Denmark is a highly digitised country, with many public services communicating and liaising with citizens online. Internet user skills in Denmark are significantly above the EU average, according to the 2022 European Commission DESI index.
The 2022 Reuters Institute Digital News Report found that 80% of people access news online, and 43% on social media (down from 56% in 2016.) Trust in news is high relative to other countries surveyed, with 58% of participants trusting news overall. Facebook is the top platform used for news (35%), and 15% of those surveyed share news via social, messaging or email.
According to the 2022 Media Pluralism Monitor, rather than media literacy, the focus in Denmark is on digital literacy, looking at users’ competencies with digital media from a critical and technical perspective. While there are no explicit policies on digital literacy in the educational curriculum, it is represented in and outside of formal educational context in a number of ways, the report specifies. One of the reasons that digital education has come to the forefront of political and social life is due to high profile cases of underage girls having their pictures shared online without their consent, and there is now a thriving environment in civil society focusing on this, partially supported by the government.
EDMO hub membership
Member countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
NORDIS is developing its Digital Information Literacy (DIL) approach, building on its fact-checking, research and literacy work within the DigComp 2.2. framework. It is organising DIL pilots in advance of International fact-checking day on 2.4.2023 and based on Faktabaari EDU pilots.
NORDIS’ concept of digital information literacy can be understood as:
“[A] set of skills and abilities which everyone needs to undertake information-related tasks; how to discover, access, interpret, analyze, manage, create, communicate, store and share information in the digital environment. In short, digital information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgments about any information we find and use – whether or not materials under analysis are valid, accurate, acceptable, reliable, appropriate, useful, and/or persuasive.
Digital information literacy allows us to understand the power and the need for accountability of numerous stakeholders who create technologies, platforms, and content for us in the digital age. Being able to critically evaluate the multiple sources of information empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage with society from an informed point of view. With the tools of digital information literacy, we can assess the accountability of different actors in the field and demand a better digital environment for us as citizens and consumers, both from corporations and decision-makers.”
Thomas Hedin – [email protected]
Daniel Greneaa – [email protected]
Mikko Salo – [email protected]
Kari Kivinen – [email protected]
Media literacy at a national level
There is no one body with overall statutory responsibility for media literacy, and no single over-arching policy, but digital literacy is present in national policies including:
- The Danish National Strategy for Cyber and Information Security lists ‘equipping children, young people and adults to be digitally literate… by implementing a broad initiative in the field of education and training’ as a strategic priority.
- The 2018 Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth from the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has a strong focus on digital skills, some of which are associated with digital literacy. For example: “Primary and secondary education must focus on increasing technological understanding based on a basic democratic view that citizens should be able to participate in and influence processes and decisions that affect their lives. This also requires greater focus on technological understanding and digitalisation.”
Status of media literacy in the school curriculum
According to the Media Pluralism Monitor, online media literacy has been heavily prioritized in Danish grammar schools, particularly in terms of digital education, which focuses on giving children and adolescents the skills to navigate their digital everyday life. Media literacy and information search in general is covered in the Ministry of Children and Education’s obligatory guidelines for grammar schools and high schools, the 2022 report notes. Several research projects have focused on how to develop up-to-date curricula for Digital Dannelse/Education in high schools. In December 2021, five political parties from across parliament agreed to spend 52.5m kroner (about 7m EUR) on digital education projects targeted at children and young people.
The Danish government focuses on digital skills from a safety perspective starting in primary school, and continuing through to graduation, according to the European Commission’s Youth Wiki. The National Strategy for Cyber and Information Security 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 and online fraud.
The Youth Wiki also explains that general upper secondary reform launched in 2016 introduced digital competencies in all relevant subject curricula in general upper secondary educations from the school year 2017/18. A new optional subject focused on understanding technology was introduced – ‘Informatics’ – which is a mandatory part of other subjects but can also be both mandatory or optional as a standalone subject, depending on the path of education.
The position of initiatives targeted at those not in formal education
Most Danish media literacy initiatives are targeted at children, although there are also several aimed at parents, including:
- Der er så meget forældre ikke forstår… | Medierådet (peytz.dk)
- Temaaftener | Snak med (kk.dk)
- Gode råd til forældre – Digital Dannelse i børnehøjde – Børns Vilkår (bornsvilkar.dk)
- SoMeDigMig – en app til forældre, der vil forstå deres børns digitale liv bedre. (redbarnet.dk)
- So.Me.Mor.Far – En podcast til forældre om børns digitale liv (redbarnet.dk)
- Different libraries (Viborg Bibliotekerne, Gentofte Bibliotekerne, Herning Bibliotekerne, Aalborg Bibliotekerne, Forbundet Kultur og Information, Biblioteksvagten og Danmarks Biblioteksforening) is doing a collaboration on fighting ‘fake news’. They have produced a podcast for example.
- SAMMEN OM SKÆRMEN (Together about the screen (screen referring to iPads, smartphones and computers, red.)). The project has been further developed together with the Central Libraries
The Media Council works with educators, parents, authorities and organisations to inform and advise on children and young people’s life and activity in digital media. It serves as a national awareness centre and runs the Danish Safer Internet Centre in partnership with The Centre for Digital Youth Care and Save the Children Denmark.
Since 2004, the Centre for Digital Youth Care has worked to create, provide and guarantee professional help through digital media for vulnerable young people.
The Center for Digital Education aims to help children, young people and adults navigate safely in their digital lives and get the very best out of digital communities, by visiting schools, and producing guides and teaching materials.
EMU, the Ministry of Children and Education’s digital learning portal, provides 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.
Fact-checking media TjekDet, as well as doing several fact-checks every week, runs two national portals which gather teaching resources on an ‘Education’ page and scientific work on mis- dis- and malinformation on a ‘Research’ research page. It launched a campaign “Stop. Tænk. TjekDet” (Stop.Think.CheckIt in English) in cooperation with the Media Council for Children and Young People, Enigma and FALS (Association of social studies teachers) which included some teaching resources and a podcast. It has also given presentations on misinformation in cooperation with Google at high schools in Denmark.
Enigma, the Museum of Communication, has a learning lab where pupils can learn, for example, about false news and digital education.
Digital Start is an interactive education website that supports the pupils’ knowledge about public digital service. 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 provides 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 Danish Film Institute runs film literacy programmes for children.
The Danish Agency for Digitalisation and the Danish Business Authority have created Sikkerdigital.dk focused on online safety and cyber security.
Cybernauterne, or The Cybernauts, offer courses, guidance and workshops on cyber security and digital literacy. They specialize in communicating to people who do not have special technical skills and introduce people to to topics such as fake news, online privacy, the power of algorithms, social media etiquette and security tips.
Børns Vilkår works to uphold children’s rights to a safe childhood. They provide advice, tips and tools to parents on how to understand their children’s online lives, and to ensure their safety online. They also offer Børnetelefonen (Children’s Phone), a helpline for children to call if they’re experiencing problems, including online harassment.
The ADD Project (Algorithms, Data and Democracy) works to ensure that democracy is strengthened by digital development through research, increased understanding of technology, digital education and dialogue.