone. By year-end 2020, Telenor’s aim is that four million children shall have received training in online safety and be empowered to make the right decisions on how to engage on the internet confidently and responsibly. This commitment builds on Telenor’s existing efforts for a safer internet by scaling those aspects that have enabled the most progress, as well as deepening and broadening the curriculum.

Be Smart Use Heart

Telenor’s global programme, Be Smart Use Heart, provides children and parents with information and tools on how to cope with cyberbullying, how to stay safe online and keep mobile devices secure.

Learn more:

Be Smart Use Heart