It is crucial that we listen to the youth about their life on social media, as they – more than anyone – know and experience what is happening in their digital lives.
At the Centre for Digital Youth Care we hear from a lot of children, youth, and professionals, who tell us about pressing issues in the digital world.
Many of these inquiries are relevant for a large group of people, and to reach as many as possible, we have created ‘Netlivs bloggen’ on our digital platform for children and young people in vulnerable positions, Cyberhus.dk, where we post extensive blog posts about specific topics regarding the life of children and teenagers on social media.
The blog posts are with great success targeted directly towards children and youth, as we see a large amount of traffic and interactions on each article.
Does TikTok moderate what you watch?
In a year-old blog post on Netlivs bloggen, we dive into TikTok, the popular social media app owned by ByteDance, one of the largest companies in China.
We posted the article after an American news outlet had exposed some very strict and bizarre internal rules for what kind of content is allowed in the “For You”-section of the app.
Leaked internal documents reveal, that content in which the creator is deemed too ugly, too fat, too skinny, or poor is not allowed to appear in the *For You’-section.
For example, moderators are instructed to flag videos containing footage in which a content creator is situated in a messy or dirty room.
Content containing critical views of the Chinese government or TikTok itself is also not allowed.
If a content creator goes against these absurd rules, the app will either remove the video or in certain cases ban the creator from the app entirely.
When TikTok moderates its content in such devious and frankly unethical ways, it will lead many young people to the perception that the unattainable standards of beauty and wealth – so very prominent on the app – somehow reflect real life.
This can be extremely harmful to the self-image and well-being of a young person – or anyone for that matter.
Young users of the app must be made aware of how TikTok actually works, which would have been kept a secret to the public if not for some diligent journalists.
Even better, TikTok must change its rules, so that everyone – no matter how they look, or how much money they make – can have their videos shown on the app.
In reality, TikTok’s slogan, “Real People. Real videos”, couldn’t be much further from the truth.
Sexual assault on social media
At the Danish helpline, we often receive questions from children and youth, who are unsure about what they should do, when they witness sexual content containing a minor on Snapchat and livestreams – also known as synchronized media – where the video disappears.
One blog post functions as a step-by-step guide on how to act, if you come across content on social media in which a person is being sexually assaulted.
When reporting the crime, it is helpful to the case, if you provide evidence such as a screenshot or recording of the video. This, however, comes with some dangers.
Under danish law, when you save a video or snap a screenshot of sexual content on social media, you become complicit in a crime, as you are “creating a copy” of the material.
This is an example of how the law isn’t always able to keep up with the digital evolution. There currently is no part of Danish law that allows for the gathering of evidence with synchronized media containing illegal footage.
Thankfully, the police in Denmark are most likely not going to arrest or indict anyone, who reports a crime and brings evidence to back it up, as long as the goal is to provide evidence, and the person doesn’t wait weeks before reporting the crime.
It is critical that you act quickly, so there won’t be any doubt of your intentions.
The blog post provides direct links to Danish police as well as Save the Children Denmark, where it’s possible to report sexual assault.
In cooperation with the municipalities of Denmark
Netlivs bloggen is part of 25 different municipalities’ youth-to-youth-site on Cyberhus.dk. Through participation on the site, each municipality receives a stream of expert knowledge applicable in their own work with their local youth.
At the same time, each municipality becomes an ambassador for Netlivs bloggen, reflected in a smaller increase in the comments section as well as a 20 percent increase in total visitors on the blog posts from march 2021 to august 2021.
We are continuing to expand our cooperation with the Danish municipalities in the coming years, hopefully increasing the number of municipalities using ‘Netlivs Bloggen’ in their preventive work with their local youth.