We recommend that the Nordic countries push for making platforms legally obligated to offer settings that enable citizens to take more control of their usage of platforms in their everyday lives at EU level. These settings should be guided by a need for the well-being of citizens in integrated online and offline lives, with a particular focus on protecting children and youth, and the well-functioning of our democracies.
We recommend that the Nordic countries establish a specialised Nordic task force to 1) commission a meta-analysis on the potentially damaging effects of social media platforms on citizen well-being and the democratic space, and on this background 2) develop recommendations for Nordic policy initiatives onward.
We recommend that the Nordic countries work ambitiously to protect minors from harmful environments and functions online. This should include applying a precautionary principle when introducing new functions on social media and other digital platforms. In this way, the online platforms will, to a greater extent, have to assess, document and counter possible harmful effects of their services.
We recommend that the Nordic countries work to introduce a legal demand for effective age verification and parental control as default settings for relevant social media platforms. The policy should be designed by drawing upon the experiences from recent similar policy work in France, Germany and the European Union (i.e., the EU-consent project). The Nordic countries’ policy approach should strive to grant the best protection for Nordic minors while respecting minors’ right to freedom of expression and their right to privacy. Subsequently, the Nordic countries should work to make such verification part of the common EU agenda and future amendments to the Digital Services Act. Eventually, such verification may be extended beyond verification of age to verification of identity.