Skip to main content

Fighting cyber bullying with mobile phones

Press release   •   May 13, 2019 14:08 BST

Today, Telenor’s “Be Smart, Use Heart” initiative goes digital and launched a new interactive school outreach programme to fight bullying both on mobiles and in the classroom. Photo: Linn Kristine Byre Johansen

(Fornebu, 13 May 2019) A new survey from Telenor shows that more than half of parents are concerned about cyber bulling and children’s safety online, and one third direct their concern towards the schools. Today, Telenor’s “Be Smart, Use Heart” initiative goes digital and launched a new interactive school outreach programme to fight bullying both on mobiles and in the classroom.

‘All children and young people are entitled to a safe and good school environment without bullying. Children who feel safe, thrive and learn more. We have a shared responsibility for ensuring that our children are safe and don’t experience bullying online, said Jan Tore Sanner, Minister of Education and Integration, during the launch of the digital version of “Be Smart, Use Heart” at Bjørnegård School in Bærum on Monday 13 May.

According to a new survey carried out by Penetrace on behalf of Telenor, more than half of parents are concerned about bullying, as well as distribution of pictures, when their kids go online. Almost one in three consider it challenging that schools do not take enough responsibility.

‘We hear parents’ concern, but simply blaming the school system does not help. There is a shared responsibility to ensure that our kids are all safe when they are online – and this is a responsibility we also share at Telenor. This is why we today are launching a digital version of “Be Smart, Use Heart” – a free, interactive school outreach programme for all teachers and schools in Norway who want to fight cyber bullying and boost online know-how. We hope to reach 300,000 pupils over the course of the next two years. In the autumn, we will also be sending parents back into the classroom,’ says Petter-Børre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Norway.

Minister of Education: ‘Schools have a responsibility’

For a decade, ”Be Smart, Use Heart” has been a touring roadshow visiting more than 14000 schools addressing cyber bullying together with 370,000 children and parents. Unfortunately, 28 per cent of children and young people aged 9 to 18 years are still experiencing cyber bullying. Almost one in three share pictures without permission, and the same number regret it, according to a survey conducted by the Norwegian Media Authority. This is why ”Be Smart, Use Heart” is stepping up its efforts to digitalise its content and making it available to the entire school system.

‘Social media has unfortunately become a new arena for bullying, which means that we need to raise the awareness of cyber bullying. Just as teachers and adults are present in the schoolyard, we also need to be present in the digital schoolyard. We are currently renewing the curricula that will be in use from the autumn of 2020. Then, digital discernment will be a part of the teaching. I hope that the digital version of Be Smart, Use Heart can be a good tool for fighting bullying online, says Sanner.

'Just as teachers and adults are present in the schoolyard, we also need to be present in the digital schoolyard', said Jan Tore Sanner, Minister of Education, during the digital launch of "Be Smart, Use Heart". Photo: Linn Kristine Byre Johansen

Realistic and on children’s terms

The new version of “Be Smart, Use Heart” is a digital school outreach programme in which pupils use their own mobile phones. The pupils move into a fictional universe where they face various dilemmas that affect the ongoing actions. They get to experience the emotions of bullying as well as being bullied. The solution provides teachers with access to the pupils’ anonymized responses, which form the basis for subsequent classroom teaching.

On their visit to Bjørnegård School, both the Minister for Education and Telenor Norway CEO Petter-Børre Furberg went “back to school” as they participated in the classroom teaching.

‘”Be Smart, Use Heart” is a school outreach programme that hits you straight in the heart and subjects you to choices we all wish children did not have to make. The teaching opened up for us to take on different roles, which enabled us to try and fail in the solution. This can help to avoid making the same mistakes in their own lives,’ Furberg explains.

”Be Smart, Use Heart” is a school outreach programme that hits you straight in the heart and subjects you to choices we all wish children did not have to make", says Petter-Børre Furberg.

Red Cross: ‘Dramatic consequences’

Those who make a mistake can contact ”Be Smart, Use Heart’s” partner Cross my Heart, which is the Norwegian Red Cross’ helpline for children and young people, and which has been central to the development of ”Be Smart, Use Heart”. Nelli Kongshaug, Head of Cross my Heart, hopes the new programme will be able to prevent cyber bullying by providing an increased understanding of the consequences of bullying.

‘Sharing a nude can have dramatic consequences, not only emotionally but also legally. We will provide pupils with knowledge of how to take care of themselves, but also encourage them to take care of those around them and to speak up when others are suffering. This is how we can contribute to create a good classroom environment and a good environment online,’ says Kongshaug.

For further information, please contact:

Anders Krokan, acting Communications Director, Telenor Norway
Phone: +47 952 09 037, e-mail: anders.krokan@telenor.com

This is ”Be Smart, Use Heart”

  • An interactive school outreach programme about online know-how and cyber bullying for pupils from the 5th to 10th grades.
  • It is free and available to all teachers at intermediate and secondary levels, and can be used in the classroom whenever the teacher prefer.
  • For the intermediate level, the programme is called ‘the snitch’ and it deals with sharing pictures, bullying, exclusion and friendship.
  • For the secondary level, the programme is called ‘Who ruined Klara’s life’ and deals with the consequences of sharing nudes, bullying, gender differences and friendship.
  • During the course of the coming years, ”Be Smart, Use Heart” has the ambition of offering additional teaching modules to both pupils and parents. Changing attitudes takes time.
  • The digital version of “Be Smart, Use Heart” is owned and developed by Telenor in partnership with Cross my Heart, which is the Norwegian Red Cross’ helpline for anyone under 18.
  • The pilot was conducted in 2018, with testing and development taking place in partnership with 2,700 pupils, teachers and employees in the municipalities of Asker, Bærum, Lier and Trondheim.
  • All teachers can register at www.brukhue.no and get started!
  • ”Be smart, use heart”, do it together!

Telenor’s parent survey:

  • 55 per cent of parents are concerned about cyber bullying when their children are online/on their mobiles.
  • 56 per cent of parents are concerned for their children’s safety, for example in terms of the spread of picture or unwanted attention online/on mobile.
  • 29 per cent of parents feel it is challenging that schools do not take enough responsibility for the correct use of social media platforms.

The survey was conducted by Penetrace on behalf of Telenor in the winter of 2019. N=1001 parents with children aged 10–15 years old.

Facts about children and young people from the Norwegian Media Authority’s survey ‘Children and Media 2018’:

  • 28 per cent say that they have been bullied online in the last year. 55 per cent have noticed that one or more people have been excluded or not allowed to participate.
  • 27 per cent say they have sent pictures/videos of others online or via mobile without their consent. The same number say they have regretted this.
  • 13 per cent of children aged 13–18 years old say they have sent nudes of themselves in the last year. 18 per cent have been on the receiving end of sexual comments in the last year that were perceived as hurtful, uncomfortable or threatening.
  • 53 per cent say they have spoken up about something that has happened online, while just 8 per cent say they have told the teacher.

Telenor Norge AS is Norway's largest provider of telecommunications and digital services. Our infrastructure is the foundation for digitising Norway, with its world-class coverage and high speeds. Our services and products contribute to increased productivity and provide access to everything that the digital world has to offer. Our services and products help to improve productivity and provide access to all digital content. Our security and preparedness organisation works around the clock to keep our customers safe, and we are particularly aware of our social responsibility to provide security and safety for children and young people online.

We employ 3400 people in 23 offices across Norway and we are a part of the Telenor Group, which has operations in 12 countries. Our main office is located on Fornebu in Baerum.