Swedish authorities guide how to make Internet a safer place for young people

Three Swedish authorities with responsibilities to protect children and youth and strengthen their rights recently published guidelines for online content creators. The purpose of the guide is to make the online environment aimed at young people more safe.
 | 26 October 2020

The Swedish Data Protection Authority, the Ombudsman for Children and the Swedish Media Council jointly published the guide to help interpret applicable law. The focus is on integrity issues, data protection and a children’s rights perspective when creating safe digital platforms for young people.

The three authorities are in different ways responsible for the protection of children and youth and the strengthening of their rights. The guide primarily addresses producers or companies behind digital platforms used by children and youth, e.g., social media and games. The guide is also relevant for anyone interested in young people’s use of digital media.

The guide gives advice also on protection from harmful content. Children are assumed to be more vulnerable than adults in this regard since they are less critical and hence are more susceptible to different types of messages.

Besides the advice and support around applicable law, the guide offers examples of what can be explained as “harmful media content” in a digital environment, e.g., “harmful acts of communication” which cover online threats and bullying.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was declared Swedish law from 2020. This gave children a stronger position legally, and they are seen as rights bearers. The CRC points out adults as responsible for keeping the best interests of the child in focus and protecting them. With knowledge about the law, there are prerequisites for a child perspective in the creation of digital services for children and youth. With a point of departure in the CRC, the Ombudsman for Children represents children and young people’s interests.

The General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, stipulates how children and youth’s (and adult’s) personal data are handled. The law treats the individual’s right to respect for privacy and derives from the European Convention. The Swedish Data Protection Authority ensures that people in Sweden are protected against their personal privacy being violated thorough processing of personal data.

Catharina Bucht

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