They obviously tend to think that the internet provides more anonymity than is actually the case, something which blurs the lines between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. The police encounter many cases where young people send nude photos to somebody they trust, but later discover that the photo has been shared. Such sharing is illegal, and can have a major negative impact on the victim.

Girl in mirror, taking a photo of herself
As a rule, taking, possessing or sharing sexualised photos of children and young people under the age of 18 is a criminal offence.

Ignorance of the law

Many young Norwegians are unfamiliar with the law and the limits it sets. It is easy to lose control of a shared photo. Nude photos and sex videos shared online are hard to remove entirely. Knowing that a nude photo of you is circulating online can be a heavy burden (eksample of a image sharing case). Most people understand that distributing photos of this nature is far from OK, but do they know that it is a criminal offence?

The Norwegian Penal Code has the following to say on the subject:

  • Sending sexualised photos to a person under the age of 16 or to older persons who have not given their prior consent is a criminal offence.
  • In principle, TAKING, POSSESSING or SHARING nude photos or videos of a person under the age of 18 is punishable.
  • However, possession of a nude photo of someone aged between 16 and 18 may not result in criminal charges if the pictured person has given his or her consent and those involved are of approximately equal age and maturity. Distributing the photo is in any case illegal.

Not common

Should a general belief that this type of image sharing is very common be allowed to become established, some people may feel pressured to do it. It is therefore important to highlight the fact that most young people do not send nude photos. According to a study from the Norwegian Media Authority, 87 per cent of the age group from 13 to 18 years stated that they have not done so in the preceding year.

What can young people in these situations do?

Have you experienced something similar? Get help to deal with it. Tell an adult you trust. It might be one of your parents, a teacher, a school nurse or a social worker.

You may also contact the police. To get in contact with your local police, you may call 02800 or visit the nearest police station.

There are also other services that can help you and provide advice. Check out the websites Slettmeg.no, Kors på halsen and Ung.no.

What can parents do?

Young people must know that they can talk to their parents or other adults they trust, if they find themselves in a difficult situation. A far better course of action than judging or punishing them is telling them that everybody makes mistakes. The most important thing is talking to your children. Ask questions and tell them about the consequences of illegal image sharing – in this way, you may help your child make the right decisions. Who are the recipients of the photos? Is it legal? Is it OK? What if your photo is distributed?

Have any of your children fallen victim of image sharing? Here is some advice:

  • Take screenshots and record the names of the persons who have shared, and when.
  • Inform the application or web services in question.
  • Contact the police on 02800, or go to the nearest police station.

Is it shareable? Questions and answers:

In principle, all sexualised photos of children under the age of 18 are illegal. However, the Penal Code section 311 is intended to protect those who are under age, and you will therefore normally not be prosecuted for having taken nude photos of yourself.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is approx the same age as you and above 16 years of age, and you know that he or she wants such pictures of you, you will normally not face any penalty for having sent photos of yourself to him or her.

According to the Penal Code section 305 showing "sexually offensive (...) activity in the presence of or towards children under the age of 16 years" may be a criminal offence. If you are above the age of 15, and your boyfriend or girlfriend is under the age of 16, sending nude photos of yourself might therefore be a criminal offence, despite the fact that your boyfriend or girlfriend wanted you to.

Even though you may not face a penalty for sending nude photos of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend, it is important to remember that possessing nude photos of you may be a criminal offence. See next question.

In principle, possessing nude photos of children under the age of 18 is a criminal offence, as nude photos of children are considered «representations sexualising children» under the Penal Code section 311.

Section 311 states that the penalty may be waived if the boy or girl has a nude photo of somebody who thinks that it is OK that the person in question keeps it (for example their boyfriend or girlfriend), if they are approximately equal in age and maturity, and the person who is photographed is between the age of 16 and 18. Distributing the photo is in any case prohibited.

It is illegal to show or share nude photos of children under the age of 18. If you are above the age of 15, and you have presented or distributed photos of this nature, you can in principle face a penalty, irrespective of whether you sent the photos for fun, to make fun, to harass or for other reasons.

Receiving and possessing nude photos of children under the age of 18 is illegal. However, if you suddenly receive nude photos of children under the age of 18 years without prior knowledge, you will in principle not face a penalty. If you choose to keep the photos, you may have committed a crime despite the fact that you did not want them. If you receive such photos, tell an adult or the police, and delete the photos afterwards.

It is illegal to film people who are having sex if one or both of them are under the age of 18, as it is considered production of «representations sexualizing children or showing sexual abuse of children» under the Penal Code section 311. Filming is illegal even though the persons who are being filmed are above the age of consent (16), and they are allowed to have sex.

Under the Penal Code section 311 subsection 1, letter b, selling nude photos of somebody under the age of 18 years is illegal. If you are the only person in the photo and you have taken them of your own free will, you will normally not face a penalty for trying to sell them. Buying the photos is a criminal offence, even though you might want to sell them, and irrespective of whether payment is made or not. There are some exceptions, described in the questions above.

Forcing you to send nude photos is a criminal offence. This is a criminal offence under several provisions in the Penal Code, e.g. Penal Code section 311 relating to production of representations sexualizing children in photos and/or section 251 relating to coercion.

If somebody forces you to send nude photos, you should consider breaking off contact immediately and blocking the person. It is probably not worthwhile staying in contact with this person.

Sending nude photos of yourself to somebody under the age of 16, is considered «sexually offensive conduct» and is a criminal offence under the Penal Code section 305. It may also be illegal to send nude photos of yourself to somebody above the age of 16 if the recipient does not want to receive them, as this is considered «sexually offensive conduct» towards somebody who has not given their consent, as set out in the Penal Code section 298.

Sending you photos of this nature without you having asked for them is not permitted and may be a criminal offence under several provisions of the Norwegian Penal Code.

  • If the photos show somebody under the age of 18, it is considered sharing of sexualised photos of children, a criminal offence under the Penal Code section 311.
  • If you are under the age of 16, it might be considered sexually offensive conduct towards a child, which is a criminal offence under the Penal Code section 305.
  • If you are above the age of 16 and you have not asked for these photos, it may be considered sexually offensive conduct towards somebody who has not given their consent under the Penal Code section 298.

In some cases, such behaviour may also be considered frightening and bothersome, and punishable under the Penal Code section 266.

If you receive such photos, please contact an adult or the police.

School visits

The NCIS will be visiting some schools in connection with the launching of the campaign «Shareable?». Any other school visits will be from the local police.

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