6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media
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National digitalisation strategy
In 2022, a new national digitalisation strategy titled United on Digital Development (Sammen om den digitale udvikling) was presented by the former government. Its aim is to strengthen common Danish welfare, accelerate the green transition and increase growth, talent and exports through digitalisation.
The new strategy contains 61 ambitious new initiatives to increase digital security and support the digital competencies of Denmark and Danish companies.
Of the 61 initiatives, the following are relevant to children and young people:
Vision 1: Enhanced Cyber and Information Security
A strategic priority of this vision is to enhance young people's media literacy and awareness about online safety.
Vision 9: Denmark equipped for the future
The strategic priorities of this vision are:
Technology in primary and lower secondary education institutions
In a digital society, students must be able to understand and critically evaluate digital technologies. A pool has been established to support the inclusion of technology in teaching, for instance, through the competency development of teachers.
Technology must be a part of the professional competencies of the teachers
A strong research and teaching environment is needed in order to implement technology in primary and lower secondary education institutions. A pool has been established to further the development of new competencies, capacity building and competency development of teachers in the primary and lower secondary teacher training programme.
Digital boost of higher education programmes
A pool has been established to strengthen the competencies among teachers at higher education institutions and to develop new education programmes and modules.
A pool for digital equipment for VET programmes and adult vocational training (AMU)
A pool has been established to invest in new technology, for instance, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), simulation and 3D, as well as competency development of teachers. The nine knowledge centres may apply for funding to purchase new digital technologies in 2023.
The strategy covers the 2022-2026 period.
Danish National Stategy for Cyber and Information Security 2022-2024
In 2021, the government presented a new cyber and information security strategy with 34 initiatives. The strategy implements 270 million DKK (about 36 million EUR) until 2024.
One of the government’s four strategic objectives for the development towards a strong and more secure digital Denmark is to increase the level of skills and management commitment.
Growing cybercrime and digital fraud targeting citizens demand a need for secure digital behaviour and increased knowledge about cyber and information security. Thus, people in Denmark must be equipped to act in digital daily life and use digital services and products safely. This includes children and young people, as well as adults, so that they avoid, to the greatest possible extent, becoming victims of cybercrime or digital fraud. The strategy aims to raise the level of knowledge and skills of digital behaviour and security among citizens with initiatives that motivate and engage, promote increased knowledge and interest, and develop sound and secure digital habits among citizens.
Therefore, citizens, businesses and government agencies need to know how to protect themselves and stay safe digitally.
The strategic initiatives include:
2.3 Equipping children, young people and adults to be digitally literate will be ensured by implementing a broad initiative in the field of education and training, e.g., by disseminating inspirational material and increasing awareness at all levels of education.
2.4 Strengthened society’s access to cyber and information security skills through higher education e.g., within ordinary education and post-graduate and higher education.
2.5 Enhancing cyber and information security among citizens, businesses and government agencies by strengthening information efforts aimed at target groups through further development of the information portal, Sikkerdigital.dk.
Strategy for digital growth in Denmark 2018 (Strategi for Danmarks digitale vækst)
The strategy focuses on how Denmark can seize opportunities in relation to the digital transition and hereby create more jobs, growth, and welfare in Denmark. The strategy runs until 2025.
The government’s vision is that Denmark should be a digital frontrunner. The strategy has three objectives:
- The industry should realise the potential of growth in digitalisation.
- The government should be developing the best conditions for the Industry’s digital transition.
- All Danes should have the necessary tools to manage themselves in the digital transition.
The strategy pinpoints six strategic focus areas:
- Establish a public–private partnership – Digital Hub Denmark – with the purpose of spurring strong network and cooperation within digital technology
- Digital boost of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the programme SME: Digital
- Digital competences to all Danes
- Data as a driver of growth in the industry
- Agile vocational regulation
- Strengthened IT-security in businesses
With regard to young people, the focus on digital competences is particularly relevant. The strategy initiates:
- A technology pact with the participation of public and private partners with the purpose of increasing the number of people interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with STEM education, and with STEM employment.
- A 4-year research project on technology understanding in primary and lower secondary education.
- The introduction of a new optional course, Technology Understanding, in lower secondary education.
- Digitalisation in vocational education and training (VET).
- Digitalisation in adult and continuing training.
For more information on the specific initiatives, please see the section ‘Media literacy and online safety through formal education’ below.
The Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs is the responsible authority for the strategy. Besides the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, a team of ministers is involved in the implementation of the strategy: The Minister for Higher Education and Science, the Minister for Children and Education, and the Minister for Employment. The team of ministers is responsible for ensuring progress in the implementation of the strategy and for hosting an annual summit for the strategy where the government reports on the status for the implementation of the initiatives. In 2021, the initiatives of the strategy will be evaluated.
There are no major revisions of the strategy.
Media literacy and online safety in general and vocational upper secondary education has been a focal point for several years.
In the strategy for digital growth in Denmark (2018-2025), the following initiatives have been established:
Media literacy is included in the curriculum in general upper secondary education. A general upper secondary reform introduced digital competencies in all relevant subject curricula in general upper secondary educations from the school year 2017/18. From the school year 2017/2018, a new optional generic subject, Informatics, has been implemented. Informatics is a mandatory part of other subjects but can also be both mandatory or optional as a separate subject, depending on the line of education.
In STX, the student must choose two of the following subjects at C level: Informatics, Biology, Chemistry, or Natural Geography.
Students who do not follow a science education line must complete one of the following subjects at B level: Biology, Informatics, Chemistry, Natural Geography, or Physics.
In HHX, students must take Informatics as a mandatory subject at C level.
IT is an optional subject aimed at the HHX education. The subject is only available at A level.
In HTX, students must take either Communication and IT or Informatics at C level.
Communication and IT is a subject aimed at the HTX education.
Themes covered in the subject Informatics at C level:
- Construction/designing of IT systems as a solution to a specific issue/problem
- How IT systems and humans interact
- IT-security, network, and architecture
- Representation and manipulation of data
- Interaction design
Themes covered in the subject IT at A level:
- Construction/designing of IT systems as a solution to a specific issue/problem
- How IT systems and humans interact
- Digitalisation and business models
- IT security, network, and architecture
- Representation and manipulation of data
- IT governance
- Interaction design
Themes covered in the subject Communication and IT at C level:
- Communication theory and media
- Design and visual communication
- Product development and project management
- Ethics, law, and digital behaviour
- Digital tools
In the vocational upper secondary education (EUX), the subject Information Technology is optional from F to C level. Topics addressed in Information Technology at C level:
- IT systems relevant for business
- Data management
- Formats of documents
- Information technological processes of change
Media literacy in vocational education and training (VET) programmes
In the reform of VET programmes from 2020, the question of media literacy is addressed as a cross-cutting theme in all core subjects (grundfag). For example, in the core subject Danish, students learn to use and understand that digital media contributes to their professional learning. The students learn to make choices actively and critically regarding the use of IT. The students learn to use digital media in communication purposes so that they can enter into global and digital communities in a sound, critical, and ethical manner.
In preparatory basic education and training (FGU), the use and safe use of digital media is addressed in a broad range of the courses available to the students. Furthermore, IT is integrated as a didactic tool in the teaching in order for the student to acquire digital skills. In some subjects, media literacy is also part of the curriculum:
Danish: Media literacy will be in focus in order for the students to manage themselves in a labour market where technology and digitalisation are basic conditions.
Identity and Citizenship: In the subject Identity and Citizenship, students acquire skills for suitable and safe behaviour in the digital world. IT will be used in the teaching in order for the student to acquire digital skills, including media literacy.
Communication and Media: IT and digital media should be integrated in all topics in order for the teaching to reflect the work and study life that the student will be a part of. IT must be integrated as a professional (fagligt) and didactic tool enabling the student to acquire digital competences and media literacy.
Technological Understanding: Technological Understanding is an IT subject in which media literacy plays a vital role. Media literacy and IT are used as a didactic tool but are also at the core of the subject, which means that IT and media literacy are analysed and discussed.
Besides the optional and mandatory subjects in general and upper secondary education, media literacy is in focus in the education system in the following initiatives/projects:
The objective of the initiative is to strengthen cyber security competencies among teachers, students and staff at educational institutions to prepare them better for cyber threats and data protection regulations.
Children and young people use digital services every day but they lack knowledge of cyber security and online safety, for instance, when it comes to protecting personal data and privacy in digital environments and how to avoid digital fraud and grooming. The initiative includes the following activities:
Improve and further develop inspirational material for cyber security education with the purpose of informing about the resources and initiatives already in place and to use them to teach. This measure primarily targets teachers and students in primary, lower and upper secondary educational institutions. In General Upper Secondary programmes (STX) and in VET programmes, existing guidelines will be updated with a clear focus on cyber security. In FGU (Preparatory Basic Education and Training programme), cross-disciplinary inspiration and teaching material with a focus on cyber security will be developed. Furthermore, guidance and awareness initiatives regarding cyber security and data protection targeting staff at educational institutions will be produced
A total of 9.8 million DKK is allocated to the project from 2022-2024.
In December 2021, the parties supporting the political settlement on the primary and lower secondary educational institutions agreed to strengthen children and young people’s digital competencies. Therefore, 52.5 million DKK was allocated to a national measure for digital and media literacy. In 2022, this initiative was included in the national digitalisation strategy 2022-2026.
The measure consists of three initiatives:
A digital traffic club (trafikklub) for children and young people to enhance their media literacy and awareness about online safety
Development of teaching material and programmes on digital literacy that teachers can use in their teaching
School crossing patrol for digital road safety (Skolepatruljer for digital færdselssikkerhed), in which students, teachers and parents are selected and trained to support a healthy digital environment at education institutions at all levels.
Furthermore, the parties behind the settlement agree to initiate a national communication measure on how children, young people and parents should deal with abusive digital behaviour.
In January 2023, four organisations were selected to implement the political agreement of 2021. The four organisations are Save the Children Denmark (red barnet), Children’s Conditions, The Media Council for Children and Young People (medierådet for børn og unge), and the Centre for Digital Youth Care (Center for Digital Pædagogik).
In 2022, higher education institutions could apply for funding for digital competence development as a part of the implementation of the national strategy for cyber and information security 2022-2024. The pool supports:
- Development of relevant content to be included in higher education programmes and further adult education (VVU)
- Increased knowledge and cooperation on education possibilities with cyber and information security
There is 6.1 million DKK (about 0.8 million EUR) in the pool.
Pedagogical tools supporting media literacy and safe use of new media
On the platform EMU, teachers can find inspiration and teaching material about digitalisation, media literacy, and cyber security. The platform presents material for teaching at all levels in the education system, from childcare to adult and continuing training. The platform is managed by the Ministry of Children and Education.
A topic on IT cyber-security is available on the platform EMU. The topic was developed as a part of the national cyber and information security strategy (2018-2021). The topic objective is to ensure that children and young people are able to use online media and new technologies in a safe way. Furthermore, teaching materials are available for all levels of education (primary, preparatory basic training and education, vocational and general upper secondary, and vocational adult education training).
The teaching materials deal with media literacy and resilience toward fake news, hacking, echo chambers, and radicalisation.
The teaching materials consist of:
- Articles with background knowledge for school leaders and teachers
- Lesson plans and activities for all education levels and for several subjects
In the Ministry of Children and Education’s Action Plan for Technology, a research project (2017–2019) was initiated testing new methods for using ICT in teaching and how to implement the work with digital competencies in schools.
Vocational education and training: A development project is being implemented with a focus on strengthening teachers’ competencies and leadership and organisational matters. The project must contribute to implementing and anchoring a digital pedagogy and didactics in business education.
Digital Start is an interactive education website that supports the pupils’ knowledge about public digital services (www.digitalstart.dk). The material can be used by teachers in formal education and at libraries. The target group is 15–18-year-olds and is developed by the Agency for Digitalisation and Centre for Media Literacy.
Social star: Teaching material aimed at children and young people in the 13–17-year age group. The material teaches the target group to navigate online and to take a critical stance to social media, hidden advertising, and product placement among influencers on YouTube.
In January 2020, the Minister for Higher Education and Science allocated DKK 45 million to strengthen digital competences among teachers at higher education institutions. Children and young people must learn to use technology as well as its pitfalls. Therefore, teachers in higher education institutions play a pivotal role because they educate teachers in primary and secondary education.
The Media Council for Children and Young People (Medierådet for børn og unge) serves as the national awareness centre and represents Denmark in a European context. The council works with young people, educators, parents, authorities, and organisations to inform and advise on children and young people’s life and activity in digital media, including digital security, well-being, competences, and rights. The council is a governmental advisory board.
The Media Council for Children and Young People works within four strategic and thematic frameworks reflecting the challenges and possibilities related to children’s and youths’ media use and online presence:
- Well-being, social interaction and citizenship
- Critical thinking
- Creative learning and computational empowerment
The Media Council for Children and Young People (Medierådet) serves as the national awareness centre and runs the Danish Safer Internet Centre (SIC DK), partnering with the Centre for Digital Youth Care for the helpline cyberhus.dk and Save the Children Denmark for the hotline. The latest report from SIC DK is available here.
SIC DK is a core knowledge centre in the context of media literacy, child protection, and the rights of the child in the digital environment. The centre has established a broad collaboration with representatives from academic institutions, industry, government bodies, and law enforcement.
SIC DK makes a virtue out of involving experiences and opinions of Danish children and young people. All three partners in SIC DK supports young people’s online life by listening to the young people, involving them, and making relevant resources for them, their parents, and professionals.
SIC DK is a part of the Connecting Europe Facility programme and cooperates with other European Safer Internet centres through the Insafe Network (awareness centres and helplines). INHOPE is the network of hotlines, all working to prevent the spreading of illegal content online.
The helpline Cyberhus is online counselling for children and young people. The helpline responds to questions and worries from young people regarding online cases as well as other issues related to youth life.
The hotline, Report it (Anmeld det), is a service for anyone who wants to report online sexually abusive pictures and videos of children. The online counselling ‘Erase it’ helps children and young people to delete intimate pictures shared without their consent.
Secure Digital (sikkerdigital.dk) is a public website managed by The Danish Agency for Digital Government (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) and the Danish Business Authority (Erhvervsstyrelsen). The website provides information, guidelines and tools that support citizens to have a more secure digital life, for instance, during online shopping and on social media. The website also provides information on digital fraud, phishing, online blackmail and online violation.
Children and young people can participate in quizzes and take tests regarding social media, online gaming, GDPR/online sharing of pictures and digital fraud.
The Danish Agency for Digital Government (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) is the national coordinator for national cyber security month every October. The agency develops inspiration material for the campaign, which also includes a joint activity calendar with an overview of all the activities launched as part of the campaign.
The initiative is inspired by the EU cyber security month.
As part of the national strategy on cyber and information security, the Danish government has initiated an identity theft hotline for citizens to help with digital identity theft. The hotline was launched in June 2021 by the Danish Agency for Digital Government. The hotline is open 24 hours a day all year round and provides a one-stop shop for citizens who have been victims of, or suspect, digital identity theft.
The Media Council for Children and Young People produces a large range of resources and information campaigns aimed at young people and parents. The awareness material can be found online. Save the Children DK, Center for Digital Youth Care and other NGOs also have resources developed for the target groups.
Examples of new resources and campaigns from 2020:
‘Safer Internet Day’: A cross-national event in February initiated by the European Commission. SIC DK takes part in this annual event with a variety of themes and agendas. On Safer Internet Day 2021, the Media Council published a series of materials and organised a webinar focused on gaming. The materials were produced and published in collaboration with SIC partners. Among the materials was a parental guide on children and young people’s use of video games. The guide is available here.
The Media Council updated and relaunched a free online resource for parent–teacher meetings called ‘Digital Brilliant’ (Digital Genial). The resource is an online toolkit with activities that can be used by teachers and other professionals to facilitate a constructive and involving dialogue about children’s digital well-being.
Stop. Think. Check it. (Stop. Tænk. Tjek det.): A campaign for young people on misinformation, disinformation and mal-information. Among other things, it consists of a series of short videos, a podcast and teaching material. The campaign has been created by the Media Council, the media platform TjekDet, Enigma Museum of Communications and the Danish association for social studies teachers (FALS).
Online Communities – for better or worse (Online fællesskaber – på godt og ondt): This campaign was planned and created in close collaboration with the Youth Panel of Save the Children DK and the Media Council. It encourages adults to engage in dialogue on online communities with young people. It consists of a short video and a teaching material. It ran on social media in early 2021 and is still available online.
The Cyber Mission (Cybermissionen): A national competition about digital safety for 10-16-year-olds. It was launched by the National Agency for IT and Learning (STIL).
Examples of awareness resources from 2020 and 2019:
In 2020, the Media Council produced and published an awareness material specifically on YouTube. ‘Do you talk about YouTube with your child?’ (Taler du med dit barn om YouTube?) is a guide developed for parents. During the development of the material, the Media Council performed a national survey about YouTube among parents, which was also published.
Also published in 2020 from the Media Council is the free online teaching material ‘GDPR - WHAT?’ (Persondata-hva-for-noget?) aimed at 3rd-9th grade. It supports teachers in engaging in dialogue with their students about the GDPR and digital self-defence. It is based on an online magazine with the same title.
An example of an awareness material is ‘SHARED’ (DELT) from 2019. It is a project from SIC DK about preventing and reducing online sexual harassment among young people by strengthening young people’s social-digital skills in being able to interact with intimate images online. As part of the project, the book ‘SHARED’ was published. It gives an insight into how online sharing without consent can affect the individual – and an entire youth generation.
As a part of the National Cyber and Information Security Strategy 2018-2021 (NCIS), a new theme has been established on the national education platform EMU. Here, educators can find articles, courses and tools that can support and inspire them in their work on cybersecurity and digital judgment.
The aim of the new theme is to help ensure that children, young people and adults can safely navigate online and exploit the digital opportunities in a safe, sound and ethically correct way. The theme was published in August 2019 and is tailored towards elementary schools, high schools, the vocational educations and the adult education sector.
As a part of NCIS, the Agency for IT and Learning made a competition called Protect:IT, where students competed in coming up with the best solution to a cybersecurity issue from their own everyday life.
In 2021, the National Agency for IT and Learning (STIL) launched the campaign ‘The Cyber Mission’ (Cybermissionen), which was a national competition about digital safety for 10-16-year-olds.