Netflix is one of the most popular streaming portals among families. We explain what to look out for if your child wants to watch movies or series there.
Netflix is a video streaming service where you have unlimited access to a huge selection of movies and series with your own account. The company has the rights to use them and also produces some films and series itself. Anyone who wants to use Netflix has to pay between €4.99 and €17.99 per month. In the cheapest subscription model, advertising runs in between. Those who pay more can stream on up to four devices simultaneously. Up to five profiles can be created per account with different settings, e.g. age rating, age rating, subtitle display or playback settings. The movie and series suggestions in the profile also adhere to these settings, but what is actually suggested is calculated by an algorithm from the individual user’s viewing behavior.
Netflix offers content for all ages. For the movies and series, the streaming service adopts the existing FSK rating. If there is no FSK rating, the age ratings are made by Netflix itself, which must comply with German law.
Due to the large amount of content available, there is also a myriad of content for older teens (16+) and adults (18+) that can be scary and problematic for children and teens. Parental controls can be set up by entering a PIN for selected age ratings or specific movie/series titles. In addition, profiles can be protected with a PIN and special children’s profiles can be set up.
Unlike analog, linear television, you can theoretically keep watching indefinitely. The appeal of spending a lot of time on Netflix is therefore high. Here, personal responsibility is required to limit one’s own viewing time . What is already difficult for some adults is even more difficult to control for children and even teenagers.
Netflix displays the respective age rating for movies/series in various places, on the overview page for the movie, in the detailed information or as an overlay at the beginning when playing. Also, individual titles can be locked for individual profiles. These will then also no longer appear in the search or in the suggestion list. In addition, individual profiles – e.g. the profile for adults or older children – can be assigned a PIN so that younger children do not have access. It is also possible to create children’s profiles. This gives you, as parents, the option of making settings appropriate to the age of your child. For example, you can also track what content your child has watched in the last few days or you can prevent the next episode of a series from playing automatically.
Account sharing, i.e. the use of an account by several people at the same time, is possible to a limited extent depending on the subscription. However, this is only allowed with people who live in the same household. Violations of this condition of use are to be subject to charges from 2023.
Pay attention to the age ratings of movies and series. Use the child or parental control options by creating appropriate profiles and protecting them with a secure PIN . This is the only way to ensure that your child cannot end up in the adult section from the child profile.
Only display titles suitable for children in the children’s profile; these are based on the age ratings 0, 6, 12, 16 or from 18 years. Consider whether automatically playing more episodes really makes sense for you. Also, you can have animation effects reduced in the child profile when navigating on the TV. When watching on portable devices, feel free to use the screen lock so that smaller children in particular cannot adjust anything on the device themselves.
Keep an eye on your child’s screen time. It’s best to set media rules together – and set a good example yourself. Media time should be just one of many other non-media activities. If you’re not sure how much time your child should spend in front of the TV or laptop, check out our video: “How much media time is too much?”
Ask your child about his or her favorite series or movies, and it’s best to watch them together so that your child doesn’t feel alone even during scary scenes. It can also turn the shared experience into a beautiful ritual .
A well-stocked store that offers many useful applications for Apple products: the Apple App Store. It entices users with numerous apps, games, and media content from a seemingly endless selection. Find out what the Apple App Store is all about and how you can set it up to be childproof in this article.
The Apple App Store is a digital platform where users can download and install iOS apps for their Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It was introduced by Apple in 2008 and has had a significant impact on the app development industry and mobile ecosystem ever since.
From games and entertainment apps to useful tools and productivity apps, the App Store offers a wide range. Users can search for apps, read ratings and reviews, buy apps or download them for free, and sign up for subscriptions. Specifically, there are ‘Today’ (apps and news selected by Apple), ‘Games’ (different types of games), ‘Apps’ (apps by category), ‘Arcade’ (exclusive games within the Apple Arcade subscription) and the general ‘Search’ categories for this on the home screen. When browsing, however, advertised apps are preferred. This means that even when searching for a specific app, the app you are looking for will first appear under a promotional post.
For developers, the App Store provides a platform to market. To do this, the apps must meet certain Apple guidelines and requirements regarding privacy, security, and features that enhance user experience. Each app is pre-screened for this by Apple before release. Some female developers criticize the high fees Apple charges for selling apps in the Apple App Store, while others have concerns about the review and approval processes.
Games, coloring and drawing apps, music and creative apps, entertainment apps and learning apps – the Apple App Store offers children and young people numerous options. Many of the apps are interactive, entertaining and promote cognitive development, language development or fine motor skills.
There is a separate category in the Apple App Store for children up to the age of twelve: it is called ‘Kids’. The apps there are usually kid-friendly and educational. However, the category is not intuitive to find. To do this, you must enter ‘children’ in the search box. This is the only way to land in the children’s section with subcategories.
The age ratings are set by Apple itself based on the content of the app and the target audience. Factors such as violence, sexual content, drug use, or gambling are considered. Each app is then given an age rating of 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+ or no clearance. Apple uses its own guidelines and standards for this.
Strict guidelines for all apps for children should ensure their safety: child-friendly content. No use of tracking technologies. No advertising. No in-app purchases without parental permission. Easy navigation and operation. No links to outside websites or social media without parent permission. Educational Benefits.
You can also adjust the settings on their Apple devices to restrict access to certain apps or content and ensure that your child can only access kid-friendly apps.
Tips on how to safely set up your child’s smartphone are available in this article.
Star Trek, Top Gun, Paw Patrol – the streaming service Paramount+ offers a wide range of movies and series of various genres for adults and children. In this article, we will take a closer look at the service and present its main settings for children.
The streaming service of the US media group Paramount has a selection of movies and series to offer. Including blockbusters such as The Lost City or La La Land, exclusive series such as Star Trek: Strange New Worlds or Yellowstone and live sporting events such as NFL or UEFA Champions League games.
The platform is divided into a separate category for children’s programming and offers a wide selection of animated series, children’s films and live-action programs such as all seasons of Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants and Spotlight. There is also original content produced specifically for children, such as Kamp Koral.
The price for the streaming service is lower than that of the competition. The catalog is still relatively thin compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and the like, but certainly extensive enough and continues to grow weekly.
Without parental controls, minors have unlimited access to all content on the streaming service – including content that is not suitable for their age and developmental level, or that may frighten or overwhelm them. Therefore, use the option to protect profiles with a PIN and set up children’s profiles.
Like every streaming service, Paramount+ is also incredibly appealing with the option of being able to keep watching indefinitely. In series, one episode after the next is played automatically. It is at least as difficult for children and young people as it is for adults to act on their own responsibility here. Make your child aware of this and set a good example. Additionally, you can limit the screen time in the children profiles.
It is also important to note that children are not always able to recognize the differences between fiction and reality. So take time to guide your child and talk about content your child sees on Paramount+ and help them understand what’s going on.
Paramount+ offers the possibility to protect profiles with a PIN and to set parental control settings. However, these settings are disabled by default. Parents must do this independently.
The settings are based on age ratings. Paramount does not specify which criteria are used for the releases.
Playbrush Kids is a smart sonic toothbrush with interactive games app designed specifically for kids to make brushing teeth a fun experience. The app uses the gamification approach to make brushing teeth a game that kids love to play. We explain what’s behind it.
With this app you can play games, track brushing activities and learn how to brush teeth properly. To do this, the app uses gamification technology, a trend in the technology industry, especially in healthcare. The idea is to use playful elements such as points, rewards or competitions to motivate people to improve their health and well-being. Playbrush Kids aims to promote healthy tooth brushing habits in children, for good oral hygiene and better long-term dental health.
The children’s toothbrush acts as a game controller – either with a special toothbrush attachment (Playbrush Smart), which is placed on a conventional manual toothbrush, or as an electric sonic toothbrush (Playbrush Smart Sonic). These are equipped with sensors that detect the movements of the toothbrush and transmit them wirelessly to the app.
The children then have to complete various tasks while brushing their teeth, such as fighting little monsters or collecting objects. The app tracks the child’s progress and offers rewards for good performance. It also reminds how long and how often children should brush their teeth. Playbrush Kids was developed by dentists.
For children, Playbrush Kids can be very appealing as it allows them to experience brushing their teeth as an interactive and fun game. You can play different games and unlock characters, which makes the experience even more interesting. Children can track their own progress as they clean and feel proud when they achieve their goals. Gamification elements such as points and rewards provide additional motivation for most children.
Playbrush Ltd is the company behind the app. They describe it as an innovative solution to help children improve their dental health by making brushing a fun and entertaining experience. They emphasize that the app is secure and complies with data protection laws.
Playing is fun – and it should be. Support your child in not neglecting or overdoing tooth brushing. A mutually agreed time limit can help. If you have any concerns, please talk to your dentist.
The app’s reward system should be seen more as a support. Also encourage your child to take care of their dental health on their own initiative. So it can develop a lasting healthy habit.
Interact with your child – together, mouth music, brushing technique training and oral health quizzes become even more fun.
On long car journeys, on train journeys, or simply cozily at home on the sofa – the Tiptoi interactive learning system is popular with children and parents. We explain the many functions offered by the hearing pen.
The Tiptoi is a reading or listening pen. If you tap the stylus on a picture or text in a book provided for this purpose, suitable sounds, speech or music will sound. Stories, games and toys are thus brought to life. To do this, you need to download the corresponding audio files from the Internet in advance. For the old generation of the hearing pen (for 3 years and older), you have to connect the pen to a computer to do this. With the new version of the hearing pen (for ages 2 and up), this all works via the charging station with WLAN connection; it is completely independent of the parental computer.
The levels of experience in the books or puzzles are divided into four categories:
The reading pen can be used not only in combination with books, but also with games, a globe or puzzles. It is recommended for children from 2 years. Products for different age groups are offered.
The earlier devices (since 2018) for children over the age of three have an integrated microphone so that children can record their own sounds and speech. The newer device (from 2022) for children from the age of two has no microphone and therefore no recording function.
The multiple uses of the listening pen offer an interactive and engaging way to learn. This encourages the children to become active and to foster their curiosity. By playing with Tiptoi books and toys, children can improve their cognitive skills and develop their language, math and social skills.
Also, the listening pen allows children to discover the world around them in a new way. You can immerse yourself in a variety of topics and learn more about history, science, or geography. For example, not only is it explained what the hoot of an owl sounds like, but you can also listen to it. Even several times. The operation of the pen is simple and its use is adapted to the motor skills of a child aged from about 2 years.
The products designed specifically for children over 2 years are usually simpler. They have larger and more colorful images, as well as less text and more complex interactive features. They aim to stimulate the senses and curiosity of younger children and develop their fine motor skills.
The products for ages 4 and up are usually more complex and sophisticated in terms of interactive features and learning materials. They are often designed with more text and more challenging content to give children a deeper understanding of topics such as history, science, or math.
According to Ravensburger, Tiptoi inspires and motivates to play and learn! It is an innovative learning and creative system with which children discover the world through play. Its child-friendly design and high-quality content, as well as the wide range of possible uses, are particularly highlighted here.
With the Create recording function, the provider promises to promote your child’s language skills and self-confidence.
The listening pen is only compatible with the corresponding Ravensburger products. The cost of the pen and matching books should therefore not be underestimated. The pen alone already costs about 39 euros. However, you can choose from a variety of products in different price ranges, which are also always a nice gift idea.
With the older version of the pen (for ages 3 and up), audio content can only be loaded onto the device using Tiptoi Manager, a computer program from Ravensburger. Computers and Internet access are therefore a prerequisite. The recording function cannot be used with all Tiptoi products, but only with Create products.
For more on what to consider when using family read aloud pens, check out our general post on this.
Internet, telephone, streaming services, media libraries, television – to entertain ourselves and communicate, we resort to many different offerings at home. MagentaTV is a Deutsche Telekom platform that combines everything in one package. We present the offer and explain what parents should look out for.
MagentaTV is a bundled offering of Internet, telephony, and a selection of TV channels and video streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, some of which cost extra. The platform can be used on various devices such as SmartTVs, smartphones, tablets and computers. Those who do not have an Internet or phone contract with Deutsche Telekom can access TV channels and video streaming services via the paid MagentaTV app. In addition to the basic offers, various packages can be added. Extensions are available, for example, for special subject areas such as sports, languages such as Turkish or Polish, or target groups such as children and families.
To use MagentaTV safely, child and youth protection settings can be made on all devices on which the service is used: on smartphones, tablets and computers, on the SmartTV, the MagentaTV box and the media receiver. An adult PIN prevents children and teenagers from accessing content that is not approved for their age. If content does not have an age rating from the FSK , streaming services must make the assessment themselves. It is not always obvious how this is done. In addition to the PIN, a purchase block and a hiding of erotic content can be set up. You can find detailed settings for parental control with MagentaTV at medien-kindersicher.de.
Watching movies, series or TV shows has a great appeal for children and young people. Whether they use it to inform themselves, entertain themselves, or relax after kindergarten and school, watching videos is often an integral part of their everyday lives as a media ritual. A comprehensive offering like MagentaTV can entice your child to watch endless videos. Also, your child may be shown content that is not age-appropriate. Therefore, note the following points:
The range of video games is now huge, so it’s easy to lose track between, for example, adventure or action games, learning and strategy games, simulations or role-playing games. As a parent, you may feel uneasy about allowing your child to play video games. After all, you always hear that they can be addictive or have other negative effects. But digital games can also serve important functions. As is usually the case with media use, the same applies here: The level and selection of content are crucial for responsible use. Age ratings provide some initial guidance.
Worldwide, Germany has the most binding legal rules for the testing and sale of video games. The protection of minors plays a major role here. Because, as with most entertainment, parents should make sure that video games are safe for the child’s age. The age ratings of the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) provide orientation.
For you as a parent, it is important to know that the USK ratings do not inform whether a game is already manageable or understandable for children. Nor do they constitute pedagogical recommendations. The USK age rating indicates whether the game is harmless from the point of view of youth protection, i.e. whether it does not contain any content that is harmful to the respective age group.
These USK labels can be found on every game package, every data carrier and usually at every reputable online store. The following age ratings are available:
Since January 2023, additional information has been provided in addition to the age ratings. These can be found on the back of the game packaging and in the USK title database. The notes provide information about the reasons that led to the age classification (such as “violence”, “pressure to act” or “drugs”). And they indicate which possible aspects of use you should pay attention to (such as “in-game purchases” or chats”). Here, the individual notes are explained in more detail.
For Europe, there is still the age rating of PEGI (Pan European Games Information) with the age levels 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. Additional symbols indicate whether certain games address scary, violent or sexual content and the like. You can find out more about this at Spieleratgeber NRW.
IARC stands for “International Age Rating Coalition” and is a worldwide system for age rating online games and apps. Since these are becoming more and more important and the Internet knows no national borders, the institutions responsible for age ratings from different countries have joined forces and developed this age rating system. This includes a questionnaire that game developers of online games and game apps can use to independently rate the content of their products. In each country, this information results in a license plate that complies with the youth protection rules in force there. In Germany, this is done by the USK. Therefore, you can find the USK notices on many online platforms that use this system, such as Google Play Store, Nintendo eShop, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store and Meta Quest Store. However, you should not rely on this alone, as the USK only checks the game developers’ self-assessments on a random basis or in response to complaints. Additionally, use game reviews from educational platforms, such as www.spielbar.de or Spielerratgeber NRW.
Observe your child as he or she interacts with the content. There are children who do not yet understand content well, even though they are already suitable according to the age recommendation. There is nothing wrong with that, every child is different and develops differently. Just see if other offers are more suitable.
The media libraries of the public broadcasters also offer a wide range of entertainment and education for children. Parents will find numerous programs and series produced especially for children. In this article, we take a look at these media libraries, what they have to offer children, and what parents should keep in mind.
The ARD-Mediathek for children offers Parents a wide range of content suitable for children, such as “Die Sendung mit der Maus,” “Bibi und Tina” and “Wissen macht Ah! They are generally suitable for children between the ages of three and twelve and offer a good opportunity to introduce children to topics such as nature, technology and the environment in a playful way. “The Elephant Show” is a popular format for younger children. Mediathek has a wide range of news programs especially for young viewers. Children can follow current events there in a form suitable for children and find out about world events.
ZDFtivi is ZDF’s children’s and youth program with series, films, fairy tales, knowledge, documentaries and entertainment for children, such as “Bibi Blocksberg,” “The Jungle Book” and “JoNaLu. The program is mainly for children aged six to 13. Especially for older children and teenagers, there are, for example, “Die Pfefferkörner” and “Schloss Einstein” or learning programs such as “PUR+”. The media library also offers a wide range of interactive games and learning apps that teach children through play. ZDFchen offers videos for media beginners and preschoolers up to the age of six, such as “Zigby the Zebra” and “Lieselotte”.
KiKA is a joint channel of ARD and ZDF and is aimed at children aged three to 13. In the KIKA media library there are a wide selection of content suitable for children and young people, such as children’s films, series, documentaries and reports. It also offers content such as interactive games, craft and cooking instructions, and background information on shows. The online platform is not only an offer for children, but also for parents, educators and teachers with valuable material to accompany the programs, information on dealing with media and game ideas.
The funk -Mediathek is a joint service of ARD and ZDF with content for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 29. It offers a wide selection of videos, reports and web series on topics such as politics, society, pop culture and science.
Also the regional programs like BR Children, MDR Children and SWR Children’s Network offer online children’s programming: For example kinder.WDR.de programs such as “Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten” and “Die Sendung mit der Maus.
All media libraries offer the option of downloading programs and watching them offline. The public broadcasters also offer apps with additional offerings for children, such as the ZDFtivi app or the KIKA player. However, apps are not discussed in this article.
All videos in the media libraries for children are suitable for them. There are no advertisements or solicitations to buy. However, children can enter the adult area of the media libraries from there, even if a warning sign appears when they leave the children’s area. In the adult section, there is content that is not suitable for children. In addition, children can also access external sites on the Internet or other media libraries on the Smart TV from the media libraries. You should therefore not let children under twelve surf without supervision.
Content that is not released until the age of 16 or 18 can only be accessed in the evening (after 8 or 10 p.m.) in all media libraries of the public broadcasters.
Make sure you have a healthy amount of screen time. This can vary depending on the child. Especially do not let younger children watch TV uncontrolled and pay attention to age recommendations and ratings. Watch together if possible, so you can answer questions and catch on if your child gets scared. Together, set rule for usage and choose which programs will be watched together with your child.
For many people, it’s hard to imagine everyday life without the online mail order company Amazon. Its video streaming portal Prime Video has the second-largest number of subscriptions after Netflix. Colloquially, the service is also called Amazon Prime, and several offers fall under this.
As with other video streaming services, Prime Video offers the ability to watch a variety of movies and series without being tied to a specific time or location. To do this, you have to register at amazon.de with your own Prime user account for a fee.
The movies and series can be watched via a web browser, the Prime Video app, or Internet-enabled devices, such as a smart TV device, game console, or smartphone. The subscription includes numerous movies and series for free availability, including formats produced specifically by Amazon. In addition, titles can be rented for a fee, for example, completely new series seasons. Amazon Channels offers the option of adding topic-specific pay channels such as Eurosport Player. Sharing a membership is not possible with Prime Video.
Most videos are marked with the legal age ratings of the FSK (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft). There is a separate section for children’s content. The series and movies that can be found there are divided into the age groups 2 – 5 years, 6 – 8 years and 9 – 11 years, among other categorizations. In order to be able to watch video content with FSK18 ratings, you must prove that you are of age with the help of your ID or passport and a bank account.
Prime Video offers some safety settings for children:
No matter what age – Prime Video has the hottest series and movies for everyone. Without parental controls, minors have unlimited access to content that is not appropriate for their age, may frighten them or overwhelm them. Many series and movies have an FSK age rating, but not all. Children and young people can watch these without hindrance, as the parental controls do not apply here.
As with many streaming offers, the appeal of constantly continuing to watch is also very high with Prime Video. You should make your child aware of this and set a good example.
By its own account, Prime Video uses the FSK ratings as the basis for its parental control settings. If no FSK ratings are available for very recent films or series episodes, for example, there is no information on the website as to whether and according to what criteria the age ratings are made by the company itself or by third-party providers.
Want to integrate Prime Video into your everyday family life? Then you should pay attention to the age ratings of the movies and series, set up a child profile, set the child or parental control options accordingly and use PIN codes. Protect your user profile with a secure PIN (no birth dates or simple sequences like 1234). Otherwise, your child may switch between profiles and go from the child profile to the adult profile.
To make sure the content is really appropriate for your child, preview the movies or series your child wants to watch. Watching a movie together can be a nice family experience. Especially with younger children (at least up to ten years) this is generally recommended, so that your child does not feel left alone with scary or questionable content.
Also, make sure that prime video and media use at all should be just one activity among many other pastimes for your child.
In our video series “You ask – we answer,” our media educator Melanie Endler explains why you shouldn’t leave children alone when watching series:
You can find more videos here.
Children and young people should be able to navigate the Internet safely. This is legally regulated by the Protection of Minors in the Media Act, among other things. At the same time, the topic of online safety is part of parents’ media education responsibilities. Solutions for the technical protection of minors from harmful media are a building block for guiding children between protection, empowerment and participation when using the Internet. In this article, we will give an overview of the most important settings, apps and programs.
You would like to introduce technical youth media protection at home? Then don’t do it secretly. Talk to your child about it, explain the app or program, and make adjustments together. Think carefully about your and your child’s need for protection. Acknowledge your child’s needs and find age-appropriate solutions. Adapt the measures to your child’s current stage of development and media use behavior. But the most important point is: Technical protection can support media education, but not replace it! Keep an open dialog with your child, explain the risks to him or her and work together to establish media rules in the family.
Always on – always being on your smartphone or tablet can be exhausting and distracting from what else there is to do. With the help of screen time, you and your child can check how long you spend in which apps. Various setting options, such as the app timer, the concentration mode or the idle time, can also help to put the device away again or not to be distracted by certain digital temptations.
The children’s search engine fragfinn.de operates the browser app fragFINN. The Child Protection app provides a safe surfing space with access to vetted, child-friendly websites for children ages 6 to 12. You can also make settings when dealing with other search engines such as bing, ecosia or google to support safe searching on the web and filter out inappropriate content.
The advantage to children’s accounts is that you can create a separate account for each of your children and equip it with individual, age-appropriate settings. A child account with Microsoft Family Safety lets you set screen time settings, content filters, activity reports, cost controls and more for Android devices, laptops running Windows 10 and 11, and Xbox. Be sure to strike the right balance between protection and control, and discuss the settings with your child. Those who use many Google offers can create a child account via the Google Family Link and thus control their own child’s smartphone use. You should carefully consider the extent to which this makes sense for your teenager.
If you prefer to be independent of providers and operating systems, you can install various programs for technical youth media protection. JusProg is a state-approved youth protection program that is free of charge, data-saving and ad-free. Salfeld Parental Control is available for a fee and focuses on time limits and filters, as well as connecting parent and child devices.
Did you know that you can child-proof your router, such as the Fritz!BOX? You can create access profiles, set online times and block Internet sites. Game consoles like Xbox and Switch are also equipped with parental control settings that you can set up individually. The main issues here are age limits and, in the case of video games, limits on the length of games.
If your child likes to be on social media platforms, you should make settings together in the apps, e.g. for communication, contact and profile visibility. Explain to your child how to report and block contacts and content. If your child is still young, he or she can use TikTok in accompanied mode. As a parent, you have the option to restrict various functions. On Instagram, you can get insight about contacts and followers through parent supervision and set time limits. Snapchat ‘s Family Center allows an overview of one’s child’s usage without being able to access the content of messages and posts. With YouTube, you can either set up restricted access or use the child-friendly alternative YouTube Kids.
With streaming services like Netflix, the main concern is that your child only has access to age-appropriate movies and series. Many, but not all, of the contents are FSK-approved and are marked with age ratings. Set up a separate profile for each of your children and protect your profile with a secure PIN.
You know your child best. You know what he or she likes to do with media and where your child should be especially protected. Keep your knowledge of parental control settings and programs up to date. Use help services such as medien-kindersicher.de. There you’ll find suitable settings for every device and operating system, for every app, every hot game and social media offering, according to age group. Use technical youth media protection to support your media education. Accompany your child’s media use, set a good example, and encourage your child’s media literacy.
Did you know that your child can hear even before he or she is born? The ear is the first sensory organ to be formed during pregnancy.
Hearing also plays a special role in baby and toddlerhood. Babies can recognize mom’s voice at an early age. Hearing is important for perceiving the environment and learning to speak. Since young children cannot yet read, they are especially dependent on hearing. They like to be read to or listen to radio plays. As soon as children begin to speak, they narrate to themselves while playing.
Especially at kindergarten age, children can be inspired with audio media. It doesn’t always have to be movies and videos. From the age of about 3 years, you can produce small audio games together or play games with sounds. This trains accurate listening and helps to learn to speak well.
With small children (about 3 years), you can just take a walk and listen carefully: What do we hear? What actually makes a noise?
If your child is already a little older (from 4 years) you can go on a sound safari together. Every smartphone has a built-in microphone, and many also have an app for recording voice memos. Go outside, e.g. to the forest, collect all kinds of sounds together. When you listen to it afterwards, do you or your child recognize what the sounds were?
Produce your own radio play (suitable for children from approx. 4 years). Almost every child has a favorite book or story. Make a little radio play out of it together. Read the dialogues with divided roles and think about how to implement sounds. What does it sound like when it’s raining or storming outside? An overview of how you can create sounds yourself can be found here.
If the weather doesn’t invite you to go outside, your child can solve audio puzzles at audiyoukids.de or Planet Schule, set a story to music themselves or put together an audio play. Accompany your child in this process – especially if he or she cannot yet read. Older children (elementary school age and up) also learn to edit sound recordings here.
Also, check out the reading tips further down this page. There you will find more ideas for creative media projects and more.
Then let’s get to the ears and have fun listening and making sounds together!
Many families no longer rely on linear television, i.e. watching what’s on. Instead, people use their smart TVs or tablets to access streaming services – whenever they have the time and the inclination to watch TV.
The offer for children and young people is virtually unlimited and available at any time with streaming services and media libraries. Children watch movies and series partly on their own. This makes it all the more important to set the services so that they can only access content that is appropriate for children and their age.
Keep track of how much your child watches. Binge-watching can also occur among children and young people if they are not accompanied in their media use.
Youth protection measures are intended to prevent children and young people from having experiences that are inappropriate for their age. These are, for example, content that may frighten or disturb them, or unwanted contact by strangers. Streaming services must use certain settings to ensure that their services are safe for children and young people to use.
Each streaming service has its own parental control settings, which are adjusted from time to time. Therefore, we can only reflect a current status (December 2022) of the most popular services in each case.
Regularly inform yourself about current functions and parental control settings of “your” streaming provider. Many have their own information portals for parents.
You can find the parental controls in Prime Video either in your Amazon account via the browser (Gear: Settings) or in the app under “My Area”. Here you can set up a PIN, after entering which secured content can still be viewed. In addition, purchase restrictions and playback restrictions can be activated with the parental control. Parents can create their own children’s area on Amazon via the paid additional subscription Amazon Kids+. Read more about how to set up the Amazon parental control here.
Disney+ also allows children’s profiles to be created with a child-friendly user interface. In these, only content with age ratings from FSK 0 up to and including FSK 6 is displayed. However, it is not possible to specify preferences for certain age ratings of content. A PIN can be used to prevent the creation of new profiles. Read more on the Disney+ help page.
ARD and ZDF have implemented youth protection in two ways: Films, series and programs that are not suitable for children and young people under the age of 16 or 18 can only be watched without registration from 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. (until 6 a.m.). There is also a children’s section that displays only content suitable for children. As soon as this is left, there is a hint. Those who set up an account to use the media libraries can also make additional individual settings, such as additional age ratings, setting a code, and creating a personalized media library. More about this on the help pages of ARD and ZDF.
With Netflix Kids environment, you can create one or more kids profiles for Netflix. This parental control allows you to set age ratings for a profile, block individual titles, set up a PIN, and enable or disable autoplay. With a child profile, no changes can be made to the own or a
other profile can be made. The Netflix Kids environment does not only apply to movies and series, it can also be used to restrict access Netflix games. You can get step-by-step instructions on how to set up parental controls on the corresponding Netflix help page.
Technical parental control settings are particularly useful when children know about them. Talk to your child about possible dangers and the goal of the settings. You should regularly consider whether settings can be adjusted – together with your child.
Despite a parental control, your child needs companionship in their media use. Be approachable when questions or fears arise. And watch your child when they watch videos. Choose content together in advance – then you can let your child watch an episode alone. When you set media rules together, you support the promotion of media literacy.
You can read more about the setting options and detailed instructions in the klicksafe guide.
If you’re looking for good movies or podcasts for kids, you’ll quickly land on Kixi. The platform is a streaming service with a very special mission: Because on Kixi there are offers exclusively for children.
Kixi touts “educational children’s movies” on its website. These are selected by an editorial team. At Kixi there is a good selection of offers for children. These include classics such as “The Snow Queen” or stories by Astrid Lindgren as well as new on-screen heroes, e.g. the “Dragon Coconut”. Users can choose from four categories:
Under “Audio” there is a selection of audio plays and audio books. Educational offerings include educational films from the school sector, what-is-what offerings or factual films such as “Der kleine Medicus,” but also learning series that convey knowledge content with a playful character. The offers are sorted by age (the FSK rating applies here) or genre, so that you can quickly find what you are looking for.
Kixi can be viewed directly in a browser via kixi.de, but it also works as an app, via Magenta TV or via other smart TV apps. Registration with an email address is required to use Kixi.
In fact, the selection at Kixi is considerable and well sorted. Children can look, listen and learn there largely without hesitation. Since the app is ad-free, there is no risk that young viewers will click on commercial links or come across content that is actually only intended for adults.
By sorting by age, it quickly becomes clear which offers are also suitable for the youngest. Since the range is very clearly laid out, children can easily find their way around on their own. When on the road, the offline function can be used to access the program even without Internet access.
Even if the offer is safe for children, they need company even with the best program.
Select movies, audios, etc. with your child to make sure the preschooler doesn’t accidentally browse the “12+” category. In addition, it is important to jointly define rules of use and to discuss the content viewed with each other. Children have a lot of need to talk even after watching harmless films and must have a suitable contact person for this.
If you use the free offer first, you should remember to disable in-app purchases. Otherwise, your child will very quickly end up on paid content and may accidentally sign up for a subscription.
After school on the sofa, the TV on and zapping through the program, or specifically on Sunday mornings for the “Sendung mit der Maus” – that’s what TV looked like for many adults in their childhood. Today, many families have TVs that can access various streaming services and other online content. This entails not only quasi-infinite possibilities, but also some risks.
“Smart” comes from English and means “clever”. This is used to describe various devices or environments that are connected to the Internet or networked with each other and are thus capable of more than conventional devices. Instead of cell phones, we now almost exclusively use smartphones with a wide range of functions and options. When TVs come along as smart TVs, they can be connected to the home Internet. Just like a smartphone, a smart TV has apps that enable it to use online services. Apps from streaming providers like Netflix, Prime or Disney+ are preinstalled on many devices. It can also be used to access the media libraries of various TV stations, YouTube and other online services. In addition, content can be transferred from the smartphone to the big screen. For example, photos and videos taken with the cell phone can be viewed together on the smart TV.
With a smart TV, children and young people theoretically have a wealth of movies, series and other content available to them at any time, in addition to the classic TV program. At the age of three or four, children can already manage to turn on the device, open the respective app via remote control and watch content. If access is not protected, children can also watch programs that are not suitable for their age.
Anyone who watches TV on a smart TV will be familiar with the overlays on data protection – similar to those on websites. Because if the TV is permanently connected to the Internet, it behaves like a computer or smartphone: applications collect data on usage behavior. That’s why there are also commercials or references to other offers of the respective station from time to time. Many smart TVs also have a Bluetooth interface, voice services, microphones and cameras. These functions could be hacked and misused by strangers.
As with other devices, settings on the TV and in apps can help ensure safe use. For smart TVs, you should therefore consider technical protection measures on two levels:
With many devices, password protection can be set up so that your child cannot even turn on the TV on its own or certain functions, such as access to streaming services, are not possible without a PIN. Some TVs have an additional age rating function. This allows programs with certain age ratings to be blocked individually without the need for password protection for the entire device. Usually, you can also customize the channel list of your TV in the menu. This allows you to specifically block individual channels if you do not want your child to have access to them.
Every device works a little differently, so take a close look at the menu and setting options of your smart TV. You can also use online guides if you know the exact name of your device and search for “device name and parental controls” in the search engine.
Some smart TVs have their own app stores, for which there are also setting options, such as password protection for purchases and installation of apps. If you don’t need your TV’s Internet connection all the time, disable it after each use of online content. Only you should know the WLAN key. Also, access to Bluetooth, camera, mic, etc. should only be enabled when applications absolutely need it to work.
If you use streaming services, you should set up a separate child profile. Not infrequently, one is already pre-installed. There you will only find content that is also approved for children. As soon as the app is started on the smart TV, the profile for the user can be selected. Profiles that are not to be used by children can be protected with a PIN.
You can find out more about the settings options for the largest streaming providers at Look!
In the case of the media libraries of the public broadcasters, the protection of minors is regulated in the same way as for linear television. Access to content that is not released until the age of 16 or 18 can only be accessed in the evening (after 8 or 10 p.m.). There is also a hint if users want to access content other than that stored in the children’s area.
Don’t let your child, especially when he or she is younger, watch TV uncontrollably. Watch together, if possible, so that you can answer questions that arise and catch on if your child becomes afraid of certain content. If you can trust your child to watch only the videos you’ve agreed upon, you can let him or her watch them alone sometimes. However, make sure you have a healthy amount of screen time – this may be slightly different for each child.
“Dear Santa, this year I would like a new smartphone. But one with a good camera, please!”
Media devices are at the top of many wish lists. For parents, however, they often trigger questions above all. Are media good gifts? Which media are suitable for which age? And what should be considered when buying?
From books or radio plays to game consoles, many things fall under the term media. And almost all of them show up as gift requests at some point. For younger children, picture books, audio games or music boxes are often found in the gifts. Later, the wishes tend to go in the direction of smartwatches or children’s tablets. And when the children get older, laptops and tablets, game consoles and, above all, smartphones increasingly end up on the wish lists.
In most cases, parents still feel relatively secure in their choices in the early years and become increasingly insecure later on. However, some things that make gift giving easier can always be kept in mind!
The question is whether media are given at all and which are the right ones? Then there are several ways to make a decision. The following questions can help:
Children often take their cue from older friends or siblings. Therefore, they are interested in offers that are not appropriate for their age. As a parent, however, you should pay attention to the age for which an offer is intended. You can read everything important about this in our article “Age-appropriate media for my child“.
Before media is purchased, you should also consider whether your child is already able to handle it. For one thing, it’s about the use itself. It can be helpful to answer for yourself whether your child is already motor and cognitively capable of using the desired device. It is also a question of whether your child, already reasoned content select alone, whether it can correctly assess the financial value of a device and handle it with appropriate care and much more.
Before purchasing a smartphone, the questionnaire “Is my child ready for a smartphone?” from klicksafeisa good way to find out.
Media gifts can quickly become quite expensive. Then you as parents are faced with the dilemma: Do we fulfill the wish at a high price – or do we disappoint the child? But often there are other solutions. For expensive devices, it is a good idea to start with older, used models. This saves money and gives you the opportunity to first try out how well your child can handle it. If your child already receives pocket money, he or she can also contribute to the costs. In this way, they also learn to better assess the value of the device and handle it more carefully.
Before buying media, it is also important to think and talk about how the media will be used later. For younger children, it is a good idea to negotiate media rules together and record them in a media use contract. In addition, you can resort to technical protection measures and set them up together with your child. Many devices have their own parental control settings. We also need to talk to older children and young people about usage times, costs and responsible use of content.
All in all, the following applies to media gifts: The purchase alone is only the first step. It is important to stay in conversation with your child about both the desire and the use. This way you can accompany your child well in their media use, discover difficulties early on and find solutions together.
Also consult with other parents beforehand if the equipment has already been purchased there. What experiences have they had?
Trying out the media together under the Christmas tree is much more fun! This way you will also get to know your child’s new device right away.