Danish students to learn about sexual boundaries in week-long programme

Up to 400,000 students across Denmark will spend a week learning about consent and boundaries in a specially-designed week-long course of lessons.

Danish students to learn about sexual boundaries in week-long programme
File photo: Sarah Christine Nørgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The topic of boundaries in relation to sex and social media is more important than ever before, according to the Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund, DFPA), the organisation behind the ‘Uge Sex’ (Sex Week) lessons scheme, a recurring campaign brought to schools by the organisation.

Cases such as last year’s Umbrella investigation, when hundreds of teenagers and young people were investigated by police for sharing via social media an intimate video showing two teenagers, without consent, are illustrative of the need for better education regarding when to set limits and when to consent, DFPA’s national director Lene Stavngaard told Ritzau.

“We have chosen the topic of ‘boundaries’ because we think it’s more relevant than ever before,” Stavngaard said.

The organisation will speak to school students of all ages across the country as part of the scheme.

Over half of the country’s school students – around 400,000 children and teenagers – are expected to participate.

The programme is set to focus on intimate boundaries of children and young people, particularly online and on social media.

“In many ways, there is a need for both young people and adults to be prepared to navigate these boundaries and to learn about how to respect their own boundaries as well as others’,” Stavngaard said.

Events over the past year have made the issue particularly prevalent, the head of DFPA said.

In addition to the Umbrella case, controversy over a tradition known as ‘puttemiddage’ at upper secondary schools (gymnasier), whereby boys from older year groups pressure younger female students into boundary-pushing auditions, was discussed in national media.

In January 2018, police announced legal action against up to 1,000 young people over the distribution of two explicit videos and one image on Facebook's Messenger platform. The videos showed a 15-year-old girl and a number of 15-year-old boys.

The videos were primarily sent to and shared between young people, and individuals under police suspicion in the case may have broken Danish child pornography laws, police said at the time, although a trial case later resulted in acquittal.

Many young people and their parents were surprised about the consequences of sharing such a video, Stavngaard said.

“(They were surprised) about things like it being illegal, and that you can be given a conviction for it,” she said.

“But also the fact that what happens on social media has consequences in the real world, including for the people in the video,” she added.

Young people will be taught about how to recognise other people’s boundaries and not to cross them, according to DFPA.

The campaign will also include free learning resources for teachers planning sex education classes.

READ ALSO: Acquittal in Danish sex video case could set precedent


Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music

The government is to forward a bill on Friday proposing tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay Danish media for using content on their platforms.

Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music
File photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will also mean platforms used to share media, such as YouTube, will be required to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

A comparable law recently took effect in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked for Facebook users in the southern hemisphere country.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark force Facebook to pay for news content?

“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an infrormed basis,”culture minister Joy Mogensen said in the statement.

“If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use,” she added.

The proposal will provide for rights holders such as musicians or media outlets to be given a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can use their content.

As such, companies like Facebook and Google will need permission to use the content online.

The Danish proposal builds on an EU directive which gives individual media outlets the right to agree deals with tech giants.

The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to make a collective agreement with the tech companies providing for payment when their content is used.

An interest organisation for Danish media companies has backed the proposal.

“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position,” Louise Brincker, CEO of Danske Medier, told newspaper Berlingske. Brincker noted she had not yet read the full proposal.

Media will not be obliged to make agreements with the tech companies, however. Complaints to the Danish copyright board, Ophavsretslicensnævnet, will be possible under the new law, should it be passed by parliament.

The bill will become law on June 7th should it receive the backing of a parliamentary majority.

Both Facebook and Google decline to comment to Berlingske on the matter, stating they had yet to see the bill in full.