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Hate among gamers

Children and young people like to play with each other and argue in the process – and that is quite normal. These conflicts do not stop at virtual space. Sometimes arguments degenerate into name-calling, hate speech or cyberbullying. What you can do as a parent on the topic of hate among gamers, we explain in this article.

Why do children and young people argue about computer games?

Games are supposed to be fun. Gamers compete against each other in many online games. As in other competitions, there is always one team that wins and at least one that loses. Losing often triggers frustration and anger is taken out on each other. In the process, there are also times when insults are used.

In the process, the difference between fun and seriousness is not always clearly discernible. Rough language, so-called trashtalk, is the order of the day in the gaming scene. However, this gaming language is usually not taken as a personal insult, but determines the tone of conversation. In some conflicts, however, players cross red lines and utter racist or sexist insults, for example. This is called hate speech and is a form of digital violence. This is about the targeted discrimination of people on the net based on one of their characteristics such as gender, skin color, origin or sexual orientation.

One particular feature fosters hatred among gamers: In online spaces, we do not face each other personally. Therefore, it is not easy to recognize how statements from the other person are meant and how one’s own statements are received. Also, things are said thoughtlessly that one would not say to others’ faces. Real people hide behind nicknames, but the anonymity of the Internet sometimes makes you forget that.

What can I do if my child is affected?

Accompany your child in the event of cyberbullying. When children argue, they are often sad afterwards and feel misunderstood. It doesn’t matter whether the conflict takes place online or in real life. After all, the emotions involved are always real. If your child is sad and opens up to you, take your child’s feelings seriously. Answers like “But it’s just a game!” or “Don’t play it if you’re always going to be mad afterwards.” are not conducive to this. Show understanding and offer your child support: “I’m here for you. Let’s figure out what to do together”. If these events happen again, talk to your child about what he or she can change. However, wait until the anger has passed for the moment.

Ask if your child feels offended by the culture of communication among gamers themselves. Make your child strong against haters and trolls and show them how to fight back online. Educate your child about how to deal with digital violence and point them to help sites like juuuport or Hate Aid. If your child encounters hate and incitement in games, report the account together. It is important for the community of the game that harmful players are reported. Thus, the developer studios can take action and block accounts or exclude them from participating in the chat. Find out what games your child plays and check if there is an option to child-proof the game. For example, individual players can be muted so that your child is no longer a repeated target of nasty hostility.

If you observe your child using violent language yourself, talk to your child in a quiet moment about communication in Games. Clarify which insults are discriminatory and make it clear where you stand on them. Be a role model in your own expression, whether online or offline, and show understanding and interest in your child’s play worlds.

Online games – five popular genre

Computers have revolutionized our world. They open up unimagined possibilities, also for the world of games. As early as 1961, student Steve Russel developed the world’s first computer game: Spacewar! In 1972, the most famous video game ever followed: Pong, by Nolan Bushnell. A lot has happened since then: technology has evolved, the Internet has made gaming in online spaces possible.

What online games do children and young people play today? The gaming platform Steam shows that shooters, MMORPG, survival games, battle royals and sports games were played particularly frequently in 2022. These types of games are also trendy among young people. We present you these five popular genres of online games.


The word shooter comes from English (to shoot = to shoot) and refers to games in which the main objective is to eliminate opposing parties using firearms. In all shooters, the focus is on protecting your own threatened character. Team play, quick reactions and tactics are required. Shooters are often linked with an exciting game story and they come in countless variations. From highly tactical like Counter-Strike or Valorant to fast action like in Call of Duty there is a wide variety of games with different objectives. In first-person shooters, players control their character from a first-person perspective. We described whether first-person shooters promote violent behavior here.


MMORPG stands for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game” and combines elements of role-playing games with online worlds. The most famous representatives of the genre are Lost Ark World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV and Black Desert Online. The players slip into the role of a self-created character. You play with others and complete tasks (often called “quests” in these games). The focus of the individual games is very different. While players in World of Warcraft often team up with others to defeat dangerous enemies, in Guild Wars 2 players often fight each other in epic mass battles to capture and expand strongholds.

Besides tasks, MMORPG games offer a variety of other possibilities. Characters can learn a profession and earn gold or other currency with it. From the skilled cook to the blacksmith and the tanner to the jeweler, everything is there. In-character role-playing, in which players meet and interact with each other in character, is also common and offers similar incentives to improvisational theater.

Survival Games

Survival Games (Engl. “survive” = survive), such as for example ARK: Survival Evolved, The Forest, Rust or Minecraft attract with a very exciting gameplay, in which players start with a minimum of equipment and can build new items and even houses by collecting resources like wood, ores and co.
Depending on the game, players can explore technologies, travel an exciting but often dangerous world, and craft items. Most games can be played online together with others. Other game ends become either allies or opponents, with whom you either cooperate or fight for resources.

Battle Royale

Battle Royale is the title of the first book written by Japanese author Koushun Takami in 1999. In the book, a school class is abandoned on an island and must survive there. However, only one person may remain. The successful book series The Tribute to Panem also works with a similar concept.

When the game PUBG: Battlegrounds was released in March 2017, it immediately raced to the top of the Steam charts. Soon other developers followed and tried to reinvent the genre. Fortnite , Paladins and Minecraft mods wrote success stories that continue to this day.

The game principle follows the novel templates: 100 players are let loose into a world and fight to be the last one left. You’ll start without equipment and you’ll have to find important resources in the game world to succeed and prevail. The playing field is constantly shrinking, which leads to the fact that game players inevitably have to meet and defeat each other. Things often get heated in the process, as we have already described in this article.

Sports games

Another genre that has become indispensable are sports games. Fifa has been thrilling gamers of all ages for almost 30 years now.

Racing games like Formula 1, Dirt and Forza also inspire with a fast-paced gaming experience and realistic graphics. As in other sports, the primary attraction here is to compete with others. Traditional sports clubs have meanwhile eSports -teams, which also compete in sports games and tournaments.

What parents should pay attention

The popular game genres are undergoing constant change, A good overview of current genres is provided by the USK’s encyclopedia.

No matter what genre is played, the focus is always on having fun. Your child needs the balance to the stressful school or training day and uses gaming to relax and entertain. Computer games are a great way to do something with friends, even if they live far away.

Stay interested and learn about age ratings and appropriate games for your child. If you feel your child is playing too much, talk openly about it and try to agree on rules together.

How to make your child’s smartphone safer

By the end of elementary school, many children get their own smartphone. With it, they can do different things and have access to the Internet. In addition to many great opportunities, however, it also exposes children to risks. It is especially important that you talk to your child about possible dangers and make safety settings on the new cell phone together.


Without your child realizing it, he or she is leaving data trails by using a messenger and other apps, as well as by surfing the web. Explain to your child the various smartphone functions and how to set them sensibly: WLAN, Bluetooth and location should remain switched off by default and only be activated when absolutely necessary. For example, GPS is necessary if your child is looking for directions to a specific location using a map app. Check the app permissions in the settings together with your child. For example, you can avoid apps accessing the camera without reason or sharing data with other devices and networks. Educate your child about online scams, such as spam emails or phishing. A virus protection app helps against unwanted viruses. This way, your child can protect themselves from dangers such as data theft, subscription traps or fake offers.

Password protection

For a safe stay on the net, it is important to use codes and passwords. Your child’s cell phone should only be used after entering a code (PIN, swipe code or similar) so that no strangers can access the data. Set up secure password protection with your child. This also applies to registration with social media services and apps. Secure passwords consist of at least twelve characters and contain special characters and numbers in addition to letters. Depending on the device, a fingerprint of the child can also be used for unlocking (e.g. Touch ID on iOS). Tips for creating secure passwords are available – e.g. at Handysektor. For younger children, it is recommended that at least one parent also knows the screen lock combination and password.

Parental control settings on Android and iOS

On every smartphone, security and parental control settings can also be made in the settings. Detailed information on this can be found, among other things, in the article on technical youth media protection.

On Android, you can block the installation of apps in the Play Store or set a password for installation or in-app purchases. To do this, activate the parental control settings. You can choose which apps your child can install without a password.
In addition, for Android devices, it is recommended to install a parental control app such as Salfeld Parental Control or download a security app. Limiting screen time helps to control the duration of app use and ensure balanced media consumption. With the Kids Place app, you can, for example, set a time limit on screen time, only allow the use of certain apps, or block unsuitable websites. The Google Family Link app also offers some ways to regulate your child’s cell phone use.

iOS devices offer even more options in their own device settings. Under Screen Time you have the option to set restrictions and assign a separate code for them. You can then, for example, allow or block the use of certain apps and restrict in-app purchases with a password. Movies, music, apps and TV shows with a higher age rating can also be blocked automatically. iOS can automatically filter and hide web content in Safari and apps.

What else can you do to ensure safe smartphone use for your child?

To avoid cost traps, a rate plan with targeted, limited data volume can be useful. Thus, your child has only a limited scope to spend time on the Internet.

Make sure to set certain settings on social media apps as well and use Instagram safely, for example. Here you can specifically regulate the visibility of your child’s profile and the basic contact options. Some platforms even offer a child-friendly alternative mode – for example, the accompanied mode at TikTok.

For more information on safe smartphone settings, it’s worth visiting medien-kindersicher.de. Here are helpful, tech protection solutions for all of your child’s devices, services and apps.

Accompaniment by the parents

Smartphones come with some features to make chatting, surfing the web and using apps safer for your child. Nevertheless, these settings on the device or even parental control apps do not replace the supervision of you as a parent. Your child should always understand why certain websites or apps should be blocked or why GPS tracking should remain disabled. Also, always base your control and safety on your child’s age and development. Especially with teens, don’t intrude too much on your child’s privacy. However, always try to stay in conversation with your child and be there as a point of contact for questions or uncertainties.

Playbrush Kids – Gamification for brushing teeth

Playbrush Kids is a smart sonic toothbrush with interactive games app designed specifically for kids to make brushing teeth a fun experience. The app uses the gamification approach to make brushing teeth a game that kids love to play. We explain what’s behind it.

In a nutshell:

  • smart sonic toothbrush with interactive game app
  • Playful activities to motivate people to brush their teeth
  • For children from 3 to 12 years old
  • Coach teaches proper cleaning routine
  • Cleaning evaluations with reward system

What can Playbrush Kids do?

With this app you can play games, track brushing activities and learn how to brush teeth properly. To do this, the app uses gamification technology, a trend in the technology industry, especially in healthcare. The idea is to use playful elements such as points, rewards or competitions to motivate people to improve their health and well-being. Playbrush Kids aims to promote healthy tooth brushing habits in children, for good oral hygiene and better long-term dental health.

The children’s toothbrush acts as a game controller – either with a special toothbrush attachment (Playbrush Smart), which is placed on a conventional manual toothbrush, or as an electric sonic toothbrush (Playbrush Smart Sonic). These are equipped with sensors that detect the movements of the toothbrush and transmit them wirelessly to the app.

The children then have to complete various tasks while brushing their teeth, such as fighting little monsters or collecting objects. The app tracks the child’s progress and offers rewards for good performance. It also reminds how long and how often children should brush their teeth. Playbrush Kids was developed by dentists.

What fascinates children about it?

For children, Playbrush Kids can be very appealing as it allows them to experience brushing their teeth as an interactive and fun game. You can play different games and unlock characters, which makes the experience even more interesting. Children can track their own progress as they clean and feel proud when they achieve their goals. Gamification elements such as points and rewards provide additional motivation for most children.

What can be problematic?

  • Incentive and distraction: Children can become too fixated on playing and neglect the actual brushing of teeth. If they’re just looking to get to the next level in the game, they might not brush their teeth thoroughly enough or leave out important spots.
  • Overbrushing teeth: When children play too long, you can overbrush their teeth. While it is important to brush your teeth thoroughly, excessive brushing can cause damage to your teeth, such as abrasion of the enamel.
  • False reports: The app has technical problems from time to time. For example, the toothbrushing coach then reports to the child that he or she is brushing too hard, even though this is not the case.
  • Reward system: The reward system can help motivate children for better dental health and boost their self-confidence. However, there is a risk that they will only clean for rewards and behave differently when these are removed.
  • In-app purchases: Although the app works without any purchases, it offers cost traps with in-app purchases such as additional game pieces or accessories, which children also make unintentionally.
  • Privacy: The app collects personal information about your child, such as cleaning progress or for personalized recommendations. Data is also transmitted when parents have reports on the number of minutes spent brushing their teeth emailed to them, for example. The device location and IP address are also collected anonymously.

What does the provider think?

Playbrush Ltd is the company behind the app. They describe it as an innovative solution to help children improve their dental health by making brushing a fun and entertaining experience. They emphasize that the app is secure and complies with data protection laws.

What should parents pay attention to?

Playing is fun – and it should be. Support your child in not neglecting or overdoing tooth brushing. A mutually agreed time limit can help. If you have any concerns, please talk to your dentist.

The app’s reward system should be seen more as a support. Also encourage your child to take care of their dental health on their own initiative. So it can develop a lasting healthy habit.

The app collects data, if only to provide you with reports. Familiarize yourself with the privacy policy in order to make an informed decision or to make specific settings. Also keep an eye on the possible in-app purchases. To do this, you can discuss with your child – depending on their age – or restrict the purchase options in the smartphone settings.

Interact with your child – together, mouth music, brushing technique training and oral health quizzes become even more fun.

Lucky Girl Syndrome – the promise of quick happiness 

“If you think positively, your life will change for the better!”. Happiness and success as if by magic – that’s what the social media trend “Lucky Girl Syndrome” is all about.

The law of acceptance

Under the hashtag #luckygirlsyndrome, millions of videos of young women can be found on TikTok, Instagram and the like. They usually look very good, smile into the camera and promise their followers success through beliefs and mantras such as “I am happy” or “Things are going well for me”. The message is: good things will happen to those who expect good things. This is called the “Law of Assumption.” In some videos, female influencers talk about all the things they’ve been able to achieve thanks to their positive outlook on life: Gambling winnings, dream jobs or the perfect apartment. They challenge their followers to talk themselves into happiness and share the resulting successes with the community. The trend is mainly common among female TikTokers. The hashtag #luckyboysyndrome occurs significantly less.

Children and young people want to be happy

Who am I? How do I want to become? What do I want to achieve? Children and young people are in the middle of their personal development. On the road to adulthood, adolescents encounter many hurdles and must learn to deal with setbacks. Conquering a crush, getting good grades at school, shining at a dance recital – not everything they set out to do succeeds. This can make you dissatisfied and frustrated. The social media trend “Lucky Girl Syndrome” promises quick happiness and thus exactly meets the interest and longing of some young people, especially girls. They look to their idols for guidance and emulate influencers on social media. Challenges are fun for young users, and they interact with their circle of friends and role models.

When happiness becomes a constraint

Lucky Girl Syndrome” seems harmless, but it can become problematic for users. The trend lures with false promises. It doesn’t hurt to think positively. But goals cannot be achieved with thoughts alone. Those who want to attract happiness solely with the help of loudly spoken sentences and the inner attitude will soon be disappointed. Because only those who also become active and change their own behavior can shape their lives positively.

What is also problematic about the trend is that negative feelings have no place. But those who constantly suppress grief, fear or anger risk their mental health in the long run. What is also completely disregarded is the fact that not everything in life can go well and not everything can be positively influenced. What is also important to remember is that not all people have the same opportunities. Physical characteristics such as appearance, gender, and health and privileges such as social background and finances affect the achievement of personal goals.

How parents can cope with the “Lucky Girl Syndrome

Stay open and interested in your child’s social media use. A good basis for discussion is essential for a joint exchange on value issues. Talk to your child about his or her role models on TikTok and Cound with as little bias as possible, and ask what fascinates your child about them. Point out that how influencers are portrayed on social media may differ from how they are portrayed in private. Nobody is lucky all the time. Make it clear to your child: not everything always has to go well in life. Negative feelings are part of it and may be lived through to an appropriate degree. A positive outlook on life is good, but action must follow. Reinforce to your child that he or she is fine the way he or she is. Encourage his self-awareness and support him in critically reflecting on the self-optimization presented by some influencers on social media.

Sextortion – Blackmail on the Internet

“I have nude photos of you. If you don’t want me to send them to your whole class, transfer €500 to this account by tomorrow!” When supposedly private recordings or information are suddenly used to blackmail someone, we talk about sextortion. And this can affect virtually all Internet users.

What does sextortion mean?

Sextortion is made up of “sex” and the English “extortion”, meaning blackmail. The term describes an Internet phenomenon in which users are blackmailed with nude pictures or videos. In doing so, the blackmailers proceed in two different ways:

  • Sometimes stolen contact information is used to pressure someone. Then suddenly an email reaches the unsuspecting victim. It says that the PC has been hacked and embarrassing pictures or videos have been stolen. So that these are not spread, one should transfer money. Often the perpetrators actually have no pictures or videos at all. But because they know many contact details, the mails seem very personal and therefore also threatening.
  • Even more frequently, sextortion arises from supposedly harmless contacts: Two people get to know each other on dating platforms, in social media or in games. A nice chat turns into more and finally one person lets himself be persuaded to send nude pictures of himself. Once the pictures or videos are on the way, however, the sound suddenly changes. The previously sympathetic acquaintance now demands money and threatens to publish the pictures otherwise.

Who can be affected by sextortion?

The blackmailers in sextortion cases work with their victims’ sense of shame. The people concerned want to avoid at all costs that their most intimate pictures are shared uncontrolled online with a huge audience. Many often do not resist blackmail out of fear and shame. At the same time sextortion can affect everyone.

Because the perpetrators seek contact via common messengers and social media platforms, where there is generally a lot of communication between them, there is often no suspicion when contact is first made. Blackmailers often take a long time to gain the trust of their victims.

Mostly young men are the target of sextortion – but there are also increasing cases of women being blackmailed. Sometimes even children are threatened.

In some cases, it is not money that is demanded, but further sexual acts – then the crime is not only extortion, but also sexual assault or even rape.

How can you protect yourself and your child?

The best precaution against cybercrime is always: knowledge and caution. Inform yourself about communication risks on the Internet and educate your child in this regard. Stay in conversation with your child about their online actions and encourage them to be vigilant. Create a trusting basis for conversation and encourage your child to confide in you or an adult caregiver if he or she is being harassed. Make it clear to him that it is not your child who has done something wrong, but the perpetrator. Discuss the following rules with your child as needed:

  • Protect personal data. Always close or mask webcams when they are not in use.
  • It is best not to respond at all to e-mails with strange or threatening content – even if the sender appears to know your name and sounds very credible at first glance.
  • The same applies to acquaintances on the Internet: It’s better to be a little too careful! You should never send nude pictures to a person you only know from chat. No matter how much she pleads, cajoles or even threatens.
  • Unpleasant contact in social media, mails and messengers can be reported and blocked. For information and help on sexual harassment online, see our article Cybergrooming.

Sextortion help and advice

If it is already too late, you can take action: Sextortion is a criminal offense and should be reported to the police. The more people who report such cases and the more screenshots there are to document the extortion, the greater the chance that perpetrators will be caught. The people affected are not to blame. But if they do not defend themselves out of fear and shame, they only protect the perpetrators! Seek help and advice, for example here:

For children and teenagers at…

For parents at…

Stickers in WhatsApp and Co. – between creativity and spam

Stickers have long been indispensable in messenger apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and others. The small, colorful pictures are often funny or cute and offer a fun and creative way to express emotions and liven up conversations. We explain what stickers are useful for and when their use can also become exhausting.

What can stickers?

Unlike traditional emojis, stickers are often hand-drawn or digitally created graphics. The small images and animations offer an easy and quick way to convey a message, express your mood or bring fun into a conversation. Stickers can also be used to overcome language barriers. Since images are a universal language, they can be useful in multicultural communication situations.

There are stickers for almost every situation, from funny memes and cute animals to political messages and cultural references. With various apps like Sticker Maker or Sticker Studio, you can quickly and easily create your own stickers that are not available in any other app.

What excites children and young people about it?

For children and teenagers, sending and receiving the colorful images provides entertainment and fun. It is typical for young people in particular to communicate with images. Image communication partially replaces the written word. Children also like to make jokes, laugh and have fun. In stickers they can easily combine all this. Especially creating your own stickers provides a lot of creativity and individuality, which is especially popular among young people.

What can be problematic?

  • Misconceptions: Stickers should not be used to address serious or sensitive issues. In such cases, it is best to limit yourself to text or voice messages to avoid misunderstandings
  • Displeasure, distraction, and stress: Excessive use of stickers in group or class chats, for example, can make others feel disturbed or inconvenienced – even leading to digital stress.
  • Inappropriate content: There are many stickers that contain inappropriate, discriminatory or pornographic content. When children and young people encounter such stickers, they may be confronted with content that they cannot yet understand or process.
  • Harassment and Bullying: Stickers can be used to harass or bully others. Children and teens may send stickers that are hurtful or offensive, causing emotional harm to others.
  • Copyright infringement: If children and young people use stickers that are protected by copyright, they may be breaking the law and getting into legal trouble.
  • Security risks: Stickers can pose a security risk as they can be used by hackers and cybercriminals to spread malware and viruses. When children and teenagers download stickers from unknown sources, it can infect their device and expose personal data.

How can parents deal with it?

Find out about the apps your child uses and see what stickers are available there. There are also special parental control apps that can restrict access to certain apps or features.

Remember that social contacts become increasingly important for your child as he or she reaches puberty, and digital communication is just as much a part of this as conversations in the playground. Educate your child about not spreading stickers that may offend or harass others. Discuss rules for dealing with stickers – especially in class and group chats. Getting others’ permission before sharing stickers can help reduce problems. Also educate your child about what to do if he or she feels uncomfortable or harassed and always be approachable.

Talk to other parents and teachers about how stickers are handled in group chats. This way you can support each other and exchange ideas.

Feel free to create a fun sticker together with your child sometime. This encourages creativity and engagement with images and text.

Used electronics – Refurbed, rebuy & Co 

The smartphone is only a few years old and already broken. But does that mean it has to be replaced with a brand new device? What has long been established in the textile industry is also becoming increasingly popular for electronics: buying technical equipment second-hand. This is easy on both the wallet and the environment. We shed light on the background and present selected stores.

Electronics not only cost money, but also resources

The manufacture of smartphones, tablets and the like requires many valuable resources such as plastics, metals and rare earths. Some raw materials are mined in countries like Congo, supporting armed conflicts and child labor. During production, any amount ofCO2 escapes into the atmosphere. If the device is broken and ends up in the trash, it pollutes the environment again in the form of electronic waste. These are just some of the problematic backgrounds of today’s electronics industry. If you are looking for an alternative to this, the second-hand market is the place to go.

Refurbished devices

The sustainable alternative to buying new is to purchase a used unit. Not only smartphones, tablets and laptops are available on the second-hand market. Smartwatches, cameras and consoles or accessories such as headphones, cables and cases are also offered via online stores. And at significantly lower prices than new goods. Beforehand, all media equipment is checked, cleaned, repaired and refurbished. All data is deleted and the device is reset to the factory settings. In this way, used equipment is resold as good as new, thus extending the life cycle of electronics. The second-hand market makes an important contribution to the circular economy and conserves valuable resources.

The Berlin-based online store rebuy.de was awarded the test mark 2.2 by Stiftung Warentest 2023 as the best provider of refurbished smartphones. The German company was particularly convincing with the high quality of the smartphones on offer.

Refurbed.de offers not only high-quality, used electronics at low prices. For every device sold, the German company plants a tree and thus promotes climate neutrality. Large retailers also offer refurbished products with warranty, such as Amazon Renewed, Ebay Refurbished or B-Ware at Media Markt.

Used technology for children and teenagers?

Whether among friends or in online advertising – children and young people are constantly being touted the latest technology. But does it really always have to be the latest gadget? Younger children in particular can get off to a good start with a less expensive second-hand model. The first smartphone offers a good reason to purchase a second-hand device. This means that children and young people do not have to hide or even feel ashamed. Sustainability is in with young people, and quite rightly so! Those who know about the background wear their rescued device with pride and can be role models for their peer group.

What you should consider when buying used smartphones and co.

It’s best to buy used goods through online retailers rather than private sales. Large stores test and overhaul the equipment and provide it with a warranty. Consider how much money you want to spend and in what used condition you want to buy the electronics. Read the product descriptions carefully and also pay attention to notes such as non-smoking or or pet-free household. Take good care of your devices, save the battery and show your child how to enjoy their devices for a long time. If it is broken beyond repair, dispose of it properly together, for example at the recycling center. In this way, valuable ingredients are put to use again. Does your child really want a new device with the latest features as a birthday gift? Then consider selling the old device together via online trading. This way it stays in the cycle and gets the chance for a second life.


Internet, telephone, streaming services, media libraries, television – to entertain ourselves and communicate, we resort to many different offerings at home. MagentaTV is a Deutsche Telekom platform that combines everything in one package. We present the offer and explain what parents should look out for.

In a nutshell:

  • TV streaming service and TV app
  • Provider: Deutsche Telekom
  • Bundled offer of TV programs, movies, series in connection with Internet & telephony
  • MagentaTV: €39.95 to €75.95 per month; MagentaTV app: from €10 per month (as of 3/23)
  • Child and youth protection settings available

What does MagentaTV offer?

MagentaTV is a bundled offering of Internet, telephony, and a selection of TV channels and video streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, some of which cost extra. The platform can be used on various devices such as SmartTVs, smartphones, tablets and computers. Those who do not have an Internet or phone contract with Deutsche Telekom can access TV channels and video streaming services via the paid MagentaTV app. In addition to the basic offers, various packages can be added. Extensions are available, for example, for special subject areas such as sports, languages such as Turkish or Polish, or target groups such as children and families.

Parental control with MagentaTV

To use MagentaTV safely, child and youth protection settings can be made on all devices on which the service is used: on smartphones, tablets and computers, on the SmartTV, the MagentaTV box and the media receiver. An adult PIN prevents children and teenagers from accessing content that is not approved for their age. If content does not have an age rating from the FSK , streaming services must make the assessment themselves. It is not always obvious how this is done. In addition to the PIN, a purchase block and a hiding of erotic content can be set up. You can find detailed settings for parental control with MagentaTV at medien-kindersicher.de.

What should you as a parent pay attention to when using MagentaTV?

Watching movies, series or TV shows has a great appeal for children and young people. Whether they use it to inform themselves, entertain themselves, or relax after kindergarten and school, watching videos is often an integral part of their everyday lives as a media ritual. A comprehensive offering like MagentaTV can entice your child to watch endless videos. Also, your child may be shown content that is not age-appropriate. Therefore, note the following points:

  • Consider how much screen time is appropriate for your child.
  • Set appropriate media times with your child and keep adjusting them based on your child’s developmental stage.
  • Not all videos are suitable for children, but can disturb and frighten them. If your child is still young, do not leave him or her alone in front of the unit.
  • Find out the age ratings of the content and set parental controls like the adult PIN so your child can stream safely.
  • Incorporate media into family time and watch movies and series together. Stay conversational about the content and show sincere interest.

Dark Patterns – Manipulation on the Internet

“Allow all cookies”, “Only 5 left in stock!” – does something like this sound familiar? Maybe you’ve clicked on something while browsing or spent more money while shopping online when you really didn’t mean to. Behind this is a mechanism that deliberately deceives users on websites, in online commerce, in apps and games.

Seductive designs

Dark patterns are designed to induce Internet users to take actions that are not in their interest, but work in favor of the provider. This involves working with design principles from graphic design as well as tricks from behavioral psychology. The aim is to obtain personal data from users or to tempt them into excessive purchases of products, subscriptions or contracts. Well-known examples are:

  • Draw attention: The “ORDER NOW” button lights up large and with a colored background. The alternative “no, thank you” remains discreetly in the background.
  • Blur wording: Ambiguous statements, double negatives, or misleading expressions intentionally confuse. This strategy is particularly common for forms with checkboxes.
  • Hiding information: Log out, unsubscribe, cancel – these actions are sometimes well hidden or not present at all. This makes it difficult to withdraw from an offer.
  • Create negative emotions: a special offer is about to expire, the shopping cart is deleted or only a few items are still available – this intentionally creates pressure. Anyone who only adds the alternative “No, I don’t want to be informed” to the newsletter subscription notice is deliberately targeting users’ sense of shame.
  • Automatically add additional offers: In the shopping cart or when making a flight reservation, you suddenly find an additional offer such as insurance next to the items you added yourself.

These Dark Patterns are encountered by children and young people

Children and young people also encounter manipulative strategies every day on the Internet. Especially on social media platforms, in apps or video games, they have to deal with hidden information, advertising banners, sales strategies and psychological tricks. The special algorithms and endless feeds of TikTok, Instagram and the like are deliberately designed to keep users in the apps as long as possible. Likes and comments inspire, but also create social pressure. Video games like Fortnite and gaming apps like Coin Master use mechanisms such as unnecessary time pressure, intrusive in-app purchases, and opaque loot boxes, among others. On websites and search engines, it is not always easy to distinguish advertising from content. Younger children in particular do not yet have the experience and maturity to see through Dark Patterns and not be guided by emotions.

How can parents deal with this?

Be careful when surfing the Internet, protect your child’s data and encourage your child to use data sparingly. Discuss with your child the conscious use of money and accompany him or her when making first orders or payments online. Educate your child about the mechanics of online advertising and sales tricks on the Internet. Consider the following tips and discuss them with your child:

  • Think first, then click: Don’t click buttons too quickly, but take your time to see what options are available.
  • Read carefully: For forms with checkboxes to click, carefully read what checking a box really means.
  • Checking orders: Before completing an online purchase, check the shopping cart and make sure it contains only what is needed.
  • Keep emotions in check: Don’t feel pressured to make purchases and don’t feel guilty about offers.

In addition, solutions from the technical youth media protection can support the safe Internet use of your child, for example, youth protection filters, access restrictions or ad blockers.

Are such strategies allowed at all? Legally, dark patterns operate in a gray area. If you or your child have had a negative experience with it, report it together to the consumer center: verbraucherzentrale.de/beschwerde.

Media libraries of the public broadcasters 

The media libraries of the public broadcasters also offer a wide range of entertainment and education for children. Parents will find numerous programs and series produced especially for children. In this article, we take a look at these media libraries, what they have to offer children, and what parents should keep in mind.

In brief

  • Educational and entertainment program
  • Prepared for children
  • Available anytime and anywhere
  • Free of charge
  • Advertising-free

The offer

The ARD-Mediathek for children offers Parents a wide range of content suitable for children, such as “Die Sendung mit der Maus,” “Bibi und Tina” and “Wissen macht Ah! They are generally suitable for children between the ages of three and twelve and offer a good opportunity to introduce children to topics such as nature, technology and the environment in a playful way. “The Elephant Show” is a popular format for younger children. Mediathek has a wide range of news programs especially for young viewers. Children can follow current events there in a form suitable for children and find out about world events.

ZDFtivi is ZDF’s children’s and youth program with series, films, fairy tales, knowledge, documentaries and entertainment for children, such as “Bibi Blocksberg,” “The Jungle Book” and “JoNaLu. The program is mainly for children aged six to 13. Especially for older children and teenagers, there are, for example, “Die Pfefferkörner” and “Schloss Einstein” or learning programs such as “PUR+”. The media library also offers a wide range of interactive games and learning apps that teach children through play. ZDFchen offers videos for media beginners and preschoolers up to the age of six, such as “Zigby the Zebra” and “Lieselotte”.

KiKA is a joint channel of ARD and ZDF and is aimed at children aged three to 13. In the KIKA media library there are a wide selection of content suitable for children and young people, such as children’s films, series, documentaries and reports. It also offers content such as interactive games, craft and cooking instructions, and background information on shows. The online platform is not only an offer for children, but also for parents, educators and teachers with valuable material to accompany the programs, information on dealing with media and game ideas.

The funk -Mediathek is a joint service of ARD and ZDF with content for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 29. It offers a wide selection of videos, reports and web series on topics such as politics, society, pop culture and science.

Also the regional programs like BR Children, MDR Children and SWR Children’s Network offer online children’s programming: For example kinder.WDR.de programs such as “Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten” and “Die Sendung mit der Maus.

All media libraries offer the option of downloading programs and watching them offline. The public broadcasters also offer apps with additional offerings for children, such as the ZDFtivi app or the KIKA player. However, apps are not discussed in this article.

What can be problematic

All videos in the media libraries for children are suitable for them. There are no advertisements or solicitations to buy. However, children can enter the adult area of the media libraries from there, even if a warning sign appears when they leave the children’s area. In the adult section, there is content that is not suitable for children. In addition, children can also access external sites on the Internet or other media libraries on the Smart TV from the media libraries. You should therefore not let children under twelve surf without supervision.

Content that is not released until the age of 16 or 18 can only be accessed in the evening (after 8 or 10 p.m.) in all media libraries of the public broadcasters.

What parents should also pay attention to

Make sure you have a healthy amount of screen time. This can vary depending on the child. Especially do not let younger children watch TV uncontrolled and pay attention to age recommendations and ratings. Watch together if possible, so you can answer questions and catch on if your child gets scared. Together, set rule for usage and choose which programs will be watched together with your child.

The language of gamers

You come into the living room, your child is sitting in front of the game console. Excitedly it calls into the headset: “Ah crap, I’m knocked, one is Heaven, one Zig-Zag behind the Drywall and looted the Chest, watch out, the one above has a Purple Shotty and camped me!”1. You have heard what your child said – but what it means is a mystery to you?

What is gaming language?

It is not only different national languages, dialects and accents that shape the language of children and young people. The circles in which they move also affect the way they express themselves. People who game a lot often use a certain gaming vocabulary.

Most video games are played online and gaming language takes an important role in communication between players. It is often necessary to share information with others quickly and efficiently to improve collaboration and win the game. Here, the gaming language offers a good opportunity to communicate efficiently with others and develop a successful strategy.

Gaming language helps create identity and community. With their gaming slang, gamers show that they are part of a certain group. The common language also serves to establish and reinforce social norms and expectations within the gaming community. The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) has listed common terms in its lexicon.

Gaming language as pop culture

Gaming language is influenced by youth and net cultures and is a very multifaceted phenomenon. With “Smash” and “Sus”, two terms from gaming were again among the top 10 youth words of the year in 2022. Gaming language is constantly changing: new words and expressions are introduced, while others slowly disappear or lose meaning. This is partly because the nature of the games changes over time. On the other hand, each game genre is characterized by its own words. In Fifa is called “GKs that are trash” (i.e., the goalie not playing well) and “Boah the bronze banked again” (i.e., he or she is deliberately manipulating his or her team’s score by sending players with poor scores to the bench and thus being paired by the system against players who tend to be weaker).In Fall Guys is about “proxy strats” (i.e. trying to win the game by intentionally falling back at the beginning of the round) or “jump dives” (i.e. combination of jumping and “throwing forward”).

Gaming language influences other areas of pop culture while also being shaped by pop culture. More and more often, expressions and terms from the gaming language are adopted in music, film and advertising. For example, rappers like Travis Scott and Drake use expressions like“loot” and “pogchamp” (an emote on the livestreaming platform “Twitch“) in their lyrics. Companies such as Coca-Cola and KFC use gaming terms and themes in their advertising campaigns, targeting a specific audience.

What parents should pay attention

Keep in mind that your child’s speech will not be permanently altered or degraded by the use of gaming speech. Your child may speak to his or her friends in a way that is completely incomprehensible to outsiders. But that doesn’t mean it won’t find appropriate expression in school and, later, work contexts.

Nevertheless, it is important to take a closer look at the words together with your child, as defamatory or insulting expressions are often found in gaming language. For example, terms such as “huan” are used as shorthand for “son of a bitch” or “fag” as shorthand for “faggot,” the English equivalent of “faggot.” Children and adolescents often pick up such expressions thoughtlessly and use them themselves without thinking about it. Talk openly with your child about why the use of these words is problematic. Explain to him what the words even mean and make it clear that you will not tolerate such terms.

Such insults are to be distinguished from the phenomenon of trashtalk, which has established itself in gaming language as a form of etiquette in certain gaming groups. Show interest in your child’s hobby, watch them play and play a game together. This way, you can get an idea of the gaming culture yourself and talk to your child about games at eye level.

1Resolution ofthe terms in the introduction:

knocked: Lying on the ground, but not yet knocked out.

Heaven: A place name that refers to a point higher up.

Zig-Zag: A place name that refers to a Z-shaped wall.

Drywall: A wall that can be penetrated by projectiles.

looted: Engl. for plunder, here also: search.

Purple Shotty: A rare shotgun in the game Fortnite.

camped: Someone is sitting nearby waiting for team members to come to their aid.

Fascination Gaming – What makes gaming fun? 

The passion for video games is unmistakable for many people, especially children and teenagers. Whether on a console, PC, or smartphone, video games offer a variety of ways to entertain yourself, gain new experiences, and improve skills. But what exactly is the appeal of gambling?

Immerse yourself in game worlds

One of the most important resources of video games is the possibility to immerse yourself in other worlds and put yourself in different characters. The players stimulate their creativity and imagination. They experience adventures, make decisions and solve problems outside the limited possibilities of our real world.

For non-gamers, it is sometimes not so easy to empathize with this. Talk openly with your child about his or her experiences and try to understand them. Sit next to your child when they are playing and observe what they are playing and how they are playing. Let them explain the game to you and play together. If your child gets the feeling that you, as a parent, are really interested in what he or she is doing there, your child will talk about it more openly.

Measure yourself with others

Many games are designed for competition, which appeals to many game players. Whether against other players or against the AI (artificial intelligence) of the game – children and young people can measure their skills against others and thus prove themselves. This gives a good sense of satisfaction and pride, especially if they are successful in doing so.

Your child proudly tells about a virtual victory? Don’t belittle the accomplishments. For children and young people, they are just as important and relevant as winning a soccer game or creating a work of art. Show your child appreciation. Note: Games are made in such a way that game players always want to continue playing and create the next level or victory. Agree on rules for when to stop gambling.

Switch off and get into the flow

Another factor that makes gaming appealing is the ability to relieve stress and relax. Many people use video games as a balance to their hectic everyday lives. Focusing on something else can help to take a break from the challenges of daily life.

In gaming, many game players get into a “flow”. In psychology, “flow” refers to a state that describes lightness, in which people are fully absorbed in what they are doing and forget everything around them. The reward systems in video games are designed to actively promote and build on this very “flow experience.”

Be aware that sometimes your child is in “flow” and it is not necessarily bad faith if he or she does not come to eat even after multiple requests. With all understanding, it is still important to set boundaries.

Maintain friendships and exchange ideas

Online games have become a medium that children and young people use to meet their friends and exchange information about their interests. While the nature of the contact is purely virtual, the important socialization processes for your child still occur. Especially children and young people from rural areas have the chance to “meet” their circle of friends in Games even if they live far away.

Does your child communicate in gaming chats and use digital tools like Discord to share ideas? Talk to your child about the platform rules. Make your child aware of communication risks such as cybergrooming and create a trusting basis for conversation so that your child can always come to you if problems arise.

Learn new things and expand competencies

Video games can also be a valuable learning tool. Many games like Minecraft require the application of mathematical and logical skills. Learning new languages and cultures can also be facilitated through games, as in the English-language Among Us . Some games also encourage the development of critical thinking and decision making.

These learning experiences are an important part of today’s world. Our everyday life is characterized by social networks, computer technology, smartphones, cryptocurrencies and much more. In order to keep up with this, it is important to train a quick grasp, to train basic technical understanding and, above all, to develop logical problem-solving skills. Your child does all this automatically and enthusiastically by playing computer games.

What parents of passionate gamers should pay attention to

Stay informed about your child’s hobby, choose games with your child based on interest and developmental level, and be aware of video game age restrictions. The most important thing for children and young people when playing, besides all the points mentioned, is that it is fun. Not everything in the life of children and young people must pursue a goal, or as already the Duden writes to it: “[Spielen ist] itself for the pleasure, pastime and alone from joy in the thing itself in any way operate, with something occupy “.


“Just ask a chatbot!” – or something similar could be the future motto when it comes to researching on the Internet or answering tricky questions. The chat program ChatGPT is currently the talk of the town, and even children and teenagers are trying out the language program. We provide an insight into the tool.

In a nutshell:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) based language model
  • Chat program that gives answers from the Internet
  • Developer: OpenAI
  • Registration with e-mail address and mobile phone number
  • Free of charge, no age check

What is ChatGPT?

The chatbot gives users answers from the web using machine learning. We had a little chat with him.

Question: What is ChatGPT?

Answer: ChatGPT is a computer model developed by OpenAI to have conversations with humans. It is particularly good at answering questions and carrying on conversations, having been trained on large amounts of text.

Question: What kind of texts was ChatGPT trained with?

Answer: ChatGPT has been trained with texts such as news articles, books, conversations and other documents from the Internet.

Question: Please write a two-sentence summary of “George Orwell: 1984”.

Answer: “1984” by George Orwell is a dystopia in which a totalitarian government controls every aspect of its citizens’ lives. The protagonist, Winston Smith, works for the government but rebels against it and meets a woman named Julia, but is eventually captured and “reprogrammed.”

Question: Does ChatGPT have an answer for everything?

Answer: No, ChatGPT does not have an answer for everything. It is a computer model and can sometimes give wrong or inaccurate answers, especially to strange or unknown questions. It is important to check ChatGPT’s responses and use them with caution.

Question: What do children and teenagers do with ChatGPT?

Answer: Children and teenagers can talk to ChatGPT and ask it questions as they would with a friend or an online search engine. ChatGPT can help them find answers to questions that interest them. Some children also use it to improve their communication skills. It is important that children and young people learn how to use technology safely and responsibly, including ChatGPT.

What fascinates children/youth about it?

ChatGPT is an advanced voice AI that can do more than traditional search engines and voice assistants. It can write original texts, carry on fluent conversations, translate texts into other languages, and perform complex tasks. It can be fascinating to see how quickly and straightforwardly replies and interesting and entertaining information is delivered. Some children and young people also simply enjoy a conversation with a virtual counterpart or unexpected answers. Also, the technology behind ChatGPT can be impressive and interactions with an AI exciting. This supports children and young people in their self-exploration and promotes creativity and linguistic skills.

What can be problematic about the offer?

  • Inappropriate content: Children and young people may find inappropriate or dangerous content on the platform.
  • Incorrect information: Chatbots are only as good as their programming and can provide incorrect or inaccurate answers.
  • No human interaction: the chat program is not a real human. It cannot provide the same kind of emotional support and understanding that children and youth expect from people.
  • Privacy: Children and teenagers can put their personal data at risk when communicating via ChatGPT.
  • Outdated state of knowledge: The state of knowledge of AI currently only extends to the year 2021.

What does the provider think?

According to OpenAI, children and young people should be protected as follows:

  • Content filtering: ChatGPT does not use inappropriate, vulgar or offensive words.
  • Monitoring of conversations: OpenAI pays attention to what is discussed with ChatGPT. Inappropriate questions may not be able to answer or the answer may be limited.
  • Education: OpenAI consistently encourages in its responses to think critically and to be careful to verify information from the ChatGPT with other sources.

What should parents pay attention to?

Explain to your child that not everything the chat program says is true or correct. ChatGPT has been trained with texts, and therefore only knows what it has seen. It can make mistakes. Make sure your child verifies the information they receive with other sources. It’s best to try this out together and explain to him how to deal with disinformation.

The chatbot can assist with school-related tasks. For example, he can describe something in simple words. ChatGPT should not do homework for your child. Explain to your child that ChatGPT is a tool and not a perfect source. ChatGPT cannot think.

Stay in conversation with your child and educate them about dangerous content online. The chatbot has also been trained with texts that may be inappropriate for your child. Work out boundaries and rules for use together.

You and your child should not submit any personal information. Encourage your child to let you know if there is a problem. Make sure your child understands how to protect his or her privacy.

Smartphones and tablets: battery and where it goes

“I have to call it a day, my battery is almost out!” – does this sound familiar? Just when the smartphone or tablet was fully charged, it flashes red again. This article explains which functions consume a particularly large amount of energy and how you can increase the battery performance of mobile devices.

Charge battery correctly

Lithium-ion batteries are installed in smartphones and tablets. They store energy, release it into the device’s power circuit, and absorb new power via a cable. Do not allow your device to fully discharge, but do not fully charge it either. According to TÜV Süd, the ideal battery level is 30 to 70 percent. Leaving the device hanging from the power cord at night is not a good idea. More expensive models have a battery control system that automatically regulates the charging process. Use the charger supplied by the manufacturer, because then the charging power and speed will optimally suit your device.

Increase battery power

Batteries are very sensitive components of smartphones and tablets. Protect your devices from moisture and humidity, from cold and heat, as well as from shocks and falls. This will prevent damage to the battery cells.

You can increase the battery life with the following tips:

  • The display eats up the most power in mobile devices. Reduce the brightness of the screen, use the “Automatic brightness” function and use the “Night mode” in dark environments. Avoid the “Always On” mode, where the display is on continuously, for example to show the time.
  • Turn off features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or location when you don’t need them. The constant search for reception consumes a lot of power.
  • Check the “Battery” section in the settings: how much energy does your device consume during the course of the day and which apps require particularly much power? If there is an app in the list that you have not used at all, it could be a buggy or data-robbing app. Uninstall the app or make an app update.
  • Close apps and processes that are running in the background. The more processes are active, the more power your device requires. Close apps that you don’t need at the moment. On Android, turn off automatic synchronization of accounts like the Google apps under “Settings” à “Accounts”.
  • Activate the “Energy saving mode” function. This automatically stops background processes. Your device may then operate somewhat slower, but with less energy.
  • Widgets, for example with current news or the weather, also consume a lot of power. Remove it from the screen again if necessary.
  • Reduce the number of apps that are allowed to send you push messages. Each time a notification is sent, the device is brought out of sleep mode. For Apple, go to “Settings” à “Messages”. On Android, you select the individual apps under “Settings” à “Apps & Notifications” and then specify which app is allowed to send you notifications.
  • To save power, use silent mode and reduce audible and sensory signals. Sounds and vibration consume quite a bit of energy.

Here is what you and your child can look out for

To ensure that you and your child enjoy your device for longer, check the settings on the smartphone and tablet together. If you are on the device a lot, you also consume a lot of battery. Gaming apps like Clash of Clans and video streaming are particularly energy-hungry. Set a good example and be a role model for conscious media use. Think together about how you want to shape media use in the family and agree on rules that apply to everyone. Especially for younger children, screen time settings can help regulate time on the device.

If the battery is not enough, you can take a powerbank with you on the road. If the battery often runs down quickly despite all energy-saving measures, don’t buy a new device right away, but have the battery replaced by the manufacturer. This protects both our environment and your wallet.

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