Elternguide Logo

World views in children’s media

Books, computer games and series all have one thing in common: they tell stories. However, when clicking and zapping through television programs and streaming services, it quickly becomes apparent that certain stories are repeated and others are barely shown. Through this one-sided portrayal, there is a danger of seeing discriminatory worldviews as normal from childhood.

The danger of one-sided narratives

Children have endless questions and are constantly searching for answers that explain the world around them. Media use makes a significant contribution to how your child perceives the world.
The media give us a very one-sided picture of our world by constantly repeating the same characteristics of a person such as skin color, gender, origin or religion. This leads to the fact that we no longer question the images and stories conveyed, but accept them.

Promoting diversity from an early age

That’s why children need stories that show that the world is colorful. Through access to a variety of stories, children come into contact with different realities of life, topics and perspectives.
And don’t worry: it’s okay to watch such one-sided movies and series. Rather, it is about offering different stories so that your child has the opportunity to get to know several perspectives on certain topics and representations. By dealing with diverse media content, your child can learn that people with or without disabilities, regardless of gender or skin color, can be heroes in stories.
To support this and promote an open world view, it is important to take a critical look at the content of radio plays, films, games and other media. In the best case scenario, take a look together with your child at how one-sided or varied the stories consumed so far have been told and how the characters are portrayed. Then you can search together for a series, a podcast, a game or a book with diverse characters that you and your child like.
Below you will find a list with some suggestions.

Diverse children’s media

On Instagram , TikTok and co. are dominated by one-sided role models, because clichés sell well. We have compiled tips for more diversity in social media offerings for you in this article. You can find portraits of influencers who deal with criticism of racism and show gender diversity here.

Diverse and queer – what is becoming more and more visible in our society is also increasingly reflected in media offerings for children. In this article, we present children’s media that show diverse gender images and lifestyles.

Movies and series:

All new for Lina – Lina moves to Berlin with her family and has to find her way around. (3 years)

My City of Ghosts – In this animated film, four friends interview ghosts and learn about the history of their city, Los Angeles. (5 years)

Die Sendung mit der Maus – A knowledge series for children in which diversity is also emphasized in the moderation. (5 years)

A Lousy Witch – Friendship in a witch school. (6 years)

The Checker World – The Checker Team Can, Tobi, Marina and Julian present exciting knowledge programs for children. (from 6 years)

Dandelion – Fritz Fuchs and his dog Keks experience exciting adventures as the successors to Peter Lustig together with a diverse ensemble of actors and impart interesting knowledge in the process. (6 years)

Strong! – Short portraits of strong children. (7 years)

Avatar – The Lord of the Elements – An animated series featuring characters with various disabilities, but with no focus on their impairments. (7 years)

Rico, Oskar and the Deep Shadows – two friends with different quirks and fears chase a kidnapper until one of the two boys disappears himself. (7 years)

Moooment! – A series that deals with the topic of racism and discrimination. (9 years)

Strange World – a three-generation family must save a dying plant. (9 years)

Karma’s World – (animated film) Ten-year-old Karma wants to become a rapper. Until then, however, they have to cope with everyday school and family life. (9 years)

The Peppercorns – A group of five children solve crimes. All five main characters demonstrate strength, courage and solidarity. (10 years)

Echt – web series on ZDFtivi that deals with friendships. (10 years)

Trio – A detective series (10 years)

The Help – this feature film is about the lives of black maids who work for white families every day in the 1960s. (11 years)

Einstein Castle – series about the lives of boarding school students. A format with a lot of diversity (past, skin colors, sexuality, illnesses) without being portrayed as “special” or “unnatural”. (12 years)

Funk – Free media offer and network of ARD and ZDF. (14 years)

Books:

Buuu.ch is a blog that presents children’s books and comics that convey diverse role models and avoid reproducing stereotypes or clichés.

Book suggestions for diversity-appropriate books for teens are posted regularly on CBJ ‘s blog.

Stories about strong girls can be found on this list of children’s books.

In addition, activist Raul Krauthausen collects children’s books that deal with various facets of the topic of disability.

Something completely different is the one organized by the Munich Deaf Association, where children’s books are read aloud in sign language.

In the book “My dream, my story“, eight children who became world-famous talk about their dreams and stories.

The Avalino Diversity blog and Britta’sInstagram and TikTok accountfocus a lot on the topic of diversity in the nursery. Among other things, she presents children’s books and has also written her own (children’s) book.

Zuckersüß Verlag is a publisher of children’s books with strong messages and a list of 30 books for more diversity and variety in the nursery on Jane Wayne’s blog.

Podcasts:

The Avalino children’s podcast is a knowledge podcast in which children talk about their ideas (e.g. environmental protection) or cool facts (e.g. about animals).

Die Maus is a podcast of the Sendung mit der Maus, on which a 60-minute episode for children appears daily. (4 years)

Hearooz is a podcast app that was developed especially for children and contains various child-friendly podcasts. (4 years)

The children’s podcast Kakadu discovers the world together with children and answers exciting questions. (6 years)

Games:

The Unstoppables is a puzzle game in which four friends with different disabilities rescue a dog from the clutches of its kidnapper. (Recommended by Webhelm from 8 years)

In the game Starlink: Battlefor Atlas, the prosthetic arms and legs of the strong character Chase are a matter of course. (USK 6 years)

In SIMS 4 and SIMS Freeplay, characters can freely choose any hobby and profession. When creating Sims, players can decide for themselves what skin color the characters should have and choose between two body shapes (instead of genders). Same-sex and polyamorous relationships are also possible. (USK 6 years, recommended by Spieleratgeber NRW from 10 years)

Serena Supergreen and the broken wing is a game that takes a gender-sensitive approach to technical apprenticeships in the field of renewable energies. (Recommendation from internet-abc from 12 years)

Sibel’s Journey is about dealing with the topics of sexuality, gender, body and boundaries. (Recommended by wirfuervielfalt for ages 12 and up)

In Tell me why, two siblings meet again after 10 years to sell the family estate. The game also represents trans* boys. (USK 12 years)

Media education for siblings

In many families with siblings, there are arguments about media use: the younger ones feel unfairly treated if they are allowed less than the older ones. What some people find exciting, others find boring. Conversely, some media offerings are too much for younger children. The older ones have the feeling that they constantly have to be considerate of their younger siblings. How can parents master the balancing act between the needs of siblings and encourage their children to use media competently?

Making media rules fair

Whether an only child or a sibling – rules on media use in the family give children structure and security for their everyday life with media. The needs and developmental stages of each child should be taken into account. For example, it can make sense to give older siblings more freedom when it comes to media use, while younger children are subject to stricter limits. For example, older children are allowed to take certain devices into their own room, while younger children should only use media in the shared living areas. The times of use must match the age of the children. Younger people should spend less time in front of a screen than older people. Define the rules together and make sure that they are fair and understandable for everyone. For example, a media usage contract that you draw up individually for each child can help. Everyone in the family should adhere to basic media rules such as “no media at the dinner table”.

Accompanying sibling conflicts

“Give me my tablet back now!”, “That’s for babies, I want to listen to something exciting!”, “Why do I have to turn it off when she can still watch?”. Do sentences like this sound familiar? If the age gap is large, different rules apply for each child. This can easily lead to arguments between siblings, whether over access to certain devices or the choice of content. Make the rules clear to your children and help them to put themselves in their sibling’s shoes. For example: “Your big sister wasn’t allowed to watch videos for more than an hour when she was at primary school “. Make sure you recognize conflicts in good time and support them well. This strengthens the relationship between the siblings and they learn to negotiate, compromise and resolve conflicts more and more independently.

Creating shared media experiences

Watching movies or playing games together is fun and creates a bond. Parents should support their children in choosing suitable media content for shared media use. Shared media rituals such as watching a science program on Sunday or listening to music in the car are fun and strengthen family cohesion. Siblings often process media content together and act out scenes from series or immerse themselves in the world of their favorite characters in role-playing games. Siblings can learn a lot from each other, especially when they are creative with media together and design radio plays, stop-motion films or photo collages themselves.

Tips on media use by siblings

  • Avoid excessive demands: Choose age-appropriate media, observe the age ratings and use the youngest child as a guide when using media together.
  • Create safe spaces: Make sure that younger children have limited access to media. Make it clear to the older children that they are jointly responsible and must not give the younger ones unauthorized access.
  • Make agreements: Make sure that the media rules are adhered to in the family. Take the different needs and preferences of your children seriously. Establish fairness and decide together, for example, which child is allowed to decide which media content and when.
  • Find alternatives: one child watches on the TV, the other on the tablet – this can be a solution for different preferences and levels of development. If the younger child’s media time is already over while the older child is still allowed to use media, offer your young child an alternative, media-free playtime.
  • Promote media literacy: Be aware of your role model function by setting a healthy example for your own media use. Have regular open discussions in the family about the advantages and disadvantages of media. In this way, you can help your children to deal with media in a critical and reflective way in line with their age and promote their media skills.

Age-appropriate media for my child

The overwhelming range of films, series, apps and other media presents parents with the challenge of getting an overview in order to select the right content for their children. After all, the selection should not only be age-appropriate, but also entertaining and, ideally, educational. We have put together a few suggestions on where you can find age-appropriate media for your child.

Age-appropriate media – what does that mean?

The choice of media should always be based on your child’s stage of development. Media offerings are tailored to different age groups, and it is important that you as parents pay attention to this. Age recommendations and descriptions of the content can provide helpful information. However, you know your child best, so you can use this as the best basis for determining whether the offer might suit your child.

Verified media content

In descriptions of media offerings – whether apps, films or games – there are sometimes different age specifications. A distinction must be made between recommendations, general terms and conditions and age ratings. Specifications and approvals usually have a legal background. For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that certain apps, such as WhatsApp and TikTok may only be used from the age of 13.

The description in the app stores often contains a different age indication – namely that the app has been approved by the youth media protection authorities. The age ratings issued by self-regulatory bodies such as the FSK or USK rate media according to statutory youth protection criteria. In each case, it is examined whether media content could be dangerous for the development and health of children and adolescents. For example, through the depiction of violence or pornography. Or whether children can be exposed to contact risks through the use of a service. It is not checked whether a plot in a series and characters are understood at a certain age. This means that a Disney movie that is released from the age of “0” is by no means suitable for babies. It just doesn’t pose a risk to them. Access to media for children is to be regulated by means of age labels and technical protection measures. But this only works if you as parents also pay attention.

When it comes to selecting content, age recommendations made by (media) educational institutions, for example, will help you. We look to see whether the content corresponds to the lifeworld of the respective age group and whether it is understandable and appealing.

Suitable media offerings and guidance for parents

The media landscape for children of nursery and primary school age is huge; older children and young people often switch to adult offerings because there are fewer offerings tailored to them.

Here you can find good media offers and information:

  • TV, streaming, YouTube, cinema: The FLIMMO parents’ guide offers educational recommendations by age for films, series and shows from media libraries, streaming services, YouTube and TV channels
  • Children’s search engines: Via fragFINN or Helles Köpfchen, children only surf on tested and child-friendly websites.
  • Websites: A large collection of child-friendly websites is listed and presented on seitenstark.de.
  • Apps: We have put together a selection of “Good apps for children” and “Apps for toddlers
  • Children’s radio and podcasts: We have put together a selection for you “There’s something for your ears“.
  • News: We have put together a selection of “News for children and young people“.
  • Games: The NRW games guide provides detailed profiles of computer games with age recommendations.
  • Online television for 14 to 25-year-olds: funk’s diverse content appeals primarily to older young people.

Tips for your own evaluation of offers

The selection and examination of media offerings requires time and attention. However, by making conscious decisions and communicating openly, you can ensure that your child uses positive and developmentally relevant media content.

  • Content review: Look at the content and consider whether it fits in with your child’s world and understanding.
  • Interaction options: Images, sounds, music and animations should be age-appropriate and appealing.
  • Simple navigation: The service should be easy to use, ideally voice-controlled for younger children and with few symbols and functions.
  • Advertising and in-app purchases: Make sure there is no advertising and preferably an offer without in-app purchases.
  • Parental settings: Familiarize yourself with the setting options for a safe environment and, if necessary, make use of offers from the technical youth media protection service.
  • Feedback from others: Talk to other parents and check whether the offer comes from trustworthy developers or educational institutions.
  • Test run: Look at or test your selection in advance – without your child.

Individual support and communication

Do not rely solely on recommendations, as every child develops differently. Actively accompany your child in their media consumption right from the start in order to understand how they react to certain content.

JUUUPORT – Help for young people with questions about online topics

Whether cyberbullying, computer game addiction or data protection: If young people have problems and questions about the Internet, they can contact the youth scouts and experts from JUUUPORT turn. The website also provides information, links and online seminars.

Advice from experienced young people at eye level

When young people have problems or questions, they sometimes find it difficult to talk to their parents or other adults, especially about sensitive topics such as cyberbullying or sexting. That’s why JUUUPORT has youth scouts who have experienced something similar and can advise other youth. They have undergone special training on Internet topics and in the areas of psychology and law and can be requested anonymously. If they get stuck, the young people’s concerns are passed on to adult experts who then take care of them.

Various contact and information channels

On JUUUPORT, counseling takes place free of charge, anonymously and in compliance with data protection laws. In addition to the contact form on the website, since May 2020 there is also the possibility to get advice via WhatsApp or Telegram chat. Messenger counseling is available Monday through Friday between 6 and 8 p.m.

The JUUUPORT website also contains a wide range of information on Internet topics. In addition to tips on how to deal with cyberbullying, there is a magazine on various topics such as “Trends on the Net” or “Games”. They also provide a collection of links to other places for youth to go.

Online seminars for schools, youth clubs and associations are also offered by JUUUPORT. Topics here include “Hate on the Net” and “WhatsApp Stress.” Perhaps there is a need for a seminar at your child’s school or you would like to draw attention to the offer with information material.

Why not tell your child about JUUUPORT – maybe there are topics he or she would rather not discuss with you, but rather anonymously with other young people. If your child would like to get involved with JUUUPORT themselves and become a scout, they can sign up for training here.

Media education in plain language

When growing up with smartphones, consoles and the like, media education in the family is of crucial importance. Offers in plain language support parents in this important task, using clear and easy-to-understand language. We present some websites.

What is plain language?

Easy language is a simplified form of German that makes information understandable for people with learning difficulties or other impairments. Characteristics are simple words, a clear structure, a limited vocabulary, supporting elements such as pictures and graphics and the avoidance of technical terms. It was developed to break down barriers to communication and ensure that information is easily accessible to a wider population.

Information on media education for different age groups on Elternguide.online

Offers on the subject of media education in plain language enable all parents to obtain the necessary information to accompany their children safely and responsibly in the digital world. Elternguide.online offers clear and easy-to-understand explanations on important aspects of media education for all age groups from 0 to 17 years. The topics range from dealing with screen time and selecting age-appropriate content to internet safety. You can find the Parents’ Guide.onlne website in plain language here: https://elternguide.online/leichte-sprache

Dealing with social media and co on Webhelm

Webhelm is a project of the JFF – Institut für Medienpädagogik in Forschung und Praxis e. V. and offers articles and information material for educational professionals and parents so that they can support children and young people in dealing competently with online media. Texts on the subject of media and media education can be downloaded from the website. The topics range from data protection to online bullying and social media. Webhelm also offers descriptions of various platforms such as Instagram, Twitch and TikTok. You can find the Webhelm website in plain language here: https://webhelm.de/leichte-sprache/

Support services for children and parents

Problematic or illegal content on the Internet, such as child pornography, hate speech or extremist posts, often violate youth media protection laws. It is therefore important that users report such content. Either via the platform itself or with complaints bodies such as the Voluntary Self-Regulation of Multimedia Service Providers. The FSM complaints office in plain language can be found here: https://www.fsm.de/leichte-sprache/beschwerdestelle/

Whether it’s online bullying, excessive gaming or constant arguments about screen time – media use by children and young people can pose major challenges for all family members. Sometimes it is good to seek professional help. A large number of advice centers are available on the Internet. You can find the counseling services offered by Nummer gegen Kummer for children, young people and parents in plain language here: https://www.nummergegenkummer.de/leichte-sprache/

Security settings

The website medien-kindersicher.de provides information on technical youth media protection and gives parents instructions on how to set devices, services and apps to be childproof. You can find the instructions in plain language here: https://www.medien-kindersicher.de/leichte-sprache/startseite-medien-kindersicherde

Children’s rights in the digital world

Children have rights that have been enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1989. These include the right to health and the right to play and leisure. But a lot has changed since then. The rapid development of digital media and technologies has significantly changed the way children grow up. Digital media play an important role from an early age. We explain the key aspects of children’s rights in the digital world.

Understanding the digital world and children’s rights

The digital world encompasses various digital technologies, from the internet and mobile devices to online games and social media. All children’s rights apply everywhere. Some rights play a special role:

Right of access to media

Every child has the right to unrestricted and equal access to the digital world. However, this does not mean that children should use media without restriction. Depending on your child’s age and stage of development, you as parents can agree rules with your child on how long and which media may be used.

Right to freedom of expression and information

Like adults, children also have the right to freely express their opinions and obtain information. The Internet offers children the opportunity to obtain age-appropriate information in a variety of ways and to express and disseminate their own opinions. Make sure your child only accesses websites that are safe and suitable for children.

Right to privacy and data protection

Every child has the right to privacy. As parents, you should therefore be aware of and considerate of your child’s personal rights on the Internet. Avoid disclosing personal data such as your child’s name or address. Ask your child for permission before you post photos of them online or send them via Messenger. Respecting your child’s privacy also means not checking your child’s smartphone out of curiosity. If you are concerned about your child, seek a trusting conversation with him or her.

Right to leisure and play

Digital media offer children a wide range of opportunities to express themselves creatively, learn and network with their peers. Encourage your child to explore age-appropriate platforms such as the Knipsclub photo community and digital play worlds. Ensure a good balance with other activities. Encouraging creative play in the digital world allows your child to develop their imagination.

Right to education and media literacy

Every child has the right to equal access to education. With regard to the digitalized world, support from the family, nursery and school is important so that children learn to deal safely and responsibly with the opportunities and risks in the media world. Today, the right to media access is also always a right to access educational media offerings such as playful learning sites.

Right to protection and security

Children’s rights focus on the best interests of the child. Children must be protected from all forms of violence, abuse and poor treatment (such as cyberbullying, cybergrooming and hate speech) in all areas of life, including the digital sphere. Special youth protection programs can help to minimize risks. Talk to your child about security risks and problematic content on the internet to empower them to protect themselves.

Right of association and assembly

Children have the right to network online with their peers, share common interests and form digital communities. Parents should encourage their children to use online platforms such as the helpando help site or participation platforms that are designed to be age-appropriate, safety-conscious and promote positive interactions. This allows children to cultivate digital friendships and develop important social skills for life in an increasingly networked world – always aware of the challenges and opportunities that the digital environment offers.

This is what parents should pay attention to

Talk to your child about their rights. The family plays an important role for children’s rights in the digital space. As parents, you have the task of enabling your child to grow up well. This also includes teaching them basic media skills and values. Therefore, find out about your child’s media use, stay in contact and make (joint) decisions that are appropriate for your child’s age and development. Cooperative cooperation and a respectful and trusting relationship are the basic prerequisites for your child to turn to you as a contact person in the event of problems. Children need to know their rights. Only then can they claim them for themselves and stand up for them. Incidentally, your importance as parents for the development and well-being of your child is also expressly emphasized in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Further information on children’s rights can be found in a child-friendly format on Kindersache and at Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk .

TIGERBOX TOUCH – Audio streaming in the children’s room

The tigerbox TOUCH wants to offer “unlimited streaming variety” – that’s what the provider’s website says. Like other Audio boxes It is also a modern and popular alternative to cassette recorders and CD players.

In a nutshell:

  • for children from 3-12 years (according to the manufacturer)
  • handy and robust listening box with bamboo case and touchpad
  • simple operation with large buttons
  • Music and stories playable via the tigertones app or using cards
  • Parental area with features like parental controls and child profiles

What is the tigerbox TOUCH?

The best way to describe the tigerbox TOUCH is as a square Bluetooth listening box with a bamboo casing that is supposed to provide particularly good sound. The large buttons and simple touch display of the tigerbox TOUCH make it child’s play to operate. There is also a light bar that responds to music and sound and a night light. If not everyone is supposed to listen in, headphones can also be connected.

In order for your child to listen to something from the multitude of songs and stories, there are two ways: paid access to the tigertones media library via app or the use of individual cards. Depending on your subscription, the tigertones app gives you access to more than 15,000 titles such as radio plays and children’s songs. After downloading the app and connecting the tigerbox TOUCH to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, your child can listen to stories from popular characters such as Benjamin Blümchen or the Olchis within a range of up to 10 meters. Alternatively, you can buy individual tigercards that play audio games or music after being plugged into the box. The wildcards allow playing self-recorded voice messages or mp3 files. The whole thing also works offline if you download individual audio plays in the app or by playing content via a card with the box.

What excites children and adults about the tigerbox TOUCH?

The simple and practical operation of the box with the cards or via the touch display as well as the large selection of audio material suitable for children makes the tigerbox TOUCH interesting for children. Individual profiles with age information and favorite characters enable age-appropriate use of the box. You can set functions such as the parental lock, sleep timer or maximum usage time via the parent area. This way you can control what your child hears and when. Playing the wildcards yourself invites you to record creative audio stories with your own child.

For the purchase of a tigerbox TOUCH you currently pay about 100,00 €, which is comparable to other listening boxes for children.

What does the provider say?

The tigerbox TOUCH is described as “The smart audio system for the kids’ room and on the go”. According to the manufacturer Tiger Media Deutschland, the difference to conventional Bluetooth speakers is that the tigerbox TOUCH was developed by experts in children’s media with children’s needs in mind. In addition to the ease of use, the carrying strap as well as the bamboo case guarantees the sturdiness of the box (also for traveling). Content is also provided via the ad-free and child-safe app tigertones.

What should you look out for as a parent?

The tigerbox TOUCH is especially exciting for older children with the wide selection of titles. Use the parents’ area and make sure that your child can only access content that is approved for his or her age. Note that for the premium account of the tigertones app– i.e. full access to all content – you need to sign up for a paid subscription starting at 6.99€ per month. With the operation via the cards, even younger children can enjoy childlike listening pleasure. The tigercards and wildcards are available from 5,99€ per piece. Stiftung Warentest has tested various listening boxes and points out that the playback volume is often too high for children, especially in conjunction with headphones. Use decibel-limited headphones or do without headphones and explain to your child how to turn down the listening box. How about getting creative together with your child, and record your own audio stories? Then playing via the device is twice as fun.

True Crime – entertainment and excitement through real criminal cases

Whether it’s a podcast, book, magazine, series or movie – true crime and true crime cases are all the rage right now. The “true crime” genre is also exciting for young people. But where does the fascination come from and what should you pay attention to as a parent?

What is True Crime?

True Crime is not a fictional story, but a retelling of real criminal cases. The crimes described, often missing persons or homicide cases, are often unusual or have received special media attention because the legal decision was controversial. The fact that the cases actually happened makes them seem authentic in the eyes of the viewers. The criminal cases are told in very different ways: There are documentaries that portray the cases rather factually and close to reality. Other representations look like a movie – in them scenes are re-enacted or details are invented to make the stories even more interesting.

For users, the excitement lies above all in being “there” when a true crime is solved or explained. Real people did these things for specific reasons, and you want to know more about the motives for the act and the closer circumstances. In most cases, investigators or relatives of the victims also have their say and describe what happened from their perspective.

What fascinates young people about it?

Telling exciting and, above all, real stories triggers thrills in many people. Putting themselves in the victim’s shoes, fathoming the motives of perpetrators, puzzling along and interpreting deeds – children and young people are attracted to reliving real criminal cases. Especially for young people, the study of the human psyche and personality development is interesting. Also attracting the penchant for the “forbidden” and unusual of these stories. When children reach puberty, they want to test their limits. This also includes watching or listening to things that are not actually suitable for their age because they can be stressful or frightening. While many older children and adolescents experience true-crime stories as entertaining and, for example, use “their” crime podcast during long train rides or while cleaning their rooms, younger children are often overwhelmed by the crime cases narrated.

What’s problematic about true crime?

The popularity of the genre means that there is an ever-increasing supply. Young people who particularly like the format may watch little other content. This can narrow their view of the world, which seems to be nothing but bleak and violent.

The depiction of real acts of violence can make children and young people afraid of becoming victims of crime themselves. Young people are particularly affected by scenes that they can identify with, such as violence against children or stories about relationships in families and partnerships. Younger people in particular often fail to recognize that a crime occurred many years ago or that a depiction is deliberately exaggerated to create suspense.

Not every series or podcast is equally carefully researched. Stories are circulating that may not have happened that way. In part, reality is distorted or simplified because it would be too costly and uninteresting to depict the real processes of a case with lengthy court hearings, interviews, etc.

Often, the perpetrator or the perpetrator is the focus of a true crime story. This can lead to viewers being fascinated by that person, which in turn can trivialize the acts themselves and diminish compassion for the victims.

The handling of gender roles within the genre should also be viewed critically. In many stories, the victims are female. Women are often portrayed as powerless and defenseless rather than empowered and strong.

What should parents pay attention to?

Every story told touches children and young people differently. There are elements in true-crime stories that can overwhelm, unsettle, or frighten young people. Therefore, you should make sure that the true-crime show or podcast is also approved or recommended for your child’s age. Keep an eye on what your child is looking at and seek conversation.

Educate your child about the fact that not all true-crime formats are fact-based and how to verify their truthfulness – especially when it comes to trash TV shows. Ask what fascinates your child about True Crime. Whether the focus is on thrills, guesswork, or interest in investigative work: Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is True Crime, real crimes that have caused real suffering.

Read more: The project “True.Crime.Story” by Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen e. V. (FSF) and the JFF – Institut für Medienpädagogik (Institute for Media Education) investigated how young people view true-crime formats. Videos with voices of the interviewed young people and a report can be found on the website of Medienradar.

The “I write in block letters” learning app

“Dad, how do you spell “sister”?” – many children around preschool age are inquisitive when it comes to learning to write. The first attempts with a piece of paper and pen can sometimes be frustrating. It takes a bit of practice until all the letters are clearly recognizable and your child finds his or her own print writing. The learning app I write in block letters want to help with this.

In a nutshell:

  • Lernapp for Android and iOS
  • Full version available in the Play Store for €4.99 and in the App Store for €5.99
  • Age recommendation from 4 years
  • available in different languages

What can I write in print?

I write in print is a learning app for children to learn how to write and read print. There are five different categories. The simplest category is about tracing simple symbols. Basically, in each category, your child will be shown how to move their finger. If it has done its task well, it is rewarded with small funny animations that it can influence a little itself. The next categories are similar in structure and include the alphabet in upper and lower case letters and the numbers from zero to nine. Different fonts are available, for example Germany (North), Germany (Bavaria) or German Switzerland.

In addition, your child is always told which letter or number is currently visible via audio playback. The last category then involves writing whole words. This is where the special functions of I write in print come into their own, because you can configure many things yourself in the app. You can add as many words as you like to the already given words. You can also record the corresponding audio playbacks yourself. Also, the app supports different user accounts, so multiple children can use the app at the same time. I write in print even saves all the children’s input – so you can see in reports what tasks your child does, how accurate they were and if there are any possible sources of error.

What fascinates children about the offer?

At the latest when your child comes into contact with older children, e.g. with older siblings who can already write, the desire arises in many to be able to handle pen and paper themselves. The learning app gives playful practice in writing and reading print, which the children often enjoy very much. The “5 star mode” with increasing difficulty motivates children to become better and better and to receive a star as a reward for each successful attempt.

What can be problematic about the offer?

The app is recommended for ages four and up, but writing and reading are actually taught in elementary school. Children who already have skills by then tend to be bored frequently in class. However, it is a good sign if your child is enthusiastic about learning and wants to learn to write.

What does the provider think?

The app developer L’Escapadou claims not to store user data outside the app. The app is ad-free and offers a variety of settings to adjust the learning app to the child’s learning progress. For example, the appearance, sounds, animations and speeds of the tasks can be customized. In the “5-star mode”, the difficulty level can be changed. A parental lock ensures that the child stays on task. The game time limit shortens the game with the animations per task to a few seconds or minutes. A PDF can be created from the tasks and printed out to practice writing with pen and paper as well.

What should parents pay attention to?

If your inquisitive child already feels the desire to learn to read and write before starting school, you should be positive about it and support him or her. I write in print is a child-friendly program that introduces children to writing in a playful way. However, some parents tend to expect too much from their children too soon. Your child does not need to be able to read and write before school! After all, that’s what school is for.

When your child goes to school, the app can be a good companion to the lessons. Writing on the tablet or smartphone with your finger is fun for kids. At the latest in school, it must learn to write with a pen. If your child is advanced, use a tablet pen or create individual worksheets from the app so your child can practice with the writing device in parallel.

In any case, accompany your child during the first steps and be available for questions.

Your child’s privacy on the net

Sharing children’s photos online, chatting in Minecraft or setting up the first smartphone – in everyday family life with media, there are many points of contact with the topic of privacy. But what exactly does privacy mean? And what can parents do to adequately protect their child’s privacy on the Internet? That’s what this article is about.

Personal shelter

When we talk about privacy, we mean the personal space in a person’s life. That’s the part that’s around us where we can do things privately. In the realm of privacy, we can live our lives the way we want without it being anyone else’s business.

Privacy on the Internet

While we protect ourselves from prying eyes at home with curtains, there are other things we need to watch out for in the digital world. Maintaining privacy on the Internet specifically means protecting personal information and activities online. This includes personal data such as name, age, address and other private details. This starts even before birth with the sharing of ultrasound pictures, continues with the use of baby monitor apps and ends with smart toys in the nursery. As soon as your child is consciously on the Internet, you should discuss the topic of privacy on the Internet with him or her and explain to your child how to handle private information and online activities prudently. Make it clear to your child that he or she should not share personal details with strangers. Educate your child about scamming online. Make them aware of how they can recognize subscription traps, fake sweepstakes and the like in order to prevent the criminal misuse of their own data.

Smartphone settings for more protection

By the time they move on to secondary school at the latest, many children receive their first smartphone of their own. Depending on which phone your child has (Apple or Android), there are ways to set certain settings for apps to protect privacy:

  • Check the privacy settings of the smartphone together with your child.
  • Data economy contributes significantly to the improvement of privacy. Look together at what permissions the apps have and reflect on whether those accesses are necessary. Restrict access to individual rights, for example, location or contacts.
  • When your child was last online is not necessarily anyone’s business. Messengers like WhatsApp offer such a function. You can set WhatsApp settings to not show this information.
  • To prevent unauthorized access to one’s data, it is important to set up strong passwords for accounts and the cell phone. You can find out everything you need to know in our article “Safe is Safe: Passwords on the Net“.

Your child’s social life online

In today’s connected world, it is very important to protect your child’s privacy, especially when using social media platforms:

  • Set profiles on social media platforms so that only friends can see personal information.
  • Talk to your child about the potential risks of sharing private information.

Solutions for technical youth media protection such as parental control programs or the accompanied mode on TikTok are one way to increase your child’s safety when using media. However, they do not replace your responsible role in media education. An open conversation between you as parents and your child about what they are experiencing online is very important to help them navigate the web safely and responsibly.

Audio boxes: Square, practical, good!?

A life without Benjamin Blümchen, My Friend Connie and the Grüffelo is unthinkable, especially for younger children. You probably remember your own favorite cassettes or radio play CDs from your childhood. As a modern variant of the classic listening media, there are nowadays so-called listening boxes. But what exactly can Tonie, Tigerbox and Co. actually do?

What are audio boxes?

Listening boxes, also called music boxes, are available from various suppliers. Depending on the manufacturer, the prices differ, but are mostly under 100, – €. When you buy a box, stories are often included. However, if you want more audio stories or songs for your child, there may be subsequent costs.

The boxes all work on a similar principle: they are child-friendly and usually designed like a cube. Above all, they are easy to use. Colorful pens or figurines in the form of animals that you plug into the audio box, or connect via Bluetooth, can play all kinds of stories. You can also get creative yourself and record (your own) stories.

What benefits does the listening box offer my child?

Listening boxes are specially designed to meet the needs and motor skills of younger children and are designed not to break quickly. The few functions are easy to perform, so your child can operate the box independently. Selecting and starting stories themselves, pausing, stopping or exchanging them as needed – the young users can do all this on their own. Children as young as about two years old can operate the devices intuitively. This can boost your child’s self-confidence.

Some boxes offer the possibility to set a time limit. This will help your child stick to agreed upon listening times.

Audio boxes can be used to play audio games and music, whether for entertainment or to learn new things. If the stories are stored on animal figures or similar, these figures can also be used as toys.

As a parent, what should you be aware of?

Find out about the different listening boxes to decide which one is right for your child. What is the right shape? Are the stories stored on some kind of USB stick or does the box always have to be connected to the Internet? How much do new stories cost?

Research what age the stories you want to listen to with the box are appropriate for. Since your child can also use the listening box on his or her own, an age-appropriate selection is especially important. Also inquire about the data protection of the respective box: What private data is collected? How is the personal information of the users protected?

We present the most popular boxes in more detail on the Parents’ Guide: Tigerbox, Toniebox and Hörbert.

An audio box does not replace the togetherness of your own reading aloud: Regularly take the time to read to your child from their favorite book or listen to the audio stories from the box together.

On Air: Children’s radio provides entertainment, information and fun

Many children make their first media experiences through audio media – whether audio books before bedtime, music in the nursery or children’s radio during the car ride. The selection is huge and the playback devices have long since gone beyond cassette recorders and CD players. People are increasingly listening via mobile devices, voice assistants and listening boxes.

Audio media offer many advantages, especially for young children. They can be used as a sideline medium for playing and painting, but can also be used for relaxation. In addition, turning on the children’s program at a fixed time can be a nice ritual that gives your child security and routine.

Listening to the radio is also possible digitally

Traditional radio has evolved its distribution channels and offers a range of content suitable for children. There are special children’s radio stations and also radio stations with children’s programming that can be used both via conventional channels and via the associated website (livestream via web radio) or via app.

Regular podcasts and themed specials from children’s radio stations have the advantage that they pick up on current events and phenomena and explain them in a way that is suitable for children. The child’s perspective is taken into account and content that concerns and interests your child is discussed. Auch die Möglichkeit zum Mitmachen und des Meinungsaustausches in Form von Höreranrufen ist bei einigen Radiosendern für Kinder gegeben, wie bei Kakadu oder Radio TEDDY.

So next time you’re driving, turn on the children’s radio station or listen to a streaming children’s podcast while you’re doing housework together. We adults often learn something in the process 🙂

Other recommended radio programs for children:

Audio play fun with the Toniebox

A “treasure chest for audio play experiences” – that’s how the provider itself describes its Toniebox. As a contemporary alternative to cassette recorders and CD players, listening boxes can already be found in many children’s rooms. Why is the colorful box so popular and how exactly does it actually work?

In brief

  • robust radio play box with simple operation
  • from 3 years
  • a variety of game characters with audio books, audio games, music and knowledge content available for purchase
  • No permanent WLAN connection necessary
  • Parents need a Toniecloud account
  • expensive purchase

What is a Toniebox?

Square, practical and easy to use – that’s how you can describe the Toniebox. This is a monochrome cube that can be used to play audio books by simply placing various figures on it. The play figures, called Tonies, are available in two versions. The Tonies in the design of well-known children’s characters can be used immediately. Countless contents can be played via them. The Kreativ-Tonie, in turn, can be recorded with your own recordings via an app.

The padded cube can be easily operated by children themselves: A chapter can be jumped forward by a slap on the left side. Fast forward and rewind by tilting the box slightly. On each box there are also two rubber ears, through which the volume is adjusted.

Before the Toniebox can be used for the first time, you have to set it up. A WLAN connection is required for this. You also need a smartphone, tablet or PC. To set up the box, you create a free customer account in the Toniecloud. Once the Toniebox is set up, you can put the character on the box and play it.

What excites children and adults about the box?

The Toniebox impresses above all with its simple design and easy operation, making it easy for children to use on their own. In addition, many different characters are available for both the general Tonies and the Creative Tonies: Benjamin Blümchen, The Mouse, Knight or Rockstar – depending on the child’s preference. The range of different stories and content available for the Toniebox also impresses many parents. Once the audio stories are fully loaded in the cloud, they can be listened to anywhere even without WLAN.

What does the provider say?

According to the company, the Toniebox is made of high-quality and robust material, which is why children can use it without any problems. But the box should also be easy for parents to operate: For example, the maximum volume can also be controlled via the Toniecloud. The Toniebox is suitable for children from the age of three.

If you use the option of a creative Tonie, your own sound recordings are stored in the Toniecloud. However, these can also be deleted again. When closing the entire Toniecloud customer account, all uploaded data is also deleted.

What should you look out for as a parent?

The cost factor of the Toniebox is not entirely insignificant: the starter set with one creative Tonie currently costs €79.95, and each additional Tonie (€14.99) or creative Tonie (€11.99) must be purchased separately. However, compared to the hörbert listening box, it is a cheaper alternative.

The creative tonies offer a lot of space for creativity. Why not record a story or song together with your child? Very creative people can also produce their own radio play and listen to it together later. As parents, you should always keep in mind that it is the shared media experience that counts and that you should especially accompany young children in their first media-related steps.

TikTok – the hot short video app

TikTok gehört noch immer zu den beliebtesten Apps unter Jugendlichen. Sie ist eine Plattform für kreative Kurzvideos aller Art.

In brief

  • kostenlose Social-Media-App
  • unter Teenagern eine der beliebtesten Apps weltweit
  • Mindestalter: 13 Jahre (mit Einverständnis der Eltern)
  • „Für dich“-Feed mit Videos, die der Algorithmus empfiehlt und „Folge ich“-Feed mit Videos von abonnierten Profilen
  • Herausforderungen: problematische Inhalte, Kommunikationsrisiken, Werbung
  • Spezielle Sicherheitsfeatures für Minderjährige

What is TikTok?

TikTok ist Social-Media-Plattform und Video-App in einem: Userinnen und User können bei TikTok aus einer bunten Sammlung von bekannten Popsongs, beliebten Audios und Zitaten, z. B. aus Filmen, wählen. Dazu „singen“ oder „sprechen“ sie Playback und filmen ihre Choreografie innerhalb der App mit dem Smartphone. Aber auch komplett selbst kreierte Kurzvideos werden umgesetzt. Die meisten Videos sind ein paar Sekunden bis wenige Minuten lang. Bestimmte Clips lösen einen richtigen Hype aus, werden nachgeahmt oder im Sinne eines Trends oder einer Challenge weitergeführt.

Die Videos der TikTokerinnen und TikToker, deren Account öffentlich ist, lassen sich über einen Browser anschauen, ohne dass man bei der App angemeldet sein muss. Um selbst Videos zu erstellen, wird allerdings ein Account benötigt.

TikTok bringt immer mehr Funktionen heraus, z. B. sich im Duett mit anderen Usern filmen, die Clips anderer weiterführen (Stitch) oder Livestreams. Auch Unternehmen nutzen die Plattform, um darüber zu werben.

What excites children and young people about the offer?

Jugendliche nutzen TikTok gern zum Spaß und für den Austausch untereinander. Auf TikTok lassen sich die jungen Nutzenden unterhalten, suchen nach Vorbildern, an denen sie sich orientieren können, stellen sich selbst dar und erhoffen sich positive Rückmeldung von anderen.

TikTok ist außerdem eine tolle Plattform, um die eigene Kreativität auszuleben. Die Hürde, ein eigenes Video zu erstellen und zu teilen, ist niedrig: In der App gibt es viele Videoeffekte und eine Musikbibliothek mit beliebten Songs, die sofort verwendet werden können.

Kinder und Jugendliche schätzen an TikTok, dass es darin weniger um Perfektion und Professionalität geht, wie auf Instagram oder YouTube, sondern Kreativität und Spaß im Vordergrund stehen. Die Videos sind näher am Alltag und die TikTokerinnen und TikToker werden als nahbarer empfunden.

Was kann problematisch sein an TikTok?

There are a number of things you and your child should consider before using the app:

  • Kinder (ab 13 Jahren) brauchen für die Anmeldung das Einverständnis der Eltern. Das Alter wird bei der Registrierung aber nicht überprüft. Auch viele jüngere Kinder nutzen deshalb TikTok.
  • Vor allem Kinder und jüngere Jugendliche können auf TikTok wie auf anderen Social-Media-Angeboten auf Inhalte stoßen, die nicht altersgerecht und ggf. sogar problematisch sein können: Gefährliche Inhalte, Hate Speech, Desinformation und manipulative Inhalte zur politischen Meinungsmache wie Kriegs-Videos und Propaganda, Verschwörungsmythen und Fake-Videos und vieles mehr.
  • Auch Kommunikationsrisiken von Cybermobbing bis zu Cybergrooming können auf TikTok Thema werden, vor allem wenn Ihr Kind selbst Videos auf TikTok teilt und die Jugendschutzeinstellungen für Minderjährige nicht genutzt werden.
  • TikTok löscht Beiträge und Gruppen, wenn diese gegen die Community-Regeln verstoßen. Nicht alle Beiträge können aber immer sofort blockiert werden.
  • Die Nutzenden haben keine Rechte an den Song- oder Filmausschnitten. Die erstellten Videos sollten deshalb nicht außerhalb der App geteilt werden, da sie sonst gegen die Bild- und Urheberrechte verstoßen. Sind andere Personen im Video zu sehen, müssen sie immer um Erlaubnis gefragt werden. TikTok erhält außerdem die Rechte an den veröffentlichten Videos.
  • TikTok finanziert sich über Werbung. Die Anzeigen im Videoformat sind von den Kurzclips der Userinnen und User kaum zu unterscheiden.
  • Auf TikTok geht es nicht nur um Unterhaltung, sondern manche verdienen mit der App Geld. Userinnen und User ab 18 Jahren können einander virtuelle Geschenke wie Emojis schicken, echtes Geld an Livestreamerinnen und Livestreamer senden und vieles mehr.
  • Manche Challenges, die in sozialen Netzwerken kursieren, können gefährlich werden oder befördern problematische Verhaltensweisen wie etwa Essstörungen
  • Einige Funktionen und Inhalte auf TikTok verzerren stark die Realität wie zum Beispiel der „Teenage-Filter“.DerAugmented-Reality-Filter macht aus jedem Gesicht ein perfekt geschminktes, junges „Idealbild“. Solche Clips vermitteln überzogene Schönheitsideale, regen zu ungesunden Vergleichen an und sind für junge Nutzende schwer durchschaubar.
  • TikTok steht immer wieder wegen seines intransparenten Umgangs mit persönlichen Daten der Nutzenden in der Kritik. So wurde im Juni 2023 bekannt, dass TikTok entgegen eigener Behauptungen Daten von Nutzenden aus den USA und Europa in China speichert.

What does the provider say?

TikTok ist sich der Gefahr von verstörenden und unerwünschten Inhalten bewusst und passt seine Sicherheitseinstellungen immer wieder an. Folgende Sicherheitsfeatures stehen Jugendlichen und Ihnen als Eltern zur Verfügung:

  • Der Begleitete Modus ermöglicht es Eltern, bestimmte Einstellungen für ein Familienmitglied vorzunehmen. Beispielsweise können Eltern angeben, wer ihrem Kind Nachrichten schicken und wie lange es Videos schauen darf. Eltern können den Inhaltsfilter nutzen und ihr Kind vor Inhalten schützen, die sie für ungeeignet halten.
  • Konten von 13- bis 15-Jährigen werden automatisch auf “privat” gestellt. Die Videos dieser Nutzergruppe dürfen gar nicht oder höchstens von Freundinnen und Freunden kommentiert werden. Ihre Videos dürfen außerdem nicht heruntergeladen werden.
  • 13- bis 17-Jährige werden vor bestimmten Inhalten geschützt, die eher für Erwachsene gedacht sind oder komplexere Themen behandeln.
  • Es wurde das Mindestalter von 16 Jahren für das Versenden von Direktnachrichten festgelegt.
  • Duette und Stitches sind mit den Videos von unter 16-Jährigen nicht möglich, ebenso wie Livestreams. Die Downloadfunktion ihrer Videos ist ausgeschaltet, kann aber aktiviert werden.

Generell lassen sich Accounts melden und/oder blockieren und es gibt einen Filter für beleidigende Kommentare.

In der App wird nach der Registrierung durch einen roten Punkt auf die Einstellungen verwiesen. Im Sicherheitszentrum der TikTok-Website können Eltern Tipps nachlesen.

Personen, die selbst TikToks erstellen und veröffentlichen, können seit einiger Zeit „Alle Kommentare filtern“ und einzeln freigeben. Wer die TikToks anderer kommentieren möchten, wird vorher gefragt, ob dieser Kommentar auch wirklich veröffentlicht werden soll. Außerdem gibt es einen Hinweis auf die Community-Richtlinien, die unangemessene Sprache und Hate Speech verbieten.

TikTok steht wegen seiner Moderationsregeln in der Kritik, denn offenbar wird durch den speziellen Algorithmus stark kontrolliert, welche Videos die Nutzenden sehen können. Auf diese Kritik hat TikTok reagiert. Nutzende haben mittlerweile mehr Optionen, Einfluss auf die vom TikTok-Algorithmus angezeigten Inhalte in ihrem Feed zu nehmen:

Sie können Videos nun mit „nicht interessiert“ markieren oder konkrete Inhalte mit bestimmten Hashtags oder Wörtern automatisch herausfiltern. Seit März 2023 stellt TikTok eine Neustart-Option für den Für-Dich-Feed zur Verfügung. Wer findet, dass die vorgeschlagenen Videos sich wiederholen oder nicht mehr zu den Interessen passen, kann den Feed zurücksetzen und nutzt die App wie nach der erstmaligen Anmeldung. Trotz dieser Maßnahmen bleibt der Für-Dich-Feed Algorithmus-gesteuert und bleibt somit nach wie vor in der Hand des Anbieters. So filtert TikTok zum Beispiel immer wieder Videos von Menschen mit Beeinträchtigungen heraus und je nach Nutzungs-Land kann es sein, dass die Videos der Zensur ihrer dortigen Regierungen unterliegen.

What should parents pay attention to?

Wenn Ihr Kind sich bei TikTok anmelden möchte, fragen Sie nach seiner Motivation. Sehen Sie sich vor dem Download gemeinsam die Nutzungsbedingungen an. Bei Handysektor finden Sie diese in einem kurzen Überblick. Um TikTok zu erkunden, ist es nicht notwendig, einen Account zu erstellen. Vielleicht ist das Surfen auf TikTok via Browser für den Anfang eine gute Option für Ihr Kind, um herauszufinden, ob ihm TikTok überhaupt gefällt.

Wenn es irgendwann einen Account geben soll, richten Sie diesen gemeinsam ein und probieren Sie zusammen die ersten Schritte aus. Geben Sie das richtige Geburtsjahr an. Für 13- bis 17-Jährige greifen gewisse Sicherheitsfeatures, die den Jugendschutz erhöhen. Eine Anleitung zu kindersicheren Einstellungen TikTok finden Sie auf medien-kindersicher.de.

Sprechen Sie mit Ihrem Kind über die möglichen Gefahren. Besonders wichtig ist, auf die Privatsphäre zu achten und in den Videos nicht zu viel von sich preiszugeben. Im privaten Modus ist mehr Kontrolle möglich. So ist die Kommunikation nur mit Freundinnen und Freunden möglich und Ihr Kind behält den Überblick darüber, wer die Videos sehen kann.

Versichern Sie Ihrem Kind, dass es sich jederzeit an Sie wenden kann, sollte es Beleidigungen erhalten oder belästigt werden. Zeigen Sie ihm außerdem, wie man unangemessene Inhalte blockieren und melden kann. Mehr Informationen dazu bietet der Leitfaden für Eltern von TikTok in Zusammenarbeit mit der FSM.

Um die eigene Privatsphäre und die von anderen besser zu schützen, muss bei einem Video nicht unbedingt immer das Gesicht zu sehen sein. Mit Hilfe von Emoji-Stickern oder anderen kreativen Lösungen ist das möglich.

Girls and media

From the ice queen via Bibi and Tina directly into the living room of beauty influencers. If you look at what’s on offer in our media, it quickly becomes clear what girls like – or should like. From the first (pink) game phone to the Netflix -The content offered to young people is often heavily trimmed to gender stereotypes and leaves little room for nuances. But is that really what girls like? And how can you, as a parent, appropriately shape your daughter’s journey through the pink and light blue world of media?

When is a girl a girl?

XX or XY: Our gender is the first drawer we are usually put into before we are born. For many people, the sex they are assigned according to chromosome and primary sex organs fits. But not for everyone. Some, for example, are non-binary or trans. And even those who feel comfortable as girls or boys do not automatically want to be associated with all stereotypes. For parents and educators, therefore, the following applies regardless of media use: taking a close look and keeping an open mind are important in order to see and accompany children individually. That’s why we use the asterisk to girls* in this text – to show that every form of gender identity is meant.

More information on the topic of queerness can be found in the book “Was ist eigentlich dieses LGTBQI*?” (What is this LGTBQI*? ), which is suitable for children, and at Kindersache from the German Children ‘s Fund (DKHW), as well as at the Queer Lexicon.

Which media do girls* like?

When girls* and boys* begin to move in media worlds, gender seems to take on even more weight than it already does. Most children are interested in audio games and videos in kindergarten, discover the Internet during elementary school, and then also want a smartphone. In terms of content, however, girls* and boys* often move in two worlds. This is because girls* are specifically addressed differently by marketing than boys* and there are not many alternative offers. For example, girls* often use services that appear to be tailored to their gender identity. They watch Barbie and horse videos, read fairy stories, and later are more likely to watch casting shows or admire beauty influencers like Bibi .

The image that young girls* are presented with of the world is often colored by stereotypes and simplifications: Girls* naturally love pink, are interested in fashion and makeup, are portrayed as needy and are bad at math. Some girls* seem to love these very clichés (at least at times) – others may find it hard to find alternatives or bow to peer pressure in kindergarten and school.

And now? How can parents accompany girls* in their media use?

Of course, not all alarm bells have to ring immediately if your daughter likes Arielle or Gabby’s Dollhouse. Female characters of all varieties are a way for young people to express their own identity. They use stereotypical figures to test their own gender images – and possibly even consciously distance themselves from them. At the same time, too many such identification figures can also lead to stereotypes becoming fixed in the mind and prevent children from forming their own independent gender identity. Therefore, look closely and observe how your child talks about the media content.

As parents, you are important companions on the path of individual development. You serve as role models yourself – in the way you live your own gender identity, but also through your media use. Reflect on how you yourself talk about girls* and boys* and reflect together with your daughter* on the images of girls in the media. Be an*open conversationalist with whom your daughter* can discuss preferences, questions, and even stereotypes. Offer alternative (media) opportunities for your child to try content that has a different focus.

If you are open to your child’s topics, questions and interests and you accompany him or her in a loving and non-judgmental way, you will help your child the most. Because this way, young girls* can search for and live their own identity without fear.

Project partners
Supporter