‘Gay, Hetero or In-Between?’

June 27, 2019

Norwegian broadcaster NRK has sparked controversy by asking pre-teens, who can’t necessarily tie their shoelaces, adult questions about sexuality.

The broadcaster’s children’s channel, NRK Super, which is estimated to have a target audience of 100,000 children aged between 2 and 12, used its app to survey its subscribers on matters of sexual orientation and preferences, the newspaper Dagen reported.

Tens of thousands of children woke up to a push notification with a pop-up “response-o-meter” about their sexual orientation. Among others, the children were invited to answer the following question: “Are you gay, hetero or something in between?” There, they had to choose between descriptions like “I like both boys and girls” and answer intimate questions on self-identification.

NRK’s questionnaire sparked allegations of sexualising children.

“Asking children, obviously very young ones, this kind of question is deeply problematic for several reasons. First, this is tantamount to the sexualisation of childhood, that Norwegian pupils needn’t be exposed to. Let children be children. The challenges of the adult world will come in due time”, Vebjørn Selbekk, the editor-in-chief of the Christian newspaper Dagen wrote.

Selbekk also tweeted that he was alarmed by it “as a father, taxpayer and member of the Norwegian Broadcasting Council”.

“Children in this target group do not sit and reflect on sexuality, just as they also do not spend time contemplating ethnicity or religion. When they end up doing this, they are dominated by adults, who impose their own ideological motives,” writer and former regional leader of Young Conservatives Preben Dimmen wrote in an opinion piece at Document.no.

According to him, NRK stepped over the parents’ toes and forced the children, who cannot necessarily tie their shoelaces, to decide on complex issues they are not yet ready for.

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