Children and young people of this age have taken their first steps on the Internet and already know their way around reasonably well. Almost all of them now have their own cell phone or can use one of their parents’ devices. On the one hand, the interests and activities are as diverse as the children themselves; on the other hand, very similar phenomena can be observed. It is becoming increasingly important to use the media to build a world of their own, even without the guidance and supervision of parents. This includes communicating more and more with friends, increasingly unobserved by parents.
Interests are further developed online. Children find out about topics of their own choosing, follow celebrities on social media or video platforms, and begin to show themselves off to their peers or even the public via various apps. For some, it is important to play undisturbed alone or with their friends – even online. In the process, they develop their own expertise and skills and live out their creativity.
Children and young people are not yet able to assess very well what it means to put certain data on the Internet, what other risks there are, or how it should be assessed when others misbehave on YouTube and the like. Increasingly, young people are moving away from purely child-friendly media use, going online more often on their own and repeatedly encountering content that can overwhelm them and that they cannot process on their own. In addition to youth media protection, you as parents should still lend a helping hand. Feel free to share your child’s diverse experiences on the web and also support your child’s formation of opinions about them. As parents, you have a particularly important guiding role in this transitional phase, and you should encourage safe use of digital media.