Elternguide Logo

Games, Games, Games

Computer games are a topic in many families and often a cause for conflict. On Elternguide.online there are lots of articles where you can get suggestions for dealing with games in the family. A small selection:

Parents ask – we answer: What should I watch out for when my son plays video games?

Children and young people love to play games – including computer and online games. Media educator Fabian Wörz explains in a video what needs to be considered.

_%_Aktivieren Sie JavaScript um das Video zu sehen.

“Just this one more round!” – Games in the family

Here you will find collected tips for dealing with computer games in your family. The article is available for reading and as an audio file.

“But mom, that game isn’t bad at all!” – Age restrictions for games

Which game is suitable for my child? In this article, you will learn the background of age restrictions and what else you should look for when choosing games.

When the circle of friends consists of avatars – communication in online games

Computer games are a very communicative activity because gamers often meet online to play. Of course, this also entails risks. You can read more about it in this article.

© photothek.net

My child wants a game console – now what?

When not playing via cell phone or computer, a game console comes into play. It’s at the top of many wish lists. Read our article on game consoles here.

Improve skills with online gaming

More and more people are becoming aware that computer games have many positive effects. You can read more about this in our article.

This is only a small selection of contributions to the topic. On our site you will also find descriptions of the most popular computer and mobile games among children and young people, such as Minecraft, Brawl Stars and Fortnite, explanations of gaming platforms such as Twitch and Steam, articles on dangers such as violence in games, extremist speeches on gaming forums or computer game addiction and much more.

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.

Virtual parents’ evening on 5/31/2023 from 5 to 6 p.m.

Play, but safely! What parents should keep in mind when playing games

The selection of digital games seems endless, and the applications are diverse: games can entertain, impart knowledge, promote specific skills, or even function as fitness trainers. But as with all media, it is important to use them responsibly. In this context, the age labels of the USK are an important orientation aid for parents to find out whether a game is suitable for the respective age of the child or not. In addition, the license plates provide important information about whether a game has features such as “chats”, “in-game purchases” or “location sharing” that should be taken into account.
But how exactly are these age labels assigned? What factors are considered and what should parents generally keep in mind when dealing with games? At the virtual parents’ evening of Elternguide.online, these questions are answered directly by an expert from the USK.

Be there live and ask your questions to our expert – we will give answers and be available for exchange!

The event will be held in German.

Information and registration

Date: 31.05.2023 | Time: 5 to 6 pm
Course of events: Media pedagogical input with opportunities for open exchange
Speaker: Marek Brunner (USK)
Moderation: Lidia de Reese (FSM e.V.)
Platform: The virtual parents’ evening is realized via the tool “Zoom”.
Privacy Notice: Zoom is a service of Zoom Video Communications Inc. which is based in the USA. We use Zoom via the German operator easymeet24. easymeet24 ‘s server is located in Europe. Furthermore, within the Zoom service we have chosen the configurations with the highest data and security protection.
Please also take note of our privacy policy.


    Hiermit melde ich mich zum virtuellen Elternabend von Elternguide.online am 31.05.2023 um 17.00 Uhr verbindlich an.

    * = Pflichtangabe
    Die erhobenen Daten dienen ausschließlich der Verarbeitung Ihrer Anfrage und werden nicht an Dritte weitergegeben. Die Daten werden nach Abschluss der Bearbeitung und Durchführung des Webinars gelöscht. Mit dem Absenden der Nachricht willigen Sie in die diesbezügliche Datenverarbeitung ein.
    Bitte nehmen Sie auch von unserer Datenschutzerklärung Kenntnis.

    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.

    Reading and learning with Tiptoi

    On long car journeys, on train journeys, or simply cozily at home on the sofa – the Tiptoi interactive learning system is popular with children and parents. We explain the many functions offered by the hearing pen.

    In brief

    • Reading pen with recording function
    • usable in combination with special books, games and puzzles
    • only compatible with Ravensburger products
    • for children from 2 years
    • in the starter package for 70 Euro (from 2 years) or 60 Euro (from 3 years)

    What can Tiptoi be used for?

    The Tiptoi is a reading or listening pen. If you tap the stylus on a picture or text in a book provided for this purpose, suitable sounds, speech or music will sound. Stories, games and toys are thus brought to life. To do this, you need to download the corresponding audio files from the Internet in advance. For the old generation of the hearing pen (for 3 years and older), you have to connect the pen to a computer to do this. With the new version of the hearing pen (for ages 2 and up), this all works via the charging station with WLAN connection; it is completely independent of the parental computer.

    The levels of experience in the books or puzzles are divided into four categories:

    • When you tap on the red eye icon of the Discover layer, the pen reads texts, makes sounds, explains pictures and much more.
    • At the orange light bulb symbol of the Knowledge level, children learn exciting facts about the respective book topic. New content is retrieved again and again on a random basis.
    • In the storytelling level, which is marked with a blue speech bubble symbol, the children listen intently to short stories designed to stimulate the imagination and deepen the play experience.
    • And finally, you can tap on the green cube icon of the Games level, whose content deepens what you have learned in a playful and interactive way.

    The reading pen can be used not only in combination with books, but also with games, a globe or puzzles. It is recommended for children from 2 years. Products for different age groups are offered.

    The earlier devices (since 2018) for children over the age of three have an integrated microphone so that children can record their own sounds and speech. The newer device (from 2022) for children from the age of two has no microphone and therefore no recording function.

    What fascinates children about it?

    The multiple uses of the listening pen offer an interactive and engaging way to learn. This encourages the children to become active and to foster their curiosity. By playing with Tiptoi books and toys, children can improve their cognitive skills and develop their language, math and social skills.

    Also, the listening pen allows children to discover the world around them in a new way. You can immerse yourself in a variety of topics and learn more about history, science, or geography. For example, not only is it explained what the hoot of an owl sounds like, but you can also listen to it. Even several times. The operation of the pen is simple and its use is adapted to the motor skills of a child aged from about 2 years.

    The products designed specifically for children over 2 years are usually simpler. They have larger and more colorful images, as well as less text and more complex interactive features. They aim to stimulate the senses and curiosity of younger children and develop their fine motor skills.

    The products for ages 4 and up are usually more complex and sophisticated in terms of interactive features and learning materials. They are often designed with more text and more challenging content to give children a deeper understanding of topics such as history, science, or math.

    What does the provider think?

    According to Ravensburger, Tiptoi inspires and motivates to play and learn! It is an innovative learning and creative system with which children discover the world through play. Its child-friendly design and high-quality content, as well as the wide range of possible uses, are particularly highlighted here.

    With the Create recording function, the provider promises to promote your child’s language skills and self-confidence.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    The listening pen is only compatible with the corresponding Ravensburger products. The cost of the pen and matching books should therefore not be underestimated. The pen alone already costs about 39 euros. However, you can choose from a variety of products in different price ranges, which are also always a nice gift idea.

    With the older version of the pen (for ages 3 and up), audio content can only be loaded onto the device using Tiptoi Manager, a computer program from Ravensburger. Computers and Internet access are therefore a prerequisite. The recording function cannot be used with all Tiptoi products, but only with Create products.

    For more on what to consider when using family read aloud pens, check out our general post on this.

    Popular games: Roblox

    Building your own worlds from building blocks, taking on imaginative roles and completing exciting missions – the online game platform Roblox is currently very popular with children and young people.

    In brief

    • USK age recommendation from 12 years onwards
    • Users can create their own games and use the games of other players
    • playable with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon devices and Xbox
    • mostly free of charge
    • In-app purchases

    What is Roblox?

    The two words Robots and Blocks together make up the name of the Roblox gaming platform. Here, virtual worlds can be created and played with in Lego style, which especially excites children and teenagers who are 14 years old and younger. Roblox is a mixture of game world and social network and is reminiscent of Minecraft.

    After registering on roblox.com, players receive a pre-made game character (avatar) that they can customize as they wish. Clothes or a different hairstyle are free of charge. Some extra accessories cost money in the form of their own currency Robux. Functions such as creating games as well as playing games themselves are freely available.

    What fascinates children and young people about it?

    Many children love the game because they can easily create their own games. Registered users can create their own games with the “Roblox Studio” building tool and share them with others. Simple structures can be designed, but also complex worlds of experience such as cities and amusement parks. In the Roblox community, children and young people can creatively let off steam and chat with each other.

    Roblox is known as a platform for young game developers and entices them to earn money with their own games: If your child creates a game that is well received by others so that they invest money in it, with a bit of luck your child will also receive a share as a developer.

    What is problematic about the offer?

    Because people can contact others through Roblox, there are risks such as cyberbullying, cybergrooming, and hate speech. Roblox is repeatedly accused of not sufficiently moderating both the content and the communication among users and of not being consistent enough in dealing with violations of the community guidelines.

    It can be tempting for kids to invest real money in a fantasy currency or sign up for a paid membership to have more options in the game. When exchanging objects among players, cheating may occur, since not all players offer real Robux. Those hoping to make a lot of money developing their own games on Roblox will be disappointed. Roblox has been criticized for exploiting young game developers and retaining most of the profits itself.

    Stiftung Warentest put the game under the microscope in 2019 and rated it “unacceptable”. Not all content is suitable for children, and the huge selection of games includes shooters that are not suitable for children. Roblox also received deductions for data protection.

    What the provider says

    The provider emphasizes on its platform to take security and data protection very seriously. There is a reporting system for inappropriate chat messages and a chat filter. After registration, an account in “privacy mode” is automatically created for users under 13 years of age. Younger children will not have access to social media plug-ins or some notification messages, for example. Some games are also only released from a certain age. Moderators check whether uploaded images and video material meet the requirements for child-friendly content. Inappropriate content is actively filtered and deleted. However, all of this assumes that the age information of the players is securely checked during registration.

    You can find out more information on the “Parents’ guide” web page. Roblox offers several safety features that help you keep better track of your child’s play.

    This is what parents should pay attention to

    Register and create a profile together with your child and discover the Roblox game world together. Sit down with your child regularly to talk about his or her play experiences. Ask to see what your child looks at and plays, and ask why he likes certain games and who he connects with.

    Set the account to show only age-appropriate games to your child. Use a parent PIN so that only you can change the settings. Advise your child not to share private data via the platform. Educate your child about communication risks online and encourage them to block and report suspicious or unpleasant contacts. Chat options can be limited or even disabled and age visibility can be turned off. You can also find all important steps for parental control at Roblox on medien-kindersicher.de.

    Age ratings for video games

    The range of video games is now huge, so it’s easy to lose track between, for example, adventure or action games, learning and strategy games, simulations or role-playing games. As a parent, you may feel uneasy about allowing your child to play video games. After all, you always hear that they can be addictive or have other negative effects. But digital games can also serve important functions. As is usually the case with media use, the same applies here: The level and selection of content are crucial for responsible use. Age ratings provide some initial guidance.

    Which game is suitable for which age?

    Worldwide, Germany has the most binding legal rules for the testing and sale of video games. The protection of minors plays a major role here. Because, as with most entertainment, parents should make sure that video games are safe for the child’s age. The age ratings of the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) provide orientation.

    For you as a parent, it is important to know that the USK ratings do not inform whether a game is already manageable or understandable for children. Nor do they constitute pedagogical recommendations. The USK age rating indicates whether the game is harmless from the point of view of youth protection, i.e. whether it does not contain any content that is harmful to the respective age group.

    These USK labels can be found on every game package, every data carrier and usually at every reputable online store. The following age ratings are available:

    • USK 0 (Released without age restriction): This includes family-friendly games without any potential for impairment. They can be aimed at children, young people and adults alike.
    • USK 6 (Released from 6 years): These are mainly family-friendly games that are already more exciting and competitive and can be problematic and scary for preschoolers.
    • USK 12 (Released from 12 years): Games of this type are clearly more combat-oriented. Especially younger children can experience disturbing, scary and creepy moments here due to violence, shock moments or sexual content. Due to the fictional context, however, there are possibilities for distancing.
    • USK 16 (Released for children aged 16 and over): Games from the age of 16 may already have a stronger focus on violent actions, which is why they are clearly no longer suitable for children. However, fights and violent confrontations always remain framed by the plot or story. Content with a sexual or erotic focus also falls into this age category.
    • USK 18 (no youth rating): These games are exclusively for adults, as they contain clear, realistic and very brutal depictions of violence almost exclusively in a gloomy and threatening atmosphere. There may also be unreflected depictions of drug use, as in first-person shooters or open-world games.

    Since January 2023, additional information has been provided in addition to the age ratings. These can be found on the back of the game packaging and in the USK title database. The notes provide information about the reasons that led to the age classification (such as “violence”, “pressure to act” or “drugs”). And they indicate which possible aspects of use you should pay attention to (such as “in-game purchases” or chats”). Here, the individual notes are explained in more detail.

    Other age ratings

    For Europe, there is still the age rating of PEGI (Pan European Games Information) with the age levels 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. Additional symbols indicate whether certain games address scary, violent or sexual content and the like. You can find out more about this at Spieleratgeber NRW.

    IARC stands for “International Age Rating Coalition” and is a worldwide system for age rating online games and apps. Since these are becoming more and more important and the Internet knows no national borders, the institutions responsible for age ratings from different countries have joined forces and developed this age rating system. This includes a questionnaire that game developers of online games and game apps can use to independently rate the content of their products. In each country, this information results in a license plate that complies with the youth protection rules in force there. In Germany, this is done by the USK. Therefore, you can find the USK notices on many online platforms that use this system, such as Google Play Store, Nintendo eShop, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store and Meta Quest Store. However, you should not rely on this alone, as the USK only checks the game developers’ self-assessments on a random basis or in response to complaints. Additionally, use game reviews from educational platforms, such as www.spielbar.de or Spielerratgeber NRW.

    What parents should pay attention

    Observe your child as he or she interacts with the content. There are children who do not yet understand content well, even though they are already suitable according to the age recommendation. There is nothing wrong with that, every child is different and develops differently. Just see if other offers are more suitable.

    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.

    Let’s play! – Fascination Let’s Play Videos

    There is a new computer game on the market! But is it worth buying? Is it fun? What exactly does it look like and what tricks are there for the game? Your child might ask himself these questions when he hears about a new game. In search of answers, it first looks at a “Let’sPlay” on YouTube or Twitch at. But what is it anyway?

    Translated, Let’s Play means “Let’s play!”. In these videos, players show how they play on or even completely through a video game. They film themselves and their screen at the same time. Spectators get an insight into the game and hear the comments of the players. Let’s Plays are either pre-recorded and uploaded to a video platform or broadcast as a livestream.

    Why are Let’s Plays so exciting for young people?

    On the one hand, children and young people find it exciting to look at a game from a different perspective and want to learn more about it.
    As with other YouTube stars, it’s also about being close to the Let’s Players. Spectators can join in the excitement and experience the personal reactions of the players. The comment function on YouTube allows fans to join in the discussion and feel even more involved. Many active Let’sPlayers regularly publish their videos, which resembles a daily soap that particularly captivates young viewers. Many of the so-called streamers respond to their audience’s comments and often tell more about themselves than just about the game. Successful YouTubers who stream Let’sPlays are usually very individual. A humorous moderation and comedy-like content make her videos particularly entertaining.

    Not only on the world’s largest Let’s Play platform YouTube can these gaming videos be viewed. Twitch is also used for this purpose. Here, fans can even write directly in a chat and thus communicate even more personally.

    What should you look for as a parent?

    These videos are especially popular with teens 13 and older, but kids as young as about 10 are starting to get excited about such videos. In Let’sPlays games from every genre and with every age rating (USK) are played. In this way, even younger people can be tempted to watch game content that is actually only approved for young people aged 16 or even 18. Many Let’s Players also show in their videos the moments they themselves find particularly exciting, which can sometimes be very violent, cruel or sexist.

    Professional Let’s Players invest a lot of time in the games. They sometimes work directly with game publishers and there may be targeted product placement – even if there is no separate indication of a sponsored link. Subscriptions on Twitch or fundraising on YouTube get viewers to spend money on their favorite stars. For example, some streamers comment live when a person has donated something.

    The first and safest tip here is to watch the Let’sPlays together with your child. Talk about what fascinates your son or daughter about it, but also what to look for in Let’s Plays and what can be problematic. Make your child aware of communication risks online, educate them about the business models of influencers, and find out about the age ratings of your child’s favorite games. Let’s Plays can encourage young people to become YouTubers themselves and show their own gaming hobby in Let’s Plays videos. What you can do if your child wants to act professionally on YouTube, we explain in this article.


    Let’sPlays are very popular and there is a reason for that! It can be incredibly fun to watch your idols try on a new game and master tasks humorously – or not! Because the players are just young people, possibly even the same age as the spectators themselves, and that’s what makes it so fascinating.

    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 “.

    Technical youth media protection – settings, apps and programs

    Children and young people should be able to navigate the Internet safely. This is legally regulated by the Protection of Minors in the Media Act, among other things. At the same time, the topic of online safety is part of parents’ media education responsibilities. Solutions for the technical protection of minors from harmful media are a building block for guiding children between protection, empowerment and participation when using the Internet. In this article, we will give an overview of the most important settings, apps and programs.

    Dos and don’ts

    You would like to introduce technical youth media protection at home? Then don’t do it secretly. Talk to your child about it, explain the app or program, and make adjustments together. Think carefully about your and your child’s need for protection. Acknowledge your child’s needs and find age-appropriate solutions. Adapt the measures to your child’s current stage of development and media use behavior. But the most important point is: Technical protection can support media education, but not replace it! Keep an open dialog with your child, explain the risks to him or her and work together to establish media rules in the family.

    Set screen time

    Always on – always being on your smartphone or tablet can be exhausting and distracting from what else there is to do. With the help of screen time, you and your child can check how long you spend in which apps. Various setting options, such as the app timer, the concentration mode or the idle time, can also help to put the device away again or not to be distracted by certain digital temptations.

    Surf safely

    The children’s search engine fragfinn.de operates the browser app fragFINN. The Child Protection app provides a safe surfing space with access to vetted, child-friendly websites for children ages 6 to 12. You can also make settings when dealing with other search engines such as bing, ecosia or google to support safe searching on the web and filter out inappropriate content.

    Use children accounts

    The advantage to children’s accounts is that you can create a separate account for each of your children and equip it with individual, age-appropriate settings. A child account with Microsoft Family Safety lets you set screen time settings, content filters, activity reports, cost controls and more for Android devices, laptops running Windows 10 and 11, and Xbox. Be sure to strike the right balance between protection and control, and discuss the settings with your child. Those who use many Google offers can create a child account via the Google Family Link and thus control their own child’s smartphone use. You should carefully consider the extent to which this makes sense for your teenager.

    Install parental control programs

    If you prefer to be independent of providers and operating systems, you can install various programs for technical youth media protection. JusProg is a state-approved youth protection program that is free of charge, data-saving and ad-free. Salfeld Parental Control is available for a fee and focuses on time limits and filters, as well as connecting parent and child devices.

    Secure devices

    Did you know that you can child-proof your router, such as the Fritz!BOX? You can create access profiles, set online times and block Internet sites. Game consoles like Xbox and Switch are also equipped with parental control settings that you can set up individually. The main issues here are age limits and, in the case of video games, limits on the length of games.

    Social media – but safe!

    If your child likes to be on social media platforms, you should make settings together in the apps, e.g. for communication, contact and profile visibility. Explain to your child how to report and block contacts and content. If your child is still young, he or she can use TikTok in accompanied mode. As a parent, you have the option to restrict various functions. On Instagram, you can get insight about contacts and followers through parent supervision and set time limits. Snapchat ‘s Family Center allows an overview of one’s child’s usage without being able to access the content of messages and posts. With YouTube, you can either set up restricted access or use the child-friendly alternative YouTube Kids.

    Set up streaming platforms

    With streaming services like Netflix, the main concern is that your child only has access to age-appropriate movies and series. Many, but not all, of the contents are FSK-approved and are marked with age ratings. Set up a separate profile for each of your children and protect your profile with a secure PIN.

    Your family – your solution!

    You know your child best. You know what he or she likes to do with media and where your child should be especially protected. Keep your knowledge of parental control settings and programs up to date. Use help services such as medien-kindersicher.de. There you’ll find suitable settings for every device and operating system, for every app, every hot game and social media offering, according to age group. Use technical youth media protection to support your media education. Accompany your child’s media use, set a good example, and encourage your child’s media literacy.

    Pokémon GO – on the hunt for the monsters

    After the highly acclaimed launch of the game app Pokémon GO in 2016, there continue to be enthusiastic players worldwide and more and more of these little monsters, called Pokémon. Maybe you know Pikachu, Glumanda and Shiggi from your own childhood – from trading cards or the video game.

    In brief

    • free game app, in-app purchases possible
    • Playable in many languages; in Germany since July 2016
    • available for iOS and Android operating systems
    • Age recommendation according to USK from 6 years, according to iTunes App Store from 9 years, according to Spieleratgeber NRW from 12 years

    What is Pokémon GO?

    In Pokémon GO, the player becomes the trainer. He or she collects Pokémon all around the environment. These are developed, trained and can compete against each other in battle.

    Pokemon GO is a so-called location-based game app that only works with an Internet connection, GPS turned on, and camera access. On the cell phone display, the surroundings are shown as a virtual map. On this, the little monsters appear when you move with your smartphone (outdoors). In addition, in some places there are so-called Pokéstops, where you can collect the Pokéballs and other accessories that are important for catching Pokémons, or arenas, where Pokémons of different players compete against each other.

    To find certain Pokémons, the player must go to certain places. Because the numerous and different monsters can be found in different places, depending on their strength and characteristics.

    What fascinates children and young people about Pokémon GO?

    The fusion of reality and play certainly inspires not only children and young people. Playing online with Pokémon GO is easy via smartphone, even outdoors and together. You can take the smartphone out of your pocket at any time and search for new monsters in the immediate vicinity. It’s like an exciting treasure hunt or relieves boredom while waiting for the bus, for example.

    The different levels of the game also make it entertaining and attractive for young people: collecting and evolving monsters, fighting against each other, competing with each other by leveling up, and constantly evolving the game with new gadgets and new Pokémons. In recent years, more and more events and promotions are being offered for which gamers can buy tickets and network online or offline in real time.

    What is problematic about the offer?

    Since Pokémon could theoretically appear anywhere on the road, users of the app tend to always have their eyes on the cell phone display, so caution is advised in traffic. As an add-on, the manufacturer offers the Pokéball Plus: a plastic ball that is connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth and vibrates when a Pokémon appears.

    The app can also tempt you to visit unfamiliar places on your own, enter inaccessible places like construction sites, or run off at night to catch certain Pokémon. Make firm rules of the game here. Your child should always go on a quest accompanied by a friendly player, and a parent or guardian should always be aware of the locations visited.

    Since there are always new Pokémon, the game virtually never ends. The more and stronger Pokémon you have, the higher your game level. Many children and young people like to compare themselves with each other and want to be better than the others. That’s why the app tempts you to want to keep playing. In the rules for game use, you should therefore determine together with your child how long and how often he or she may access the app.

    In terms of data protection, Pokémon GO is subject to some criticism. In order for your child to use the app and go on a Pokémon hunt, GPS reception on the smartphone must be activated at all times. You have to give the app many more permissions, including access to the SD card and the camera. It is not clear to what extent the manufacturer Niantic uses all this data or could use it in the future.

    The game is financed via
    In-App Purchases
    . You acquire virtual Poké coins through game progress or for real money, and in exchange you can get more or less important items. Accessories are also offered in miracle boxes, for example, eggs from which Pokémon hatch. These boxes are also called Lootboxes because the actual value of the content is a matter of luck. To avoid tempting your child, you as a parent can deactivate in-app purchases on iOS or password-protect them on Android. Because even without these in-app purchases, the game is fun!

    The game was put under the microscope by Stiftung Warentest in 2019 and was the only one of the games tested to receive the second-best category of “Questionable”, whereas all the others received an “Unacceptable”. The only problem is data privacy: The name of the mobile provider and usage statistics are passed on to third parties, and the privacy policy is not understandable for children.

    What does the provider think?

    On the official website of the U.S. game manufacturer Niantic and when launching the app, among other things, the above-mentioned problems are pointed out and tips for safety are given. In addition, guardians are advised to use parental controls in the settings of cell phones. This can be used to limit game time and in-app purchases. Through the Niantic Kids Parent Portal, parents can set up, manage, and customize their child’s game accounts before their first game. More information offers the in-app purchases

    What should parents pay attention to?

    Your child is eager to go hunting for Pokémon? Here you are faced with the task of assessing whether your child is aware of the risks being addressed. In addition to data protection issues (especially constant location tracking), this includes whether your child already understands the principle of “augmented reality” – that is, the merging of reality and play.

    Always download only the original app (from Niantic). Third-party apps are often infected with malware.

    You, as the parent or guardian, must set up a separate children’s account for children under 13. It is recommended to create a new account and not use an existing Google account. Use the Niantic Kids parent portal to manage your child’s game account.

    It’s best to discover the game together with your child and agree on rules for the duration of the game, the permitted play radius and in-app purchases. Team up with friendly families and don’t let your child go off on their own. Maybe the game is a good opportunity for a joint Pokémon walk in the fresh air!

    Secure streaming on Netflix, Disney+ and more.

    Many families no longer rely on linear television, i.e. watching what’s on. Instead, people use their smart TVs or tablets to access streaming services – whenever they have the time and the inclination to watch TV.

    Kids and teens like to stream

    The offer for children and young people is virtually unlimited and available at any time with streaming services and media libraries. Children watch movies and series partly on their own. This makes it all the more important to set the services so that they can only access content that is appropriate for children and their age.

    Keep track of how much your child watches. Binge-watching can also occur among children and young people if they are not accompanied in their media use.

    Use parental control settings

    Youth protection measures are intended to prevent children and young people from having experiences that are inappropriate for their age. These are, for example, content that may frighten or disturb them, or unwanted contact by strangers. Streaming services must use certain settings to ensure that their services are safe for children and young people to use.

    Each streaming service has its own parental control settings, which are adjusted from time to time. Therefore, we can only reflect a current status (December 2022) of the most popular services in each case.

    Regularly inform yourself about current functions and parental control settings of “your” streaming provider. Many have their own information portals for parents.

    Amazon Prime Video

    You can find the parental controls in Prime Video either in your Amazon account via the browser (Gear: Settings) or in the app under “My Area”. Here you can set up a PIN, after entering which secured content can still be viewed. In addition, purchase restrictions and playback restrictions can be activated with the parental control. Parents can create their own children’s area on Amazon via the paid additional subscription Amazon Kids+. Read more about how to set up the Amazon parental control here.


    Disney+ also allows children’s profiles to be created with a child-friendly user interface. In these, only content with age ratings from FSK 0 up to and including FSK 6 is displayed. However, it is not possible to specify preferences for certain age ratings of content. A PIN can be used to prevent the creation of new profiles. Read more on the Disney+ help page.

    Media libraries of the public broadcasters

    ARD and ZDF have implemented youth protection in two ways: Films, series and programs that are not suitable for children and young people under the age of 16 or 18 can only be watched without registration from 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. (until 6 a.m.). There is also a children’s section that displays only content suitable for children. As soon as this is left, there is a hint. Those who set up an account to use the media libraries can also make additional individual settings, such as additional age ratings, setting a code, and creating a personalized media library. More about this on the help pages of ARD and ZDF.


    With Netflix Kids environment, you can create one or more kids profiles for Netflix. This parental control allows you to set age ratings for a profile, block individual titles, set up a PIN, and enable or disable autoplay. With a child profile, no changes can be made to the own or a
    other profile can be made. The Netflix Kids environment does not only apply to movies and series, it can also be used to restrict access Netflix games. You can get step-by-step instructions on how to set up parental controls on the corresponding Netflix help page.

    Technology only partially protects

    Technical parental control settings are particularly useful when children know about them. Talk to your child about possible dangers and the goal of the settings. You should regularly consider whether settings can be adjusted – together with your child.

    Despite a parental control, your child needs companionship in their media use. Be approachable when questions or fears arise. And watch your child when they watch videos. Choose content together in advance – then you can let your child watch an episode alone. When you set media rules together, you support the promotion of media literacy.

    You can read more about the setting options and detailed instructions in the klicksafe guide.

    Media under the Christmas tree

    “Dear Santa, this year I would like a new smartphone. But one with a good camera, please!”

    Media devices are at the top of many wish lists. For parents, however, they often trigger questions above all. Are media good gifts? Which media are suitable for which age? And what should be considered when buying?

    What are these ‘media’ anyway?

    From books or radio plays to game consoles, many things fall under the term media. And almost all of them show up as gift requests at some point. For younger children, picture books, audio games or music boxes are often found in the gifts. Later, the wishes tend to go in the direction of smartwatches or children’s tablets. And when the children get older, laptops and tablets, game consoles and, above all, smartphones increasingly end up on the wish lists.

    In most cases, parents still feel relatively secure in their choices in the early years and become increasingly insecure later on. However, some things that make gift giving easier can always be kept in mind!

    Which media are the right ones?

    The question is whether media are given at all and which are the right ones? Then there are several ways to make a decision. The following questions can help:

    Is the offer suitable for my child?

    Children often take their cue from older friends or siblings. Therefore, they are interested in offers that are not appropriate for their age. As a parent, however, you should pay attention to the age for which an offer is intended. You can read everything important about this in our article “Age-appropriate media for my child“.

    Is my child ready for the device or the offer?

    Before media is purchased, you should also consider whether your child is already able to handle it. For one thing, it’s about the use itself. It can be helpful to answer for yourself whether your child is already motor and cognitively capable of using the desired device. It is also a question of whether your child, already reasoned content select alone, whether it can correctly assess the financial value of a device and handle it with appropriate care and much more.

    Before purchasing a smartphone, the questionnaire “Is my child ready for a smartphone?” from klicksafeisa good way to find out.

    Are the costs reasonable?

    Media gifts can quickly become quite expensive. Then you as parents are faced with the dilemma: Do we fulfill the wish at a high price – or do we disappoint the child? But often there are other solutions. For expensive devices, it is a good idea to start with older, used models. This saves money and gives you the opportunity to first try out how well your child can handle it. If your child already receives pocket money, he or she can also contribute to the costs. In this way, they also learn to better assess the value of the device and handle it more carefully.

    What happens after the festival?

    Before buying media, it is also important to think and talk about how the media will be used later. For younger children, it is a good idea to negotiate media rules together and record them in a media use contract. In addition, you can resort to technical protection measures and set them up together with your child. Many devices have their own parental control settings. We also need to talk to older children and young people about usage times, costs and responsible use of content.

    What else is important

    All in all, the following applies to media gifts: The purchase alone is only the first step. It is important to stay in conversation with your child about both the desire and the use. This way you can accompany your child well in their media use, discover difficulties early on and find solutions together.

    Also consult with other parents beforehand if the equipment has already been purchased there. What experiences have they had?

    Trying out the media together under the Christmas tree is much more fun! This way you will also get to know your child’s new device right away.

    Project partner