Freedom of the press is widely embraced, and is constitutionally protected. Freedom of expression is slightly more limited as there is a ban on hardcore pornography in movie theatres, television, video, and DVD. In addition, films are screened by the government and the government forbids certain violent movies. Teens, then, are slightly limited in what media they can view by what Walter Gibbs of the New York Times calls “a nanny standard.”
The Norwegian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, the state church, receives additional benefits provided by the government. Additionally, the Norwegian constitution mandates that members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway raise their children to continue that faith, which limits the freedom of teenagers to choose their own religion. Furthermore, all students must study Christianity in school, regardless of religious beliefs. Following a recommendation from Oslo in 2006, schools may begin enforcing dress codes in 2007, which would prohibit the wearing of burqas and nikabs (muslim attire) in school. However, in 2006, a government initiated Church-State Commission presented its views to the government, with a majority feeling that the current Church-State relationship must be dissolved.
In addition, anti-semitism is prevalent in Norway. Jewish organizations reported 40 incidents of anti-semitism in 2003, the majority of which related to verbal harassment of Jewish students by non-Jewish students. Despite these actions, the government has been active in denouncing anti-semetic behavior, and January 27th represents the observance of Holocaust Memorial Day by all schools nationwide. Students are also taught about the extermination and deportation of Norwegian Jews from 1942-1945.
Finally, in matters of freedom of religion, teenagers may practice religion, but cannot officially register for full membership to a religious group; they are limited as associate members.
The constitution also guarantees freedom of assembly and association.
The Gender Equality Act provides equal rights for men and women, which is enforced by the Gender Equality Ombudsman.
Government Granted “Rights of Age”
In Norway, to drive a moped one must be 16. Also at the age of 16, one can drive a car provided they have finished a drivers education course, and are accompanied by an adult. The minimum age for driving cars without an adult is 18, and to drive a truck one must be 21. While in a car, wearing a seat belt is compulsory.
One must be 18 to drink alcohol under 22% ABV and 20 to drink alcohol 22% ABV and over. However, it is quite easy for teenagers under 18 to acquire alcoholic beverages.
Conscription is established in Norway, and men between the ages of 18 and 44 must serve in the military for at least 18 months. Pacifists, however, are allowed exemptions from the mandatory military service, and must serve 13 months of other national service.
Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged 6-16.
The Norwegian primary school begins at age 6. In the first year, students play educational games and learn social behaviors. Studies in English, Norwegian, religion, gymnastics, geography, history, and math start in grades 2 through 7.
In grades 8-10, students are allowed to choose their own classes.
Before 2005, private secondary schools were illegal unless they offered a religious or pedagogic alternative, such as a Christian or Montessori school. Now, however, standard private secondary schools are permitted.
Despite this recent change, a course on religion and ethics, focusing on Christianity, is mandatory for students.
According to Freedomhouse.org, “Academic freedom is ensured for all [in Norway].”
Gibbs, Walter, New York Times, In Norway, a Nanny Standard for Movies