6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media
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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.
Danish cyber and information security strategy 2018–2021 (National strategi for cyber- og informationssikkerhed 2018–2021)
The Agency for Digitalisation is the responsible coordinating authority.
The following ministries participate in the strategy:
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Defence
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Higher Education and Science
- Ministry of Transportation, Building and Housing (now Ministry of Transport)
- Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs
- Ministry of Taxation
- Ministry of Education (now Ministry of Children and Education)
- Ministry of Economy and the Interior (now Ministry of the Interior and housing)
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Environment and Food (now Ministry of Environment)
- Ministry of Energy, Climate and Utilities (now Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities)
The government will ensure that society can continue to benefit from technological opportunities and that citizens can retain confidence in digital development. The government will invest 1.5 billion DKK in cyber and information security from 2018 to 2021. The strategy defines three benchmarks for a stronger and more digitally secure country:
1. Everyday safety for citizens and businesses
- Creating a national cyber situation centre
- Minimum requirements for authorities’ work on cyber and information security
- Regulatory initiatives in the cyber area
- Monitoring of critical information and communications technology (ICT) systems in central government
- Common digital portal for reporting
- National centre for processing of cases concerning ICT crime
- Enhanced collaboration on the prevention of ICT-related attacks and enforcement in response to such attacks
- Higher security for identity documents
- Improved prioritisation of national ICT infrastructure
- Secure communication in central government
2. Better competencies
- Digital judgment and digital competencies acquired via the educational system
- Information portal
- Research into new technology
- Corporate partnership to increase ICT security in the Danish business community
- Collaboration on competence development and the fostering of a security culture in central government
- Improved awareness drives aimed at citizens and businesses
3. Joint efforts
- Sub-strategies at sectoral level and decentralised cyber security units
- Cross-sectoral efforts to support cyber and information security in critical sectors
- Management of suppliers of outsourced ICT services
- Strengthened national coordination
- Increased level of involvement in international collaboration
- Evaluation of the current state of cyber and information security
- Overview of information worthy of protection
- Information security architecture
- National and international efforts to safeguard data ethics and protection of personal data
In relation to young people, the second benchmark of the strategy, better competencies, is particularly relevant. According to the strategy, many young people lack sufficient knowledge about how to protect themselves and others on the Internet, or about which third parties they need to be wary of. In this context, the educational system plays an important role of ensuring that all children and young people are equipped with the tools to navigate in a safe, responsible, and ethical manner when using ICT technology and social media. The Danish government focuses on digital skills in a security perspective starting in primary and lower secondary school, and continuing through to graduation. The strategy focuses on children’s and young people’s ability to think critically about content on the Internet, the threat presented by fake news, radicalisation, cyberbullying, online fraud, etc. Initiative 2.1 focuses on digital judgment and digital competencies acquired via the educational system. Joint efforts will be launched throughout the educational system, focusing on raising awareness of security challenges for children, young people, and teachers. Continuing and further education and training programmes will be developed, as well as teaching material and awareness drives on cyber and information security aimed at teachers, pupils, and students.
There are no major revisions of the strategy.
Action plan for technology in education
- The Ministry of Children and Education’s action plan for technology in education focuses on children, youth, and adults’ technological understanding and aims to improve the use of IT at all levels of the education sector.
- Danish children and young people must be able to produce creatively with technology rather than simply being users. Since technology develops at a high pace, it requires a new focus on strengthening technology at all levels of the education sector.
- The ministry’s action plan for technology in education has two goals:
Goal 1: The technological understanding and digital competencies of Danish children, young people, and adults must be strengthened at all levels of education – empowering them to take part in creating the society of the future.
Goal 2: Denmark must maintain and continuously develop its position of strength regarding the use of IT in education – We must embrace the opportunities of technology as well as be wary of its pitfalls, making sure everyone becomes as proficient as they can.
In order to realise the two goals, the action plan includes five focal points:
- It is necessary to strengthen the concept of technological understanding in the goals of education as well as the content – making sure that every child, youth, and adult learns to be critical of technology and learns to shape it rather than simply use it.
- It is necessary to strengthen the competencies of teachers and managerial and educational staff in order to better use IT in classroom education as well as teach the subject Understanding of technology.
- It is necessary to improve the pedagogical and didactic use of IT in education.
- It is necessary to continuously develop user-friendly and functional digital infrastructure.
- It is necessary to increase awareness of data ethics along with a qualified use of data about the pupils and their learning processes.
In higher education, the focus is on developing students’ digital competences rather than online safety. In 2018, the minister of higher education and science launched a call for action: Technological Upgrade in Higher Education. The minister called for experiences, visions, ideas, and input from teachers, students, and education institutions regarding the use of technology in higher education.
81 inputs from the call for action (Læring fra arbejdet) identify focus areas for the technological upgrade, such as (list not complete):
- Problems in the digital food chain:
- The digital competences vary among students from higher educations.
- The variety complicates the technological upgrade.
- There is no link between technology education at different education levels and this curbs the progression in digital competences.
- Lack of technology competences among teachers in primary, secondary, and higher education.
- The technological agenda needs cooperation and knowledge sharing among education institutions and sectors.
- More knowledge/research is needed, for instance digital tools, education purposes, and target group.
- Access to new technologies at the education institutions.
Digital Competences and Digital Learning – national action plan for higher education
In April 2019, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science launched a national action plan: Digital Competences and Digital Learning – national action plan for higher education (Digitale kompetencer og digital læring. National handlingsplan for de videregående uddannelser).
The action plan covers the next 4 years and focuses on three areas:
- Competency development of teachers: Teachers must be well equipped to boost the students’ digital and technological competences. Forty-five million Danish kroner has been allocated to the development of educational courses that advance technological skills among teachers at all education levels.
- Sharing of experience and knowledge: Establishment of a national knowledge and resource centre, establishment of networks within digital learning technologies and digital competences, and funding of activities that support cooperation and knowledge sharing.
- Barriers and regulations that are not adjusted to a digital reality should be removed: Revision of executive order on examination regulations, and examination of the rules and regulations that may hinder the use of technological tools.
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
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:
In the strategy Denmark’s Digital Growth, the 2016-2019 government recommended that:
- Vocational education and training (VET): Increased focus on digital and professional competencies in final examinations of vocational education. The content of the exams and the forms in the vocational education programmes should be examined so that they reflect the teaching and to a greater extent support the assessment of students’ digital skills.
- Establishment of a centre for the use of IT in VET.
- The formulation of a science strategy for primary and lower and upper secondary educations.
- With a reform of general upper secondary educations in 2016, all examinations must be digital.
The former government allocated 18 million DKK to implement the initiatives in the 2018–2021 period.
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.
Pedagogical tools supporting media literacy and safe use of new media
In September 2020, a new training course was launched targeting teachers, youth club employees, municipal employees working with young people, and SSP (school - social services - police) personnel. The training course is called ‘Children and young people’s online life on the edge’.
The training course focuses on children and young people’s digital life, because professionals have seen an increase in online extremist material, for instance on YouTube and in online games. The training course is developed by Save the Children Denmark, the Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism and two university colleges. Thirty-three municipalities have already enrolled employees on the education programme.
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 new 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 new 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 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.
In 2016, representatives of students, teachers, and leaders from general and vocational upper secondary education programmes formulated an ethical codex in cooperation with the Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality (today, the Ministry of Children and Education). The ethical codex concerns the online sharing of intimate pictures, and the objective is to prevent the online sharing of offensive pictures and videos. The codex consists of seven principles that involve students, teachers, parents, and school leaders.
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.
Are you ok on the internet?: Teaching material for teachers and pedagogues who work with children and young people with special needs. The material is aimed at children and young people in the 11–15-year age group with cognitive challenges such as ADHD and autism. The objective of the material is to help the target group navigate in a safe manner online. The learning activities are supported by simple games and visual material. The project was funded by the Ministry of Children and Social Affairs (today, divided into the Ministry of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens and the Ministry of Children and Education).
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.
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.
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.