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Young Children and Media: Insights from the miniKIM Study 2023

Even for the very youngest children, the world of media is omnipresent. The miniKIM study, initiated by the Media Education Research Association Southwest, provides insightful data on the media behavior of children between the ages of two and five. This article summarizes the key findings of the latest 2023 study and provides practical tips for parents.

Access to smart devices: The study shows that access to smart devices is increasing among young children. Around one in five children has their own tablet and one in ten has access to a smartphone. These devices are often used for both educational and entertainment purposes.

Parental attitudes: Many parents are of the opinion that smartphones harbor many risks for young children and should be viewed rather critically. However, around half of those surveyed also see advantages in its use, such as the potential to learn new things and playful education.

Streaming and media consumption: Streaming services are now also popular with the youngest children and have supplemented or even replaced traditional television as the main source of moving image content.

Responsibility and media education: The study emphasizes the importance of supervised media use to ensure a safe and positive environment for young children. It is recommended that parents monitor their children’s media activities and select appropriate content.

What should parents bear in mind?

  • Supervised use: Accompany your child when using digital media and select age-appropriate and safe content together.
  • Set rules: Set clear limits for screen time to ensure a balanced daily structure with enough space for other activities.
  • Use security settings: Activate parental controls on all devices to prevent access to inappropriate content.
  • See media as part of development: Use interactive and educational apps designed specifically for young children to encourage learning through play.
  • Role model function: Be a good role model with regard to your own media consumption and media usage habits.

In addition to this article, we also offer in-depth insights into media use of older children with the KIM Study 2022 and of young people with the JIM study.

The results and further information on the miniKIM Study 2023 can be found in detail on the website of the Media Education Research Association Southwest.

Children and Media: Insights from the KIM Study 2022

Media are omnipresent and play a central role in children’s everyday lives. The KIM study by the Media Education Research Association Southwest regularly provides insights into the media use of children between the ages of six and 13 in Germany. This article summarizes the most important findings of the latest 2022 study and provides tips on how parents can better support their children in dealing with media.

  • Increasing Internet use and device ownership: Internet use and smartphone ownership increase significantly as children get older. While 38 percent of six to seven-year-olds use the Internet, almost all twelve to 13-year-olds do. From the age of 10 to 11, more than half of children have their own smartphone.
  • Unaccompanied media use: A majority of children often use media without parental supervision. This applies to surfing the Internet, using tablets and watching television. Digital games and the internet in particular are increasingly being used alone, which has increased further since the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Social media and apps: Popular platforms among children are WhatsApp, YouTube and TikTok. Despite age restrictions, many children use these services, which raises questions about parental control and supervision.
  • Parental attitudes: Many parents recognize the potential dangers of the Internet, but rarely use technical security measures such as filters or special settings to protect their children. This shows a certain inconsistency in dealing with children’s media use.
  • Media education and responsibility: Most parents see both the school and themselves as having a responsibility to teach children how to use media appropriately. Nevertheless, there is a need for more information and support for parents to develop effective strategies for media education.

What should parents bear in mind?

  • Encourage communication: Actively have open conversations about the content your child sees online and who they communicate with online.
  • Use media as a tool: Use age-appropriate apps and websites to encourage learning and support your child’s creative skills.
  • Determine screen time: Set screen time rules together. Consider your child’s age, activities, and needs.
  • Adjust security settings: Use parental controls to restrict access to inappropriate content.
  • Be a role model: Check your own media use and adjust it if necessary.
  • Stay informed: Find out about the devices and platforms your child uses. Regularly discuss media trends or your child’s activities.

In addition to this article, we also offer in-depth insights into the media use of younger children with the miniKIM study and the media habits of teenagers with the JIM study.

The results and further information on the KIM Study 2022 can be found in detail on the website of the Media Education Research Association Southwest.

Youth and media: Insights from the JIM Study 2023

Youth and media: Insights from the JIM Study 2023

The JIM study, conducted by the Media Education Research Association Southwest, provides revealing data on media use by German young people aged 12 to 19. This article summarizes key findings from the latest 2023 study and shows how parents can support young people.

Extensive internet use: Young people spend an average of 224 minutes online every day, with messenger services and social media being particularly popular. WhatsApp is used regularly by 94% of young people, followed by Instagram (62%), TikTok ( 59%) and Snapchat (49%).

Popular media content: Alongside social networks, Netflix and YouTube are the leading platforms for watching series, shows and films among young people. 63 percent of young people regularly use YouTube, while 50 percent use Netflix.

Media and leisure activities: The study also shows that young people organize their leisure time in a variety of ways. In addition to media use, 70 percent of young people regularly meet up with friends, 62 percent regularly play sport and 35 percent read books at least once a week.

Confrontation with problematic content: Unfortunately, young people are increasingly confronted with problematic content. A third of girls and a quarter of boys have been sexually harassed online. 23 percent of young people were unintentionally confronted with pornographic content.

What should parents pay attention to?

  • Open communication: Have regular open conversations with your child about their online activities and experiences.
  • Promotion of media literacySupport your child in critically scrutinizing content and navigating the Internet safely.
  • Balanced media use: Help your child to find a healthy balance between online and offline activities.
  • Promote security awareness: Make your child aware of data protection and the risks of disclosing personal information.

In addition to this article, we also offer in-depth insights into media use of young children with the miniKIM study and the media habits of children with the the KIM Study 2022.

The results and further information on the JIM Study 2023 can be found in detail on the website of the Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest.Formularende

Virtual parents’ evening on 16.9.2024 from 5 to 6 pm

FSK ratings for films and series – protection of minors explained simply

Everyone knows them, but most people don’t know exactly how they are determined: the age ratings for film content issued by the Voluntary Self-Regulation Body of the German Film Industry (FSK). How are they determined and on what basis? What role do age ratings play for children, young people and parents? The virtual parents’ evening explores these and other questions. The focus here is on the work of the FSK, which issues the statutory age ratings for films, series and trailers that are released in cinemas, by streaming providers or on DVD or Blu-ray in Germany on behalf of the supreme state youth authorities.

As part of the virtual parents’ evening, both the FSK’s testing procedures and the criteria that lead to the known age ratings of 0, 6, 12, 16 and 18 are presented. Following on from this, there are insights into the media literacy and participation projects with children and young people as well as the information and orientation services offered by the FSK.

Join us live and put your questions to our experts – we will provide answers and be available for discussions! The event will be held in German.

Information and registration

Date: 16.09.2024 | Time: 5 to 6 pm

Speakers: Michael Schmidt and Peter Kaun (FSK)

Moderation: 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 16.09.2024 um 17.00 Uhr verbindlich an.

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    The TOGGO app: a universe of games and learning for children

    Paw Patrol, Pokémon, Peppa Wutz – the TOGGO app offers children a comprehensive range of entertainment tailored specifically to their needs and interests. With a wide selection of series, interactive games, radio plays and music, the app is aimed specifically at young users of different ages. We present the offer.

    In a nutshell:

    • App with videos, games, radio plays, interactive content, music (TOGGO radio) and competitions
    • For children aged 2 and over (Toggolino area) and 6 and over (TOGGO area)
    • Available on Android and iOS
    • Free to use, contains advertising
    • Internet connection required for use

    What is behind the offer?

    The app aims to offer children and young people a safe and entertaining platform. It contains a wide range of content with series, games, radio plays and music tailored to different age groups. The Toggolino area is specially designed for children between the ages of 2 and 5 and enables them to navigate easily and without text. This protected area can only be exited with a text code, so children cannot do this by mistake. You need support from someone who can read. The TOGGO area is aimed at older children up to the age of 14 and offers a greater variety of exciting content, such as multiplayer games that can also be played with friends.

    What excites children and young people about it?

    The app meets the needs of children at different stages of development: Younger children enjoy the simple and fun content in the Toggolino section, while older children can discover exciting adventures and cool, challenging games in the TOGGO section. Regular updates and new content ensure that there is always something new to discover. The opportunity to interact with the app keeps children busy and encourages their creativity. Content that is tailored to the age and interests of the users ensures a personalized experience that children particularly enjoy.

    What can be problematic about the offer?

    • Internet connection: The app requires a permanent internet connection to use, which increases data consumption.
    • Advertising: The app contains advertisements, all of which are suitable for children.
    • Data protection and privacy: It is possible that personal data may be collected and stored, for example when participating in competitions.

    What does the provider think?

    Super RTL emphasizes that the app is designed to be safe and suitable for children. Various measures are taken to protect the privacy and safety of the children. This includes strict compliance with the data protection guidelines, which can be viewed on the app’s website.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    Actively accompany the use of the offer: Select the content together and accompany the use depending on the age of your child to ensure that the content is suitable. Talk openly with your child about the safe use of digital media, especially about the importance of data protection.

    Sharing: Discover the content together with your child to share their experiences. Integrate your child’s opinion when selecting new content to encourage interest and participation.

    Use the available settings: Customize the content according to your child’s age and level of development.

    Open communication: Discuss with your child what to do if they come across inappropriate content or have difficulties using it. Clarify what needs to be considered when playing virtual games together if your child networks with friends in multiplayer games within the app.

    Set usage limits: Encourage balanced leisure activities by jointly defining the duration of use.

    Encourage alternative learning and play resources: Motivate your child to explore non-digital learning and play resources.

    Explain advertising: Explain to your child what advertising is and how it works to create an awareness of commercial content.

    OmeTV and co – when children meet strangers in video chat

    Meeting new people, having fun, flirting for the first time – video chat services are popular with children and young people. Free offers such as OmeTV, Chatroulette or even Yubo make it possible to connect with complete strangers. Although the apps are often criticized for issues such as pornography, cybergrooming and questionable data protection, many young people like to use them.

    Random video chats with strangers on the net

    Video chat platforms randomly connect users from all over the world. They can see and chat with each other via the camera function. When they have had enough of each other, they click or swipe on to the next person. Thousands of users communicate with each other simultaneously via these websites and apps. This means that the pool of potential contacts is inexhaustible. Most services require a link to data such as the Facebook or Google account or registration with an e-mail address or telephone number. Yubo is permitted from the age of 13 according to the terms and conditions, OmeTV and Chatroulette only from the age of 18. However, since the age or the required declaration of consent from the parents are not checked, younger people also use the applications.

    The fascination of video chat

    For young people, the platforms are an opportunity to gain new experiences and get to know people. They go online alone or with friends and chat with strangers. They often experience funny, weird and crazy things there. This can be exciting and fun – and offers room to try things out. On TikTok and YouTube videos of chats on OmeTV are very popular and are shared under their own hashtags. Users post videos of pranks such as alleged assaults online and influencers talk about their crazy experiences in video chats. This arouses young people’s curiosity and raises their hopes of meeting their idols in a random chat.

    Dangers and risks of the platforms

    Platforms such as OmeTV and the like are known for the fact that the content they show is often anything but adult-friendly. Anonymity is high and the inhibition threshold is therefore low. Many people use video chats to vent their frustrations, share extreme opinions or satisfy sexual needs. So it often happens that especially men show themselves naked in front of the camera. Insults and discrimination are also commonplace. This can unsettle and unsettle young people in particular. The providers threaten to take strict measures such as lifelong exclusion from the service if the community guidelines are violated. However, the anonymity of the users makes it almost impossible to trace them. Dangers such as cybergrooming, sextortion, sexual harassment or digital violence cannot be ruled out. Inadequate data protection poses a further risk. This allows users to save chat histories, take a screenshot or record images and sound. This usually happens without the consent of the data subjects. Another application also makes it possible to find out the IP address of the user with a little skill. Thus, the anonymous contact may not remain anonymous.

    How to protect your child

    If your child expresses a desire to use these platforms or is already doing so, do not react with a lack of understanding and strict prohibitions. A ban can make these platforms even more attractive and tempt your child to chat secretly with strangers on the Internet. Try to understand the fascination of such offers and talk openly about it. Educate your child about communication risks such as sexual harassment, bullying and cybergrooming. It is important that your child is aware that this is a public space to which everyone has access. The protection of data and privacy is therefore particularly important. Agree rules together on how to deal with such offers. Give your child the feeling that they can talk to you if they have any unpleasant experiences or questions. OmeTV and co. are not suitable for children, despite precautionary measures. Find out about age-appropriate media for your child. Try to talk to your child about alternatives so that he or she can still make new contacts. For younger children, offers on children’s websites can be an alternative, e.g. via kindersache.de, seitenstark.de or knipsclub.de.

    Gamer’s Guide NRW

    Whether sports games on the console, platformers on the cell phone or online role-playing games on the PC – the range of digital games on offer is huge. Many parents ask themselves: “Which game is suitable for my child?”. It is important to pay attention to the legal age limit for games. This can often be recognized by a coloured USK label. However, age ratings are not educational recommendations, but provide information on whether the game is safe from the point of view of the protection of minors. In order to be able to assess whether a game is suitable for their own child, parents should also find out more about computer games. Offers such as the NRW Players’ Guide . Parents will find educational assessments of popular games and information on the opportunities and risks of digital games.

    In a nutshell:

    • Media-pedagogical information offer for parents
    • independent and free of charge
    • Detailed profiles of over 1,900 games
    • Educational guide to games topics
    • via the website and YouTube to use

    What does the NRW player guide offer?

    The information offered by the “Fachstelle für Jugendmedienkultur NRW” helps parents understand what their child is playing or would like to play on the computer, game console or smartphone.

    Under the “Games” tab, numerous games can be displayed and found using the filter and search function via the categories genre, age recommendation and platform. The detailed descriptions help parents to understand the gaming experience of the individual games. All the games described are tested and evaluated by children and young people in game test groups. Media education experts provide assessments of the level of difficulty, content and risks. This results in an educational age recommendation for each game.

    One of the focal points of the offer is the accessibility of games. Some games were tested for barriers in the “barrier check” in the categories of vision, hearing, comprehension and control. Some game reviews are available in plain language.

    If you click on the “Guide” menu item, you can access a wide range of articles on topics such as age ratings, youth protection, opportunities and risks of games and youth culture. Contributions from the youth editorial team provide an insight into current topics and issues from the perspective of young gamers. The YouTube account of Spieleratgeber NRW offers Let’s Play videos and tutorials, for example on parental control settings for individual games.

    This is what the provider means

    The Fachstelle für Jugendmedienkultur NRW would like to support parents and guardians with its services in the area of contemporary media education. The NRW Game Guide sees itself as an educational supplement to the USK age ratings. The service aims to dispel the reservations and insecurities of many parents regarding computer and online games and to educate them about current issues relating to gaming and media. As a publicly funded project, Spieleratgeber NRW is not allowed to advertise individual games, which is why the descriptions are kept largely neutral.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    The website Spieleratgeber NRW offers parents valuable educational information that is easy to find thanks to the clear website structure. The perspective of young people makes the world of digital games easy for parents to understand.

    Please note: Even if the games are tested and evaluated by children and young people themselves, the experience of each child is individual – regardless of age. While some can process certain content well, other children may still be overwhelmed. For parents of younger children, it is recommended to play and try out the games together for the first time. It is even better if you try a game before you play it together with your child.

    As an alternative or supplement to the NRW Game Guide, the spielbar.de website also offers neutral educational reviews of numerous games and articles on the topics of gaming and media.

    Diversity in the gaming scene – a portrait of Let’s Players

    Is gaming only for boys? Far from it! According to the JIM Study 2023, over half of the girls aged 12 to 19 surveyed said they gambled several times a week. The following games are particularly popular Minecraft , The Sims , Hay Day and Mario Kart. The gaming scene is dominated by men, and many successful gaming stars such as Gronkh and Elias N97 are male. However, there are more and more female and queer Let’s Players and they are important role models for young gamers.

    What do Let’s Players do?

    Let’s Players play video games and share their strategies and tips with their followers. They comment on and rate the game in an entertaining way. They upload the Let’s Play videos to platforms such as YouTube and communicate with their fans via the comments. Some gaming stars stream their gaming sessions on Twitch live and interact directly with their audience. Major gaming influencers use various business models to earn lots of clicks and money.

    Who is actually playing?

    Jasmin Gnu known as Gnu, is one of the most prominent female Let’s Players in Germany. She became famous a few years ago mainly through her humorous and entertaining videos on YouTube and streams on Twitch. Gnu plays games like The Sims , GTA and Fortnite and her fans love her for her authentic and likeable nature. In addition to her Let’s Plays, she also produces content on various topics such as sexism in the gaming industry and dealing with her eating disorder.

    Honeyball whose real name is Isabel Barbara Zimmermann, has been active in the gaming community for more than ten years. Her fans appreciate her self-deprecating comments and her positive attitude. She became known for her Let’s Plays of sandbox and role-playing games such as Minecraft and The Sims. Honeyball is also active as a creative and creates texture packs for Minecraft as a game designer, which are appreciated and further developed by the community.

    Antonia Staab alias Reved began her career in 2019 and is known for her diverse content on Twitch and YouTube. It streams a wide range of games from well-known titles to indie games. It shows a mixture of gaming, chatting and creative formats such as quiz shows. In 2023, she launched the Stream Awards, which honor outstanding moments and personalities from the Twitch community. Reved is bisexual.

    Even more streamers can be seen in the child-friendly video series “Ansage!” on the children’s TV channel KiKA. There, young gamers challenge well-known streamers such as Sissor, Mowky, Freiraumreh, Kiara and Shorty in gaming challenges.

    Why are female and queer Let’s Players important for children and young people?

    Many game-loving children and young people not only play games themselves, but also enjoy watching others play them. They can learn more about a game, get tricks for difficult tasks and be entertained by their favorite stars.

    It is important that they not only experience the male perspective, but that there are also female and queer Let’s Players. They show different perspectives on gaming and are role models for female and queer young people who want to recognize themselves in the gaming community. They prove that anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, can be successful in gaming.

    Female and queer gamers often have a hard time in the male-dominated scene and can become victims of online hate. The presence of female and queer Let’s Players can make a decisive contribution to making the gaming community more diverse, open and representative. They contribute to greater visibility and can support positive social change towards greater acceptance.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    No matter who your child’s favorite Let’s Players and streamers are, it’s best to watch Let’s Plays together with your child. This will help you better understand what your child enjoys about Let’s Players and learn more about your child’s gaming hobby.

    The gaming world is still heavily male-dominated. Broaden your child’s perspective and draw their attention to a gaming star with a female or queer identity.

    Make sure that your child does not watch any Let’s Play videos of games that are not approved for children of a certain age. Keep in touch with your child about the business models of Let’s Players. Help him analyze advertising, product placements and other forms of money-making. Discuss the language of gamers with your child. Make your child aware of communication risks online and explain to them how they can deal with unpleasant situations.

    FLIMMO – the parents’ guide to TV, streaming, YouTube and cinema

    “But I want to watch TV longer, just a little bit more!” – this child substitute should be familiar to most parents. Television – whether via traditional offerings or streaming – is a popular topic of contention in families and often leads to discussions. Reconciling the children’s wishes with the adults’ ideas is not always easy. How long can I let my child watch TV without a guilty conscience? How do I select suitable shipments? What devices and channels do people watch on? FLIMMO – the parents’ guide to TV, streaming, YouTube and cinema – was created precisely to answer such questions.

    In brief

    • Parents’ guide to child-friendly moving image content
    • Pedagogical recommendations by age
    • Films, series and shows from media libraries, streaming services, YouTube and TV channels as well as social media channels
    • accessible free of charge via the website

    FLIMMO – popular children’s television at a glance

    On the flimmo.de website, you as a parent can quickly find out whether a particular series or program is suitable for your child. You will also find out what is currently on TV and whether there is something suitable for your child. Children not only use traditional TV programming, but also watch on streaming platforms, YouTube or in media libraries. They use social media services such as TikTok and Instagram, even though they are only allowed to use them from the age of 13. The FLIMMO experts try to check all interesting offers for children. The focus is on the perspective of young media users: What do they like about films, series, shows or channels? What causes them problems? What do they like to watch and why? How do they deal with media experiences and how do they process them?

    The assessments point out problematic issues or warn of possible excessive demands. In the same way, it is made clear what interests, fascinates or amuses children at the respective age. Educational assessments make it clear what children like about a movie or series, what can be problematic and what parents should pay particular attention to. FLIMMO also addresses questions relating to media education in the family: How much media time is appropriate? What rules help and how do you get siblings under one roof? What is important when dealing with YouTube? The guidebook helps parents meet the challenges of everyday media life with brief information and practical tips.

    The rating system

    FLIMMO reviews films, series, documentaries, movies and social media channels that children between the ages of 3 and 13 like to watch – or want to watch. A traffic light shows at a glance whether a movie, series or YouTube channel is suitable for children or not. And if so, from what age:

    Green: This content is suitable from the respective age and is well received by children. You will find entertaining, exciting, funny and educational.

    Yellow: There are problematic aspects from a pedagogical point of view. These can be questionable role models or heroines who rely exclusively on violence. Parents should keep an eye on how children deal with this and take countermeasures if necessary.

    Red: There are elements that can overwhelm, unsettle or frighten children. Regardless of age, such content is not suitable for children.

    Who is behind FLIMMO?

    FLIMMO is a project of the non-profit association Programmberatung für Eltern e. V. It is scientifically and pedagogically based. Experienced media educators from the JFF – Institute for Media Education take care of the content and evaluations. FLIMMO also regularly surveys 3- to 13-year-olds about their preferences.

    How to use FLIMMO in the family

    Even though the offer is primarily aimed at you as a parent, it can be exciting to click through the website’s content together with your child. FLIMMO ‘s simple and clear rating system is well suited for finding suitable content. If your child tells you about an interesting series or YouTube channel, you can look up what FLIMMO has to say about it together.

    In addition to assessments of channels, www.flimmo.de/socialmedia also provides information about social media and what parents should look out for if they allow its use.

    Search engines for children and teenagers

    “How far is it to the moon?”, “Did dinosaurs have milk teeth?”, “Why do we celebrate Halloween?” – Children and young people are naturally curious and have lots of questions. They also surf the Internet in search of answers. But watch out: Google and other search engines were not developed primarily for children. Without filtering, children can quickly end up on pages with inappropriate content. That’s why there are children’s search engines.

    Children’s search engines – what is it?

    Children’s search engines are easy to use and use child-friendly language and images. They only link to content that is safe and interesting for children. All websites are checked and approved in advance by media educators. This enables safe surfing on the net.

    In addition to the search function, many children’s search engines also offer educational videos, games and articles on various topics. They often offer tips on how children can best use search engines. For example, there are tips on specific search terms, searching for images or checking sources. In this way, children acquire important skills and develop their media literacy. Older children can be introduced to adult search engines after this practice period.

    What are the search engines?

    • For children aged 6 to 12, the ad-free search engine fragFINN . The service has a playful structure, is data-secure and is also available as a child protection app.
    • Bright minds is aimed at children and young people aged 8 to 16. These websites contain child-friendly articles and links to safe online games and videos.
    • For older children, common search engines such as Google Ecosia, Yahoo and Bing are relevant. Certain filters can be activated there. They prevent inappropriate content (e.g. violence or sexual content) from being displayed in the search results. These filters are called Google , Bing and Yahoo “SafeSearch. With some search engines, an account can be created with which filters can be activated permanently and password-protected. You can read more about this in our article “Secure search on the Internet”.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    Children’s search engines are designed so that children can use them independently and have the most positive surfing experience possible during their first steps on the Internet. Accompany your child during the first use and explore the search engine together. This way you can explain important functions for the search in more detail. After the first joint testing, children can use the respective children’s search engine independently without hesitation. For this purpose, it is recommended to set up a child search engine for the default search in the browser. In addition, a child search engine can be set up as the start page.

    If your child already knows how to use search engines and wants to use search engines such as Google , activate the “SafeSearch” filter for more security. Please note that despite filters, the search is never as secure as the review of content by media educators and that filters can be activated and deactivated independently under certain circumstances. Agree with your child on how to respond when he or she encounters inappropriate content. You can report inappropriate content that is displayed despite filter settings to the respective search engines.

    Everyone gets involved – involving caregivers in media education

    “But I can be on my cell phone as much as I want with Grandma!”, “I’m allowed to be on my cell phone with my uncle. Fortnite gamble!”, “Today we watched another movie at school!” – Do statements like this sound familiar? Not only when it comes to Media rules of other parents goes. It can also be challenging for you as a parent if other caregivers are involved in media education. Perhaps you are wondering how you can deal with this.

    Media education – not just a matter for parents

    Choosing media according to age, limiting screen time, being a role model – as parents, you lay the foundation for your child’s conscious and competent use of media. The older your child gets, the more freely your child moves around and spends more and more time away from home. If they are alone with their grandparents, in an educational institution or visiting their cousins, other caregivers will automatically get involved in the use of media. This can affect the selection and duration of media content, but also your child’s privacy, such as sharing children’s photos.

    Be careful with children’s photos – children’s rights are everyone’s business

    If your child is on vacation at their aunt’s and you discover excursion pictures in their WhatsApp status or on social media, you as a parent may not necessarily be thrilled. Especially if the sharing of sensitive data was not previously agreed. Not all adults know that sharing children’s photos online can be problematic. Children have a right to privacy. Depending on their age and stage of development, they – and their parents – should be asked what pictures of them can be seen on the Internet. Talk to photo-loving relatives about this and express your views clearly. How to protect your child’s rights.

    Regulating media use outside the home

    As parents, you bear the main responsibility for a healthy upbringing with media. Which games are suitable for which age, what happens to your child’s data online, how devices and apps can be set to be child-safe – the media world is huge, confusing and constantly changing. As parents, you are faced with the challenge of staying up to date and informed – and you may be more on the ball than your child’s caregivers.

    Perhaps you have negotiated media rules in the family or agreed a media usage contract with your child. There may be different rules for the siblings due to their age difference. Don’t be afraid to approach grandparents and co. Make your family’s media rules transparent and explain why it is important to you that the rules are also observed outside the home. Of course, time with grandpa, godmother or cousin can be something special, also in terms of media. Ask for exceptions to be agreed with you in advance. Because an open exchange is important for a trusting relationship. Keep in touch with your child about their media use outside the home and always have an open ear for problems. In this way, you can promote your child’s independence and media skills.

    Shaping education together – also when it comes to media

    If your child surfs the Internet at the youth club, photos from the carnival party end up in the class chat or is allowed to play games on the tablet at the after-school care center, this is part of your child’s mediatized world. Educational institutions usually have a media concept and pursue media education goals. If you are not comfortable with something, speak to the educational staff and approach them with an open and questioning attitude. Always ask for your child’s point of view – this way you both keep learning about media.

    Protection of minors at the movies – what parents should know

    Whether scary movies, funny comedies or exciting action films – experiencing movies on a big screen in the cinema is something special for children and young people. Children and young people should only watch films that are suitable for their age. That’s why there are age ratings and corresponding controls in cinemas. In this article, we explain what the protection of minors in cinemas looks like and which exceptions and special regulations apply.

    The FSK age ratings in cinemas

    Practically all cinema films are submitted to the Voluntary Self-Regulation Body of the Film Industry (FSK) for examination. The FSK issues the familiar age ratings from 0, 6, 12, 16 and 18 years in independent test procedures in accordance with the Youth Protection Act and in cooperation with the supreme state youth authorities. The approvals are not educational recommendations. They are intended to ensure that children and young people are not impaired and thus stand for a positive film experience. For parents, they offer guidance when choosing a movie.

    Parental Guidance Regulation – Parental Guidance Cinema

    Children and young people may only attend movie screenings if they have reached the appropriate age. One exception is the so-called Parental Guidance (PG) regulation. According to this regulation, children from the age of 6 can attend movies with an FSK rating from the age of 12 if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. This gives parents a special responsibility when going to the movies together and allows them to enjoy a movie experience with the whole family.

    Parents do not have to be present themselves. You can assign parental responsibility to any adult:

    • Relatives: e.g. adult siblings, aunt or uncle, grandparents
    • Persons in a special relationship of trust: e.g. godmother or godfather, girlfriend or boyfriend, parents who are friends, neighbor,
    • Persons with a professional or regular educational mandate: e.g. teachers, trainers, educational specialists, group leaders.

    In cases of doubt, cinema operators must verify the age of majority of the accompanying person and the parental authority on the basis of a written confirmation.

    Perhaps you are wondering why this regulation does not also apply to the age ratings from 6 and 16 years? After all, the shared film experience of parents and children offers an ideal starting point for growing up well with media and promotes media literacy. However, it is not possible to consciously decide to go to the cinema with your child if he or she has not yet reached the relevant age group. Legislators are called upon to amend the provisions of the Youth Protection Act. Cinemas must not ignore this.

    Further youth protection rules for cinema screenings

    The Youth Protection Act also contains regulations on the times at which children and young people can attend a movie screening.

    • Children under the age of 6 may only enter the cinema if they are accompanied by their parents or a person with parental authority.
    • Children aged 6 to 11 may attend cinema screenings from the age of 12 if accompanied by their parents or a person with parental responsibility.
    • Children under the age of 14 may only enter the cinema if the performance ends before 8 p.m. or if they are accompanied by their parents or a person with parental authority.
    • Young people under the age of 16 may only enter the cinema if the performance ends before 10 p.m. or if they are accompanied by their parents or a person with parental authority.
    • Young people under the age of 18 may only enter the cinema if the performance ends before midnight or if they are accompanied by their parents or a person with parental authority.

    What parents should pay attention

    Find out about the FSK rating and the time of the movie you want to see before you go to the cinema. The reasons for the age rating are also important. The FSK offers explanatory statements and additional information on all current cinema films at www.fsk.de/kinostarts. If your child is between 6 and 11 years old, think carefully about whether you want to give your child access to a movie from the age of 12 with the help of parental guidance. Films aged 12 and over may contain exciting or action-packed elements, but no excessive violence or explicit depictions. Choose age-appropriate films for your child, taking into account their stage of development. Take note of educational recommendations on current movies such as FLIMMO. This is the best way to assess whether a movie is suitable for your child.

    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)


    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.


    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)


    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.


    Instagram is one of the most popular apps among young people. Experiences are shared as stories, influencersshowwhat’s hot at the moment, users find out about a news feed or are simply entertained.

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    In a nutshell:

    • social network that can be used free of charge after registration via the app
    • Publish and view photos, short videos(reels), live streams and so-called stories
    • Minimum age: 13 years
    • Caution: contains a lot of advertising, children and young people can be confronted with unsuitable content,
    • Provider: Instagram is like Facebook a service of the large US internet company Meta

    What is Instagram?

    Instagram, or Insta for short, is more than just a picture platform. Above your own feed (accessible in the app via the house icon), you will find the latest stories and live streams from users you follow. These disappear again after 24 hours, but can also be saved by the person who posted the story on their own account as a so-called highlight. The feed also displays the newly posted photos and videos of the subscribed channels and people.

    Users can find a wide variety of content on Insta: Posts by stars and starlets, about brands and products, current challenges and even personal profiles of friends. You can respond with likes and comments.

    You can create and edit your own posts with filters, emojis, fonts, etc. directly in the app. In captions, your own content – i.e. photos and videos – can be assigned to topics with a hashtag. Under Instagram Reels (accessible below the feed via the video icon) you can find short videos in TikTok style.

    What particularly fascinates children and young people about Instagram?

    The popularity of Instagram lies, among other things, in its focus on photos and videos. Various and easy-to-use tools help to get the best out of your own image. It is particularly appealing for young people to present themselves in the best light and test their effect on others. The app also makes it quick and easy to document and share the best moments with friends or family.

    Children and young people are constantly finding new content about their idols on Instagram. They can follow what they are doing virtually around the clock, comment on pictures, like them, save them and forward them to other people. Insta is a great way to while away the time waiting for the bus or to keep an eye on what your crush from the next class is doing in his free time.

    Influencers, stars and people with a creator account can create broadcast channels. With the help of an invitation link, users can join and invite other people. Children and young people find out even more about the (public) lives of their stars in the broadcast channels and receive news before people outside this channel.

    At the end of 2023, Meta also launched the app in Germany Threads app in Germany. This is (closely) linked to Instagram.

    What is problematic about the offer?

    The joint privacy policy of Facebook and Instagram, which all users agree to when registering, allows the sharing of user data with other services of the parent company Meta and with third parties. The app enables so-called crossposting. This means that a photo can also be posted on Facebook can be shared. If you have a Facebook account, you should check the settings carefully when publishing posts.

    Instagram can determine the location of users via the posts they make. Privately set accounts prevent this. In addition, access to the location can be set both in the app and in the app permissions on your own smartphone and tablet. Then Instagram cannot see the location of public accounts either. However, a location can be added to each posted image manually afterwards.

    Content on Instagram is subject to payment if children and young people not only follow an account, but also subscribe to it. The monthly price is set by the creators themselves and the subscription can usually be canceled on a monthly basis. Subscribers have access to exclusive content such as pictures, reels and stories. If you would like to subscribe to an account, you will find a “Subscribe” button next to “Follow”/”Followed” and “Messages” on the profile. A single click on this button does not yet lead to a subscription, but must first be confirmed with further clicks.

    Certain content on Instagram can be problematic for young people: Inappropriate content such as erotic images, dangerous challenges and disinformation, but also advertising. Influencer business models play a special role here, which young people do not always recognize.

    Instagram harbors various communication risks through functions such as chats and comments. For example, contact from strangers, hate speech or online bullying can occur.

    What does the provider think?

    The official minimum age for using Instagram is 13, but there is no effective age control so far. Until your child is 18 years old, you must consent to its use. There are extensive usage and setting options. If your child is under the age of 13, they can use Instagram if you manage the account. This must be included in the profile description. Accounts of children and young people under the age of 18 are automatically set to private after creation. However, this can be changed in the settings afterwards and the profile can be set to public. At Handysektor you can read a short version of the terms of use and download a flyer with the most important safety information about Instagram for young people.

    Since June 2022, there has been “parental supervision”, which allows parents to link their account to that of their child. We present all the setting options in this article. You can find out how Instagram itself wants to make the app safer for young people directly on the Instagram website.

    What should parents pay attention to?

    Together with your child, decide at what age and according to what rules he or she is allowed to use Instagram. Make various settings together so that your child can useInstagram as safely as possible. Not all photos have to be shared with everyone or even just with friends via the internet!

    Talk to your child about communication risks on Instagram, from online bullying to cybergrooming. Show your child how they can block or report other users and explain to them when these functions are useful – for example, if someone insults your child in the comments. Your child should also not simply accept subscription requests from strangers and be sparing with their own data, such as their location.

    Educate your child about risks such as harmful content, hate speech, disinformation and political opinion making. Talk to your child about the critical behavior of influencers and keep talking to them about one-sided role models and clichés. Stay interested and check in regularly to see who your child is following on Instagram and who is following them. It is important that your child knows that they can always talk to you if they have an unpleasant experience on the platform.

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