Telenor fights digital bullying
Three out of four are learning to cope with digital bullying. A new survey conducted by Telenor shows that two out of three Norwegian kids have experienced digital bullying or teasing within their social circle. Yesterday marked the start of the fifth season of the “Use your head” campaign; Norway’s biggest campaign against digital bullying.
The survey shows that 66 percent of children between the age of 10 to 15 have experienced digital bullying or teasing within their social circle, either on the Internet or via mobile phones. 14 percent says it’s is normal to experience digital bullying.
“Every single day thousands of Norwegian children are being bullied via mobile phones or the Internet. This is unacceptable. The fight against digital bullying is a huge challenge that we have to take seriously and try to do something about,” says Ragnar Kårhus, head of Telenor Norway.
Since 2009, Telenor, the Norwegian Media Authority, the Red Cross and Kids and the Media have worked together against digital bullying through “Use your head”, a dialogue-based awareness drive. The campaign provides children as well as adults with useful tools and advice to prevent and fight against digital bullying, and it is showing great results: The survey conducted by Norstat on behalf of Telenor, shows that three out of four pupils who have participated in the awareness campaign have acquired the knowledge they need to avoid bullying via mobile phones or the Internet.
“It’s extremely positive that so many of those who have participated in ”Use your head“ now know how to avoid digital bullying. We also have an impact study that shows that subsequent to a visit from ”Use your head“, three out of four pupils will now ask for permission before publishing any images of others online. This shows that it is working”, says Kårhus.
Pupils are showing more consideration for others
“These are excellent results which show that it is making a difference, and that is really important. Just as important is that we don’t forget those who dread the first day of school and who live with the consequences of digital bullying everyday. We have a major job that is of great importance ahead of us,” says President of the Norwegian Red Cross, Sven Mollekleiv.
“Cross my heart”, the Red Cross children’s helpline, receives calls from children everyday saying that they are the victims of digital bullying, or have maybe done something they regret.
“Cross my heart” exists so that children, regardless of what they have on their minds, have somewhere to call or chat with an adult they can feel safe with. For the campaign it is important that we are able to offer children and youths a place they can go to if they feel the need to speak to someone after the campaign has visited", says Mollekleiv.
A priority for the government
The Government has supported the campaign since its launch in 2009, and it was Minister of Education and Research, Kristin Halvorsen (SV), who officially opened the spring school tour attended by 500 pupils at Marienlyst school in Drammen yesterday.
“Use your head” is a magnificent example of how good forces can come together to fight a complex and challenging problem such as digital bullying" says Halvorsen.
Dialogue between parent and child
77 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 12 maintain that their parents are very or completely aware of what they are using mobile phones or the Internet for. This shows an increase of around ten percent since 2010.
“One of the greatest challenges is that digital bullying is easier to hide from parents and teachers. This is why one key aspect of the campaign is to bring adults closer to children by way of dialogue and knowledge building,” says Kårhus.
The campaign is twofold and is run during the day for pupils, and in the evenings for parents. So far more that 50,000 pupils and almost 10,000 parents throughout Norway have participated in “Use your head”. 200 lower secondary schools have been visited so far.
“We are getting great feedback from parents that they are learning a great deal, and not least that after having participated in the parents meeting, they are sitting down with their children and discussing what is appropriate behaviour on the Internet and mobile phones. This means that the content of the campaign is being kept alive after the campaign has moved on to the next school,” says Kårhus in Telenor.
Thousands use the mobile phone bully filter
As part of the campaign against digital bullying, Telenor has developed its own bully filter which blocks bullies from the mobile phone. Only later on has Telenor seen that there was actually a need for such a service. Currently, 5,329 mobile phone subscribers have installed the bully filter on their phones, an increase of almost 2,000 subscribers in 6 months.
“The goal is to help establish a healthy set of values and norms among users of digital services. We hope therefore that in the long term the need for bully filters and similar services will disappear. At the moment, however, there is no doubt that there is a need for it, and many people need extra protection. In this regard the bully filter helps in a significant and very specific way” says Kårhus.
Facts about the bully filter
The bully filter from Telenor provides users with the option to blacklist mobile numbers from which they do not want to receive text or image messages. The bully filter can be easily activated by simply calling the Telenor Customer Services line on 09000. Then it is up to user to enter the numbers themselves on www.telenor.no. Once the bully filter is installed the blacklisted messages are sent to a separate e-mail account at www.telenor.no, so that the users can access the messages if they want to. The sender of the blacklisted message will receive the following message if the message has been blocked: “Warning. You have been blocked from sending messages to this number”.
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