Tour: Matching answers to your questions
In the first two years, media do not play a major role in a child’s everyday life. In the first months, it initially orients itself in the new living environment. With each new day, the sensory organs become more mature. Babies begin to explore the world by seeing, touching, grasping, hearing and tasting. They use these skills, along with an innate preference for new things, to learn. Interaction with adults, especially parents, is especially important to them. You can tell this by the way your child tries to imitate you shortly after birth. To establish a bond with your child, you should always make eye contact with him, talk to him and touch him – without media getting in the way!
Finally a schoolchild! Starting school marks the beginning of a new and exciting phase in life for children and parents. Children in this phase are inquisitive, constantly discover something new and are very capable of learning. Social contact, whether with parents, siblings and (new) friends, is especially important to them. In the process, they develop their own skills and interests as well as an increasing sense of self-worth. As parents, you can support your child’s development during this phase with positive encouragement.When your child enters school, he or she learns new structures and at the same time encounters (unknown) challenges in many places. Conflict resolution skills and the ability to take responsibility are not yet strongly developed. The children need a lot of orientation, rules and support here. They spend a lot of time with the family, but increasingly also with friends. Very slowly, they begin to go their own way. Children at this age move a lot and like to play. At the same time, media use increases and they gain more and more experience with the Internet. By learning to read, they can use it more purposefully.
Between the ages of 11 and 13, children are in a special phase between childhood and adolescence. In this transition, they have to deal with many tasks and challenges. They place greater value on friendships, orient themselves more strongly to their peers, form more of their own interests and want to pursue them more independently. On the one hand, your child still needs you as parents for many situations and questions. On the other hand, your daughter or son wants to set themselves apart and take on more and more responsibility themselves.Children at this age are increasingly oriented toward people, trends and ideas outside the family. Media, which they use in a variety of ways and on a large scale, also serve this purpose. Smartphone and social media are gaining strongly in importance during this phase of life.
Adolescents are going through the final steps toward adulthood. They are in an important phase of self-discovery and identity formation. Adolescents spend a lot of time at school, with friends, hobbies and interests. In the process, they sometimes distance themselves strongly from their parents and make many experiences on their own. At the same time, they find support in the family. In this phase of life, most young people think about their future and must increasingly take responsibility for it themselves. Some adolescents are already at the beginning of an education and gain their first experiences in the adult world.adolescents develop a personal position on issues and in their environment, can set their own goals and resolve conflicts among themselves. Interest in social issues also grows. Young people look for their experiential spaces and role models far away from the parental home. They meet in clubs or at the bus stop, for example, to exchange ideas with their peers, to try things out, and also to set themselves apart from one another. They also use digital spaces for this purpose. After all, digital media are an essential part of young people’s everyday culture, which they always have with them in the form of their smartphones.
Especially in the early years, the family has the most significant influence on children’s behaviour, knowledge and skills. How media are used in everyday family life – whether for distraction, information, learning or creativity – contributes to how children deal with them later in life. Dealing with media in the family is not always easy. Different ages, interests and habits can lead to conflicts and a lack of understanding. More information on your role in children’s media use, possible rules in everyday family life and so on can be found in the following text sections.
The Internet and mobile devices are full of content, offers and information. Many of them are entertaining, helpful and exciting. However, some sites and apps can be risky and overwhelming. Children and parents should know about it! The following texts will help you.
As a general rule, it is important not to create unnecessary fear in children, but to support the development of healthy skepticism. Most often, ignorance creates fear, which can be transmitted to children. It is important that you communicate to your child that they can turn to you if they have a problem. Point out some important things to your child before he or she uses a media device or goes online alone.
Parents often feel overwhelmed and left alone with the challenges of their children’s media use. But just like on this page, parents can find offers for information and advice in many places on the net. In addition to the classic institutions of youth media protection, there are a number of initiatives that have approached the topic professionally and offer help. You can also find tips on suitable media offerings and learn where to lodge complaints or point out problems with sites or apps.
Childhood and youth are protected spaces that are not always easy to preserve on the Internet. Excessive content or people with bad intentions can negatively influence children and adolescents. As a parent, you should help ensure that your child can navigate the media world safely. At some point, your child will be active online themselves and will also bear more and more responsibility for their own actions as time goes on. In order for him or her to learn how best to use digital media, you as parents should know how to protect your child on the one hand, but also how to prepare him or her appropriately for risks and responsible behavior online.
For children and young people, surfing the Internet is as natural as going to school. The range of products and services on the web and in the app stores is vast and diverse – as are the interests of young users. Find out what content they prefer to use, especially on their mobile devices, but also what to watch out for here.
All children and adolescents face developmental challenges all the time, and development does not happen the same way for every child because it depends on different factors. Children grow up in a particular environment: Families vary in size, composition, religion, etc. Access to media can also look different. What children and young people perceive about media influences their development as much as the way they use media.
No matter how old your child is, you should know that there are legal regulations that help ensure that you and your family can use media safely: not all content may be freely available on the Internet, personal data is under special protection, etc. You can learn more about this here.
With so much on offer on the Internet and in the app stores, there are two main questions for parents when it comes to finding suitable offers: How can I protect my child from unsuitable content? You can find out more about this under “Security on the Net”. And: How can I find content, apps and pages together with my child that are interesting and age-appropriate? You will find what you are looking for here.
Device settings and special software can help automate restrictions on your child’s access to certain media content. However, children can still come into contact with undesirable or excessive content sooner or later – even beyond the devices at home. These are therefore no substitute for joint discussion, even of sensitive issues. Also assess the need based on how confidently and sensitively your child is already navigating the web.