Digital games have become an integral part of the everyday lives of children and young people. In order to play these games, they often have to be purchased or, in the case of free games, at least downloaded. A now rather rare way to buy games is to go to a store and buy a physical data carrier there. This also eliminates the age check carried out by a sales clerk on site. In order to protect your child, we would like to give you an overview of where children and young people can buy games and where you as a parent can find information on setting options.
On the computer, the possibilities for obtaining games are almost unlimited. In the meantime, many publishers have created their own launcher (a program used to launch games) with their own store. A user account must be created there and it is often also possible to deposit a means of payment. A well-known game that is popular with children and runs via its own launcher is Minecraft . In addition to the “own” launchers, there are also large companies that specialize in the digital sale of computer games such as Steam Epic Games Store and GOG. You can find an overview of the technical measures for distribution platforms in the USK guide. The website medien-kindersicher also informs parents about technical protection settings for various devices, services and apps.
For consoles such as Xbox, Nintendo Switch or PlayStation it is often easier to see through how children and young people get hold of games. You can either buy them in the store or in the online store of the respective console. To do this, either payment information must be stored or POSA cards, which are subject to a charge, are used. In the console’s account settings, you can often create children’s accounts, set age restrictions for content or set the screen time. We explain some of the setting options in the article Endless play – technical settings.
Smartphone gaming in particular has become increasingly important for children and young people in recent years. This has a lot to do with the technical development of mobile devices: unlike a few years ago, cell phones are now powerful enough to play games on them. As cell phones are very common among children aged 9 and over, they are naturally also used for playing games. The games are distributed via the app stores and downloaded there. You cannot buy a data carrier in a store. The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK ) has been awarding age ratings for online games and apps within the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC ) for many years. This makes it possible to block certain content. Make the necessary settings in the app stores and, if necessary, create a separate children’s account that you manage as an adult. You can find detailed information on this in the articles on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“With Pokémon Sleep, you can turn your sleep into entertainment!”. This is how the Pokémon Company advertises its new game – with success. The Google Play Store has recorded more than 5 million app downloads since its release in July 2023. The catch: the app accompanies children and young people to bed and collects sensitive health data in the process.
Pokémon Sleep is an app that embeds human sleep in a gaming experience. Players have to help Professor Neroli with sleep research on an adventure island and work together with the Pokémon Relaxo. The app records noises and movements during the night and uses the data collected to create a sleep log. The longer users sleep, the higher their score the next morning and the more new Pokémon appear around Relaxo. Sleep is divided into three types: Semi-sleep, light sleep or deep sleep. In the morning, Pokémon appear that sleep in a similar way. During the day, players can explore sleeping poses, feed the Pokémon and carry out other game activities. The aim is to record as much sleep as possible and thus collect many different Pokémon and poses. The app is also compatible with Pokémon GO Plus, which is the gadget for the game Pokémon GO.
Whether as playing cards, a TV series or a video game – many children and young people grow up with Pokémon and love the little monsters. Pokémon is aimed at young people’s passion for collecting. With Pokémon Sleep, players can get new Pokémons and take care of them without much effort. Getting information about sleep behavior appeals to young people’s love of discovery. Tasks from the friendly Professor Neroli and rewards such as bonus cookies make children and young people want to spend time in the game world with the Pokémons.
Consumer protection warns that Pokémon Sleep monitors the sleeping behavior of children and young people and that the game concept can encourage addictive behavior:
In this test, the data protection website mobilsicher.de proved that the app sends data to advertisers. The audio recordings are saved locally and deleted after 24 hours. However, users’ sleep profiles are stored on company servers. The Pokémon Company states that it does not sell sensitive data of minors for advertising purposes. It is not possible for minors to link their accounts with those of friends. The provider advises you to switch off the audio recording function to save data.
Protect your child’s privacy online and avoid data-hungry apps such as Pokémon Sleep. Younger children in particular can be very absorbed by this game directly before and after sleep, but also during the day. Children are not yet able to assess the implications of sleep monitoring in connection with digital currency.
If your child is older and really wants to use the app, please note the following information:
There seems to be something for young and old on Disney+: from cartoon classics such as Snow White and Mickey Mouse to big blockbusters such as Star Wars and the most popular Disney films of recent years such as The Ice Queen. What parents should know about the offer.
The streaming portal offers a large selection of films and series, similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime and the like. In addition to successful movies from Walt Disney and Pixar in recent years, older Disney films are also available. In addition, there are exciting documentaries from National Geographic. Episodes of current Disney Channel series are also published on the platform at weekly intervals. This way, there is less danger of watching through an entire season without a break. There is also the option of downloading content (does not apply to the subscription model with advertising). With the Standard and Premium subscriptions, Disney+ can also be used on the go with any internet-enabled device. So far, the offer is not as large as on Netflix, for example. However, more and more films are being added.
Disney+ is clear and easy to use for children. The wide range of popular franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars offers both familiar and new adventures. Until February 2021, there were no films with an age rating above FSK 12 or certain scenes were cut out of individual films so that they are also suitable for younger children. In the “Star” category that was then added, adult content is now also available. Adults enjoy the favorite films of their own childhood.
Disney+ has additional parental control settings despite primarily adult content. However, films from the age of 12 can also be found in the offer. Especially smaller children can still be frightened by such films. It is therefore important to guide children in their film selection and viewing.
By creating a children’s profile (called Junior mode), films that are not approved for younger children are not displayed. There is no specific age rating. Disney+ decides what is displayed in Junior mode. This means that films and series with a rating of 0 are also missing from the children’s profile. In the children’s profile, you can, for example, prevent the next episode of a series from playing automatically and the user interface is simplified. Parental controls can be used to assign a PIN to individual profiles – e.g. the profile for adults or older children – so that younger children do not have access. Individual titles cannot be hidden.
If you want to set the age rating yourself, you can assign an age rating to a normal profile (without parental control, without junior mode): 0, 6, 12, 16 or 18 years. However, depending on the subscription model, advertising will run in such a profile.
Each profile, with the exception of the main profile, can also be subsequently converted into a children’s profile (junior mode).
Disney states that advertising content such as clips and trailers for content available on Disney+ or for other Disney products can be shown. Live content can also contain traditional commercial breaks and other advertising formats. There is no advertising in Junior mode. Incidentally, there are no in-app purchases with Disney+, which can lead to unwanted costs, especially for children and young people. And if tobacco products are shown in a movie, Disney draws attention to this with a warning at the beginning.
Account sharing, i.e. the use of an account by several people at the same time, is prohibited under the terms and conditions, but is possible. From 2024, Disney+ will take decisive action against this breach of the rules.
Since Disney+ is primarily aimed at children, they will quickly become accustomed to having access to their favorite series and movies at all times.
Especially accompany young children watching movies. Find out about specific movies and series in advance. Choose age-appropriate programs, for a younger child rather short episodes than long films. Also, schedule plenty of screen-free time for other activities such as walks in the fresh air or hobbies. Talk about set media times within the family.
“Just a little more, I’m almost done.”, “But if I do this now don’t do it, then it’s all gone!” – Are you familiar with statements like this from your game-loving child? It’s not just colorful game worlds and entertaining game mechanics that fascinate players. Some video games have opaque profit motives with which games companies want to make money. Or there are game mechanics that can tempt players to play for far too long. We will introduce you to the most important mechanisms in this regard and show you setting options for devices and platforms to support your child in conscious gaming.
How are gamers kept in the game? Developer studios have come up with various methods to achieve this:
With such mechanics, game developers reinforce the “FOMO” effect (which stands for “fear of missing out”) and bind younger and less experienced players in particular to the game.
The independent test committees of the USK assess the extent to which these mechanics are present in the game and how they influence the gaming experience. The age rating depends on the implementation and the technical safety settings in the game. If these mechanics have a significant influence on the age rating, they are indicated as additional information in the license plate. This includes additional information such as “Pressure to play a lot” or “Increased purchase incentives”.
Playing is a popular pastime for children and young people. To ensure that your child learns how to handle games well and responsibly, set rules together with your child and set clear boundaries. In consultation with your child, use the parental options and parental control settings on gaming platforms and devices, which can be used to limit the playing time, for example.
We have collected the most common platforms and their settings for you here:
App permissions can also be managed for both operating systems. For example, you can switch off push notifications for game apps so that your child does not automatically receive reminders to continue playing.
In addition, many games also have child safety features. For example, in the popular online shooter Fortnite. You can find detailed instructions on devices, apps and programs on the medien-kindersicher platform.
As a general rule, parental control settings cannot protect against all dangers and risks. Only use such settings in consultation with your child and adapt them to their age and stage of development. Talk to your child about the tricks of the game industry, such as login rewards, and encourage them to use games consciously.
They hang neatly sorted in the supermarket, usually near the checkout: credit cards. Whether for telephone providers, Netflix, Amazon, Google Play or Steam – the purpose of these small plastic cards is always the same: they are a form of digital payment. Credit cards are also used in computer games. But how does it actually work?
The credit cards work according to the POSA procedure. POSA stands for “Point-Of-Sale-Activation”. This means that the printed code is only activated after payment at the checkout. The code can then be exchanged for credit on the respective online platform. Because it is virtually impossible to trace the original purchaser of the prepaid card afterwards, this type of payment is relatively anonymous.
The games market offers a wide range of paid games for smartphones, tablets and game consoles. POSA cards with credit for individual games such as Fortnite, Minecraft or Roblox as well as credit cards for gaming platforms such as Steam are available for sale. Many additional contents are offered in free games to change the gaming experience. These include, for example:
Popular games and their additional content are a way for children and young people to compete with each other. Whoever has the coolest, super rare skin can brag about it. This sometimes leads to a lot of pressure to consume because your child doesn’t want to look bad in their circle of friends. Therefore, set up rules in the family and work them out together with your child. Discuss with your child how much money they spend on gaming. A good way may be for your child to buy the prepaid cards – and therefore their in-game purchases – as part of their pocket money. This will help your child learn to manage their own money and understand the value behind it. One advantage of POSA cards is that there are no hidden cost traps such as in-game purchases when gaming, but only the limited amount of prepaid credit can be spent.
For children, video games, whether on their cell phones or consoles, are part of their everyday lives. Take your child’s interest in gaming seriously, even if you can’t understand their enthusiasm for some of the games.
The age rating of the USK is printed on the front of POSA-Cards. Whether in the supermarket, at the petrol station or at the kiosk – the sale of POSA-Cards is tied to the permissible age of the purchaser. It becomes more difficult if your child buys POSA-Cards online or obtains them through friends. Pay attention to the age ratings of games and make it clear to your child that the USK age ratings for gaming are there for their own protection. After consulting with your child, make settings for technical youth media protection on game consoles, apps and games.
In the digital world, children and young people are confronted with a variety of challenges. helpando is a trustworthy point of contact that provides support in difficult situations and informs children about their rights. This article introduces the digital help platform for children and young people.
helpando is a project of the KinderRechteForum (KRF). This non-profit organization has been campaigning for the realization of children’s rights for years. The helpando platform helps children and young people with any problem. The help team also intervenes when children’s rights are violated and informs children and young people about their rights in an understandable, child-friendly and empathetic way.
This uncomplicated help is available directly on the website or via WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook or Instagram Messenger. Phone calls and e-mails are also possible. The consultation is strictly confidential and free of charge.
Children and young people can also publish their case anonymously – and show others that they are not alone with their problem. The platform thus promotes the well-being and rights of children and young people.
helpando also helps to improve the situation of children and young people in a concrete and local way. Does your town need a new playground? Is there a lack of leisure facilities for young people? The school is still not barrier-free? The help platform can be used to post campaigns and draw attention to petitions. The helpando team provides support and contacts local authorities, for example.
The help platform also provides information about children’s rights and child-friendly events.
Take on a supportive and informed role and respect your child’s trust and autonomy. Help your child to seek support in difficult situations and show them digital help platforms such as helpando or similar services. Assist with making contact or seeking support if required.
Open and regular communication is crucial. Allow your child to express themselves freely and share worries, problems or concerns. This creates trust and makes it possible to react to potential challenges at an early stage.
Be aware that the online world is often a complex environment for children and young people. Respond sensitively and understandingly to your child’s challenges and problems.
Is that a person – or a character from a computer game? NPC streamers imitate characters from games on camera and are paid by their fans to do so. This is sometimes an expensive pleasure for the users.
The term “NPC” may sound familiar to you: it is one of the top 10 youth words of 2023. NPCs originally stood for “Non Playable Characters”. They are marginal characters in computer games who are basically unimportant and therefore can hardly do anything. They often only have individual movements or reactions in their repertoire and thus appear absurdly robotic.
On TikTok it is precisely these rigid, short movements and utterances that become the attraction in so-called “NPC streams”. TikTokers initially sit motionless in front of the camera in the live stream. When viewers send them gifts in the form of colorful stickers, they react to them – again and again, always the same, with the same actions.
What may sound boring at first, enjoys great popularity on TikTok and co. Children and young people enjoy watching the live streams and observing the digital NPCs. It is the same effect that “living statues” in the pedestrian zone have on us: The funny situation of people behaving like statues or game pieces. Plus the brief moment of shock and fun when the coin falls into the hat and the character suddenly starts making strange movements. Some people reach into their pockets and pull out a few coins.
The problem with the digital version is that the stickers that are given away to TikTokers cost real money. Some more, some less. However, children and young people cannot buy the stickers individually, only in packs. These must be paid for by credit card or via the app store. Sometimes they are not even fully aware of these costs. A few funny pictures are quickly given away – and suddenly a lot of money is spent. Very successful streamers earn up to four-figure sums for an NPC appearance on TikTok.
It is therefore important for parents:
And once everything is clear and safe, you can simply enjoy a stream together with your child!
The smell of cookies, shopping stress, shining children’s eyes: the holidays are approaching and digital devices and games are on the wish lists of many children and young people. What should parents consider before and after giving a gift? Between the years and during the vacations, there is also time for shared family media experiences. How can this be designed in a safe, age-appropriate and even creative way?
We have come up with something special for the pre-Christmas virtual parents’ evening at Elternguide.online: Various experts have put together their best suggestions and tips. Look forward to input on creative children’s websites, streaming, games, safe smartphones, fun family media challenges and much more! fragFINN, the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter (FSM), the JFF – Institut für Medienpädagogik in Forschung und Praxis, klicksafe and the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) are all involved!
Join us live and ask your questions – we will provide answers and be available for discussions!
Date: 04.12.2023 | Time: 5 to 6 pm
Melanie Endler (fragFINN)
Jo Schuler and Lidia de Reese (FSM e.V.)
Sophia Mellitzer (JFF)
Martin Bregenzer (klicksafe)
Maurice Matthieu (USK)
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.
The event will be held in German.
The Internet, especially social networks, floods us daily with countless news, messages and stories. In the process, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between truth and deception. Teaching children how to recognize false information on the Internet is a real challenge. This article offers practical advice on how to deal with disinformation and false news on the Internet and how to talk to your child about it.
The many news items, reports and stories that we encounter every day usually come from television programs, daily newspapers, people in our environment or well-known personalities. Many are spread by lesser-known people on the Internet and through messenger services like WhatsApp. However, the senders also include websites and people who intentionally spread lies or half-truths in order to cause confusion. They deliberately spread disinformation, rumors, or even hateful messages designed to stir up insecurity and deliberately deceive us.
It is not only difficult for children and young people to distinguish trustworthy news from fake news. Because often these fake news are so skillfully made that at first glance they look like serious news . This can be problematic, especially when it comes to political contributions with an extremist or populist background or when conspiracy theories are spread. Content that can unsettle or frighten younger children in particular is also problematic. Deep fake videos in particular look deceptively real. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the differences between disinformation, false news and satire.
Disinformation spreads especially when people are insecure anyway and even experts or politicians do not have answers to all questions – such as during the Corona crisis and the Ukraine war. Fake news often provides the answers you want and can help deal with uncertainty. Unfortunately, they are not true. Questions like “Are the vaccines safe, too?” or “Where does the virus come from?” are answered with inappropriate numbers and false facts. The problem with this is that the more often such articles are clicked on, the more often they are displayed – and people believe them to be true. That’s why it’s important to realize that not everything you read is necessarily true.
Determining whether it is indeed a hoax can be a tricky task. Therefore, it is helpful to follow clear steps to curb the spread of disinformation:
Check where the message came from and who wrote it. Is the author known and expert on the subject? Is it a reputable website?
Try to verify the message with different sources. Ask yourself how up-to-date the information is and check where the figures and data mentioned come from as well as the context in which they were collected.
Pay attention to the way the message is presented. Is the language serious and factual, or is emotional language and excessive capitalization used? Does the article contain catchwords such as “lying press” or similar provocative terms? Could the article be meant satirically?
Make sure photos and videos match the message and are up-to-date. Pay attention to captions and whether they actually represent what is being described or are from another context.
Discuss news and messages together as a family. Your child should understand that not everything on the Internet or sent via WhatsApp does not have to be true. If you check messages together, it can gradually learn to distinguish true from false. Ask for your child’s opinion and share your own thoughts. This will help you and your child be more confident and prepared to recognize and counter disinformation and fake news on the Internet.
Fake news spreads especially when many people forward or share it. Therefore, you should always consider whether a message can really be true. Here are some tips on where to check Fake News and how you and your child can learn to deal with it in a fun way:
What would it have looked like to have attended a US high school thirty years ago? This question is on the minds of many on the web right now. Under the hashtag #yearbookchallenge circulate on TikTok and Instagram numerous photos in the style of yearbook portraits from the 1990s. Behind the viral trend is a paid AI app.
In the Yearbook Challenge, users create photos of themselves in the style of an American yearbook from the 1990s using the app Epik – AI Photo Editor. The app uses artificial intelligence to rejuvenate the face and add different hairstyles, clothes and accessories. A challenge becomes who mixes his real yearbook photo under the new pictures and asks the followers which one is the original. Both celebrities and many influencers have already taken part in the trend.
“Just graduated from high school for $6.99! What do you think of the photos?”
. The allure of transforming yourself into an American high school teenager is tied to all the myths and dreams surrounding a school days in the US. Teenagers enjoy using AI apps to edit their own selfies so that they look like something out of a high school series. In addition, it is exciting for them to receive photos that look similar to the pictures from their parents’ youth. Many young people also emulate their role models on social media and want to get in on the current trend as well.
Several selfies are needed for photo editing. The South Korean app developer SNOW is behind the app Epik. Anyone who uploads photos agrees that they will be stored and processed by the app. In addition, personal data must be entered in the app. The AI-generated photos borrow heavily from gender stereotypes such as poses and clothing, and beauty ideals such as smooth skin and symmetrical faces. The AI app erases irregularities of the original images altogether. Full body photos in particular are greatly altered by making them slimmer. Similar to the use of face filters, participating in the Yearbook Challenge can lead to distorted self-perception and unhealthy comparison to supposedly perfect bodies of others.
The app can be fun and creative way to see yourself in different roles and ages. Why not try out different AI image generators together and talk about the results?
FIFA is the most famous and popular series of soccer video games. A new version has been published annually since 1993. Teams from real soccer leagues can be used or your own can be created. The successor to FIFA23 is called EA Sports FC 24 and is only released for ages twelve and up.
EA Sports FC (formerly: FIFA) is one of the most popular games among teenagers. This takes advantage of the popularity of well-known teams and soccer stars. Young people can take on the role of their favorite player and compete against other teams alone or with others in cross-platform online mode.
EA Sports FC is especially interesting for youngsters who are passionate about soccer anyway and can experience their favorite sport in yet another way. The game establishes a connection with the real teams and players who are idols for many soccer fans. Since FIFA 23, some women’s soccer leagues are also represented in the game.
Playing together with others and the competitive principle offer a special fun. Exciting are the clear rules that are adopted from the soccer field and must be implemented in the game environment: A foul is also a foul in the game. Various game modes, such as the manager mode, offer the possibility to shape the virtual soccer world beyond the game on the pitch. Here, for example, birthday parties or social media posts can be used to promote careers.
The most popular mode in the game is Ultimate Team. The attraction is that you can put together your own team of favorite players according to the trading card principle and compete with gamers from the worldwide community. The app allows young people to hone their skills on their favorite team away from the game via smartphone or PC. With EA Sports FC 24, women’s soccer players are now a part of the game mode. Women and men can also be set up together in a team.
Just as in a soccer game on the sports field or in the stadium, conflicts can also arise in computer games – for example, arguments or insults in multiplayer or online mode.
The criticism that a lot of money is at stake in professional soccer and that the sport is losing its importance is ignored at EA Sports FC. The idols and favorite teams are portrayed positively throughout and are role models. The commercialization of soccer is also evident in the online mode: With the necessary money, you can put together your dream team in the Ultimate Team game mode.
As an alternative for game rewards (e.g. for completed online tournaments), in-game currency can be purchased for real money, which can be invested directly in the game in new players, virtual goods or random-based player packages (so-called loot boxes). Lootboxes are controversial because their principle is reminiscent of games of chance: sometimes the players received in them are better, sometimes worse. This can tempt inexperienced gamers in particular to spend a lot of money in-game.
In terms of content, the game does not contain any aspects relevant to the protection of minors and has therefore been released by the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) without age restriction to date. Due to the amendment of the German Youth Protection Act (JuSchG), the USK’s review criteria were adjusted at the beginning of 2023. Since then, the German age rating system has taken into account both content relevant to the protection of minors and so-called potential usage risks. This means: Previously, the USK’s review panels could not consider any chat options, in-game purchases or lootboxes. Since the beginning of 2023 this is different – hence now the age rating from 12 years.
Furthermore, the reasons for an age rating have been transparently indicated by additional notes since this year. These can be found on the back of the games’ packaging and in online stores right next to the age label. The higher age rating for EA Sports FC 24 was justified by the cues “pressure to act” and “in-game purchases + random objects”.
EA Sports focuses on the sporting and playful character of the game. The provider sees the game as a social platform where young people can share their passion for soccer and build friendships. EA Sports earns considerable sums with microtransactions such as lootboxes. The manufacturer refers to them as “virtual surprise eggs” and sees no need for change.
Parents should realize that for kids and teens, EA Sports FC is all about having fun together. Play once together with your child and try to understand the fascination. This connects and at the same time provides an opportunity to exchange ideas about the critical aspects of soccer.
Check the age rating of the game. Note that the previous FIFA versions were still tested according to the old USK criteria and were therefore released without age restrictions, although they also contained chat options, in-game purchases or lootboxes. For younger children, the game may not be unproblematic.
As parents, you should be especially attentive when it comes to in-game purchases. Together with your child, consider whether these are necessary and – if desired – set an upper limit. Talk to your child about the dangers of gambling mechanisms. The popular game consoles also offer detailed protection settings in which purchases within a game can be prohibited.
Set a good example for your children by controlling your own playtime and making it appropriate. This can help promote healthy habits.
Terrible rocket attacks, traumatized war victims, families on the run – images of violence and destruction from the war in the Middle East and Ukraine dominate the news. On Elternguide.online you will find the following information on dealing with the topic of war in the media:
The current time is characterized by crises, new conflicts and wars are flaring up again and again. On the smartphone, in conversations in the playground or on TV – children also hear about these terrible events. Keeping children away from news altogether is neither possible nor advisable. Rather, take your child’s questions and concerns seriously and help him or her process stressful messages. In this article, we explain how to guide your child regarding news of war and where to find child-friendly information about war.
News programs for adults such as the Tagesschau are not suitable for children. The drastic images can trigger fears and the content is often difficult for children to understand. However, that doesn’t mean your child has to be kept away from news altogether. There are high-quality media offerings that enable children and young people to gain an overview of the current world situation. There, they receive comprehensible answers to their questions and safe, age-appropriate information on global crises. We present recommended websites, videos, audios and social media channels that are specifically tailored to the needs of young people in this article. For an extensive list of child-friendly news on the war in the Middle East as well as the war in Ukraine, visit Flimmo.
Social media users are getting unfiltered war content flushed into their timelines. Algorithms on Instagram, YouTube and the like mean that even children and young people are unintentionally exposed to content that they do not want to see or that is unsuitable for them. In addition, children and young people actively use social media offerings as a search engine and source of information. In addition to harrowing live reports from those affected in crisis areas, the posts also include disinformation, fake news and conspiracy myths. TikTok is particularly challenging in this regard. The endless feed of short videos encourages doomscrolling, and the platform is used particularly heavily for propaganda and influencing opinion. To learn how to help your child deal with war content on TikTok, check out this article.
Stay engaged with your child on current crisis issues, make appropriate news sources accessible to them, and don’t leave them alone with bad news. If your child is older, strengthen their information literacy skills and educate them about challenges with social media use like fake news. Be a role model by using news from verified sources yourself and use age-appropriate information services together with your child. Looking and empathizing is important. But if you notice that it’s getting too much for your child – consciously switch off and help your child avoid excessive digital stress.
Lawyers Legacy, or the “Mr. Lawyer Game,” is a pretty successful independent indie game, with over 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. The game is a fun little jump ‘n’ run game, in which the players take on the role of the well-known TikTok -Influencer Mr. Lawyer.
In Lawyers Legacy, game players take on the role of Tim Hendrik Walter aka “Mr.Lawyer,” a well-known influencer on TikTok . In his videos, he explains legal topics in a simple and understandable way, reaching many millions of clicks. In the intro of the game, Mr. Lawyer learns that some teachers have locked their students in the school so that they can learn even more. This is against the law and the game end must try to save the students as Mr. Lawyer.
The story is embedded in a fun jump ‘n’ run game that leads the players through the school building jumping and running in different levels. These elements are complemented by fights against teachers who try to stop Mr. Lawyer. In Lawyers Legacy the player can choose between four difficulty levels. The game is challenging even on the lowest difficulty, as controlling it via smartphone requires some practice.
With its jump ‘n’ run mechanics and two-dimensional visuals, Lawyers Legacy exudes the retro charm of popular classic games. Elements from school like mat carts in gym class are familiar to kids and teens and always makes them smile when they play.
The game was set to music by the influencer Mr. Lawyer himself. The game also features other well-known TikTokers, such as Laschakv, who makes funny videos about school. The game was developed by TikToker Yannick, who keeps his community up to date on the development of his games on social media channels. It is precisely this interactive process that makes the game so successful. Players can always share suggestions and criticism via TikTok and Co and thus participate in the development of the game.
In Lawyers Legacy, there are struggles with depictions of violence against teachers. However, the battles are kept very abstract, which older children and teenagers can usually cope with.
Those who want to play Lawyers Legacy on PC will pay €5.00 for the game on the Steam platform. Since the game is free for Android and iOS, there are always commercial breaks within the game. These promote unfiltered other apps and games from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store . These may include gambling mechanisms or the like, and some of them are not suitable for children. It is difficult to skip these commercials or click away after playing them.
Since late 2021, TikToker Yannick has been developing the Mr. Lawyer game and sharing the entire development process on social media. Yannick is an independent game developer, where the community comments at TikTok can help shape the development of the game. Currently, the game is still in the development phase and only the levels for physical education are ready and playable. More levels and bosses as well as a global multiplayer are planned.
While dealing with teachers in Lawyers Legacy may not be to your liking – show interest in your child’s favorite games and stay in conversation with them about them. Find out about the age ratings of video games and make an assessment of what kind of violent depiction your child can handle well. Lawyers Legacy is primarily aimed at teenagers and is not suitable for younger children due to the USK age rating of 12.
Even though the game has few levels at this early stage of development, it is important to discuss rules about media use within the family. Make binding agreements with your child about smartphone use and screen time.
There are always commercial breaks in the game. Educate your child about mechanisms of online advertising and encourage a conscious approach to advertising and dark patterns such as banner ads that are difficult to overcome. Deposit in the Google Play Store no payment options, so that your child can not accidentally buy an app advertised in the game.
The most popular messenger, even among children and teenagers, is WhatsApp. This is because communication is practical and easy, and many other people use it. Unfortunately, there are a few negative sides to the popular service.
WhatsApp is a free messenger. Registration requires a cell phone number and access to contacts’ phone numbers. After that, profile picture and profile name can be assigned.
The main function of WhatsApp is to send messages to people from your own contacts (address book) who also use the app. These can be text and voice messages, photos, videos, files, contacts as well as your own location. They can be sent to individuals or a whole group. Individual and group calls as well as video telephony are also possible. Among teenagers, sending emojis and GIFs is especially popular. They can also respond to individual messages with emojis. Self-deleting messages can be sent, which automatically disappear from the device after seven days. And there is the possibility to send photos and videos, which may be viewed only once and then disappear.
Via WhatsApp it is only possible to contact someone whose number you have. When receiving a message from an unknown number, the contact can be controlled using the “add” or “block” buttons. Calls from unknown numbers can be muted.
With the chat lock function, selected chats can be made virtually invisible. These then only appear in a certain category and are protected by a code, Face ID or fingerprint.
Young people like to use the app because it allows them to quickly get in touch with acquaintances and family members, since almost everyone uses WhatsApp. Teachers and classmates in class chats, grandparents as well as friends in other countries are just a click away. Users can exchange information with their contacts and see when they were last online. Via the profile picture and the so-called status they can share impressions from their life (similar to Instagram). Fast communication via voice messages is particularly popular among young people.
Especially the read receipt function (two blue check marks on a message) can put young people under pressure to always reply directly. Even though hundreds of messages are sometimes exchanged daily in a class chat, this can overwhelm and stress children and young people. In addition, fakenews is often spread via class chats. Pictures and messages are sent quickly. There is a risk that personal data, pictures and videos will be carelessly shared, redistributed or used for bullying. Also dubious sweepstakes, Chain letters or misleading notifications can be problematic – before all, even sexting.
Since there are hardly any privacy settings on WhatsApp, users have to be careful themselves about what content they send or post in their status. They should only be ones that everyone is allowed to read or see.
In addition, WhatsApp accesses a lot of information about the users, e.g., the entire contact list in the cell phone. This is how foreign contact data gets to WhatsApp and other people without being asked.
WhatsApp offers so-called “channels” under “News”. This is a type of group chat in which only the person who created it can write something. Channels are used by celebrities, influencers and companies to stay in touch with their target groups and fans. However, be careful: messages, images and videos that are not suitable for children and young people may also appear on channels.
WhatsApp, just like Instagram , belongs to the Meta group (formerly Facebook). The GTCs in force since 2021 inform that user data will also be passed on to companies for advertising purposes.
Certain security settings are supposed to improve the usage: People or phone numbers can be blocked; location tracking and read receipts can be deactivated. Users can limit the visibility of their own profile. Messages are exchanged in encrypted form, so they cannot be easily “hacked” by strangers. However, this only works in individual messages and when the backup – i.e. the data backup – is deactivated.
In early 2022, WhatsApp announced that group administrators will be able to delete messages from others. This function has not yet been implemented.
If your child is younger than 16, you must consent to their use of WhatsApp. Make sure your child uses Messenger responsibly. Explain to your child how they can protect their personal information. You should not share sensitive data or photos with unknown people
Help your child understand the privacy settings and configure them correctly… This can be done in the app itself or in the access rights management in the Android or iOS operating system (in each case under Settings). In the app, under the category “Privacy”, you can set who sees what and whether or not you want to be invited to groups by strangers. It may happen that certain functions can no longer be used if certain accesses are denied. The Privacy Check function gives a good overview of the settings. At www.medien-kindersicher.de there are Video instructions on how to safely set WhatsApp on your child’s smartphone.
Talk to your children about communication risks and how they can protect themselves from them. Encourage them to let you know right away if they feel they are not being treated right or are being bullied.
Encourage your child to only contact people they know in real life. Warn against adding unknown contacts. Also, be mindful of your child’s privacy and give your child the space he or she needs. Set a good example yourself by being responsible and respectful with your own digital activities.
Snapchat ist ein kostenfreier Messenger zum Versenden von Fotos und kurzen Videos. Die Besonderheit: Das lustige Selfie mit den Hasenohren oder ähnliche Bilder „verschwinden“ nach kurzer Zeit vom Bildschirm des Empfängers.
Mit Snapchat können Fotos und kurze Videos als Nachricht oder als Story an Kontakte versendet werden. Diese Snaps, also Schnappschüsse, sind nur für bis zu 24 Stunden sichtbar und „zerstören“ sich danach selbst. Die Fotos und Videos können mit unzähligen Filtern bearbeitet werden. Mit der „Memorys-Funktion“ können Nutzerinnen bestimmte Inhalte abspeichern. Neben den privaten Storys von Freunden gibt es Inhalte von Stars und Marken. Über die Funktion „Spotlight” lassen sich außerdem kreative Kurzvideos im TikTok-Stil veröffentlichen. Userinnen können über sogenannte „Snap Codes“ sowie über ihre Handynummer gefunden werden, wenn dies in den Einstellungen aktiviert ist. Das eigene Profil enthält nur Bilder und Videos, andere persönliche Angaben werden nicht gemacht. Mit der Kartenfunktion „Snap Map“ kann man sehen, wo sich die eigenen Kontakte gerade aufhalten.
Wer Snapchat nutzt, ist seit Februar 2023 automatisch mit dem Chatbot My AI befreundet. Dahinter steckt eine künstliche Intelligenz, die Fragen beantwortet, chattet und insgesamt wie ein „echter“ Freund daherkommt. Für die Nutzerinnen kann das ein nettes Spielzeug sein – ist jedoch auch mit Vorsicht zu genießen. Löschen lässt sich der Chatbot nur sehr umständlich und mit einem kostenpflichtigen Snapchat+-Abonnement.
Snapchat+ bietet für 4,49 Euro/Monat die Premium-Version, dort testen die Anbieter noch nicht veröffentlichte Features. Besonders für Kinder und Jugendliche ist das reizvoll: Es gibt mehr Optionen, den eigenen Avatar (genannt „BitMoji“) zu gestalten, und mehr Informationen über Freundeskonstellationen als mit einem regulären Snapchat-Konto.
Die App gehört zu den beliebtesten Anwendungen bei Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren. Teenager nutzen Snapchat sehr gern, um sich mit ihren Freundinnen auszutauschen. Dazu werden statt Text einfach Bilder und Videos versendet. Die Nutzung der Spaßfilter, Videos, die mit Musik unterlegt werden können, und selbst verschwindende Nachrichten machen den Reiz der App aus. Snapchat wirkt jugendlicher und verspielter als z. B. Instagram. Die Kommunikation erscheint Jugendlichen privater, da nur mit einzelnen oder in Gruppen Inhalte ausgetauscht werden. Auf der „Snap Map“ werden Personen als Avatare dargestellt, weshalb sie wie ein Spiel wirkt.
Alle Inhalte auf Snapchat zerstören sich nicht wirklich selbst, sondern sie lassen sich nach einer bestimmten Zeit nur nicht mehr aufrufen. Mit etwas technischem Know-how sind sie auf dem Gerät wiederherzustellen. Oder es wird einfach ein Screenshot gemacht – darüber wird der Versender des Bildes allerdings informiert. Trotzdem kann es problematisch werden, wenn Kinder und Jugendliche sehr persönliche – vielleicht sogar intime – Bilder und Videos von sich versenden und diese z. B. über Cybermobbing gegen sie verwendet werden. Durch die Vielzahl der versendeten Inhalte ist die Kontrolle darüber schwierig. Kinder und Jugendliche sollten daher genau wissen, wie sie die Melde- und Blockierfunktionen nutzen können. Das ist im Falle der unerwünschten Kontaktaufnahme besonders sinnvoll. Unter anderem deswegen ist auch die Funktion „Snap Map” kritisch zu sehen. Denn jedes Mal, wenn man Snapchat öffnet, wird auch die Snap Map aktualisiert. Und aus diesen Informationen lassen sich ziemlich viele Schlüsse ziehen wie Adresse, Schule oder Hobbys; auch von eher unbekannten Online-Freunden. Auch aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig, sich gut zu überlegen, wen man in den eigenen Kontakten aufnimmt.
Auch bestimmte Inhalte können für Jugendliche problematisch sein. Dazu zählen nicht altersgemäße Bilder ebenso wie unangemessene Werbung oder Snaps von Marken und Produkten.
Nutzende müssen sich an die Regeln der Plattform Snap halten. Die Nutzung von Snapchat ist Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren nur mit der Erlaubnis ihrer Eltern gestattet. Es erfolgt allerdings keine technische Prüfung der Altersangabe.
Generell ist es verboten, nicht jugendfreie Inhalte, wie z. B. pornografische Bilder, zu verbreiten oder zu bewerben. Minderjährige dürfen keine Nacktbilder oder sexuell aufreizende Inhalte von sich posten oder versenden. Sicherheitsprobleme können innerhalb des deutschsprachigen Sicherheitscenters des Dienstes gemeldet werden. Außerdem ist es möglich, andere Nutzende zu blockieren und zu melden. Sogenannte Content-Manager prüfen Verstöße gegen die Snapchat-Richtlinien.
Snapchat sammelt jede Menge Daten von seinen Nutzern und erläutert das sehr offen in seinen Datenschutzbestimmungen – auch, dass Daten teilweise an Dritte weitergegeben werden. Die Daten, die man über Snapchat versendet, werden bei der Übertragung verschlüsselt. Über das Family Center können Eltern in der App verschiedene Kontrollfunktionen nutzen.
Über das Family Center von Snapchat erhalten Eltern Möglichkeiten über Kontrollfunktionen, z.B. einen Überblick zu den Aktivitäten ihres Kindes oder die Einrichtung von Inhaltskontrollen in der App. Um sich mit dem Konto des Kindes zu verbinden, wird allerdings ein eigener Snapchat-Account benötigt. Jugendliche müssen der Verbindung auch selbst zustimmen.
Wenn Ihr Kind die App gern nutzen möchte, sollten Sie unbedingt über mögliche Gefahren sprechen. Regeln Sie, wer die geteilten Inhalte sehen kann und wer nicht. Gehen Sie gemeinsam die Einstellungen durch. Erklären Sie Ihrem Kind, dass versendete Bilder per Screenshot vom Empfänger abgespeichert werden können. Es ist dringend zu empfehlen, dass Jugendliche nur Freundinnen und Freunde zu ihrer Liste hinzufügen, die sie tatsächlich kennen. Eine gute Übersicht zum sicheren Umgang mit Snapchat bietet Jugendlichen das Angebot Handysektor.
Sprechen Sie über die Funktion Snap Map: Was bedeutet die Sichtbarmachung des eigenen Standorts, welche Folgen und Risiken gehen damit einher und wird die Funktion überhaupt gebraucht? Das Teilen des Standortes kann auch unbewusst passieren (beim Öffnen der App). Dies kann im sogenannten „Geistmodus“ (Ghost Mode) verhindert werden. Auch kann der App die Berechtigung entzogen werden, auf den Standort zuzugreifen. Wenn eine Freundin Ihres Kindes Snapchat+ nutzt, sollte besonders darauf geachtet werden, die Tracking-Funktion zu deaktivieren oder die Person zu blockieren.