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Youth under pressure – beauty ideals on the net

Toned bodies on YouTube fitness channels, flawless beauty influencers on Instagram or perfectly staged selfies in WhatsApp chats– social media conveys a certain image of beauty that is often far removed from reality. Such ideals can put enormous pressure on children and young people and have a negative impact on their self-esteem. How can parents help their children develop a healthy approach to beauty images online?

Images of beauty through the ages

Pale skin in the Middle Ages, curvy bodies in the Baroque era, short hair in the 1920s, thin models in the 1990s – what is considered beautiful is subject to constant change and varies according to time and culture. Throughout history, women in particular have been strongly valued by their appearance. Today’s ideal of beauty is strongly influenced by gender stereotypes and social media trends.

Children and young people in the orientation phase

“Do I look beautiful?”. With the onset of puberty at the latest, children and adolescents are increasingly concerned with their appearance and identity. This time is often characterized by uncertainty and comparisons. Young people also look to the media for guidance. They keep a close eye on how people present themselves online. Influencers become important role models that they want to emulate. Many social media stars present themselves as particularly approachable on their profiles and encourage contact with their target group. The strong relationship with their idols can be an orientation aid in the development of their own body and beauty image, but can also lead to insecurity and pressure. This is because a lot of content shows highly distorted images of beauty.

Insta vs. real life – beauty on the web

Big eyes, full lips, white teeth, flawless skin – on platforms like Instagram and TikTok are dominated by one-sided images of beauty that are perfected with the use of filters and image editing, including the use of AI avatars. Added to this are the mechanisms of social media services, in which algorithms preferentially select images with naked skin and display content according to the characteristics and preferences of users. Influencers show more appearance than reality in order to earn money with clicks and product placements. Anyone who does not conform to the current ideal of beauty receives negative feedback and even hate comments. This increases the pressure on young users to meet unrealistic beauty standards. According to a study conducted by the Austrian education platform safer-internet.at in early 2024, beauty ideals on the internet put both girls and boys under a lot of pressure. More than half of the young people surveyed want to look beautiful, stylish and slim online. If children and young people are constantly comparing themselves and frequently use filters, this can have an impact on their self-perception. Pumping until you drop, starving yourself to the point of anorexia – some content even shows beauty ideals that are harmful to health, which can be dangerous if imitated.

Fortunately, there are also counter-movements online such as curvy models, body positivity and hashtags like #formorerealityoninstagram. They help to make visible and celebrate a diversity of bodies and identities. Such authentic content encourages users to take a healthier and more realistic view of beauty and their bodies.

How can parents deal with this?

Show an interest in your child’s media use and keep in touch with your child about their favorite influencers and content. Analyze together which editing steps are behind many images and videos and explain to him that this is mostly about marketing. Make it clear to your child that their social media feed is not an accurate reflection of reality. Encourage your child to weed out profiles that trigger bad feelings. Give your child access to the good side of the internet and show them (children’s) media that portray diverse world views and gender images. Comedy profiles such as Celeste Barber or formats for children and young people such as this video on beauty filters by TeamTimster on KIKA help to question unrealistic ideals of beauty.

Emphasize the diversity of bodies and images of beauty and encourage your child to be positive about their own body. Praise your child’s inner values, such as personality and interests, to strengthen their self-esteem. If you are unsure, your child is suffering from digital stress or an eating disorder, seek help, for example in the form of (digital) counseling services.

JusProg – the digital youth protection program

Many children surf the Internet independently from a young age. If you as a parent sit next to it, you get to see what websites and content your child sees. However, older children in particular – from secondary school onwards, for example – should also be allowed to use the Internet independently. Unfortunately, they may also come across content that is unsuitable or disturbing for them. Offers such as the filter program JusProg are designed to help better protect children and young people online.

In a nutshell:

  • state-approved, digital youth protection program
  • free of charge and without registration
  • can be installed on different devices
  • privacy-friendly and ad-free
  • Individual restrictions for different ages

What can it do?

The software filters web addresses and blocks non-age-appropriate sites on the Internet. JusProg runs in the background while you are surfing: If a website is listed in the system as not age-appropriate, it is blocked – a corresponding message then appears. JusProg bases its assessment of the pages on the age of the children, which the parents specify in advance. Unknown web addresses are automatically blocked for children aged 0 to 12. It’s a little different for children over the age of 12: For them, all pages that are not noted in the system are automatically unlocked. This makes the surfing space with JusProg very large for 12-year-olds and up.

JusProg can be installed on most iOS and Android devices. In addition to the listed web addresses, other pages can be manually blocked or unblocked. Multiple user profiles can be created on one device so that parents and children can surf on one computer and the level of protection is individually adapted to the age of the family member. For example, one child sees content for under-12s, while the older sibling can visit websites for ages 16 and up. The program was approved by the FSM’s expert commission and rated “good” by Stiftung Warentest.

What does the provider think?

JusProg ‘s system is based on negative (blocklist) and positive (passlist) lists on which various websites are noted. Of course, this does not offer one hundred percent security, as the Internet is very large and growing very quickly – non-German websites and content on social media channels in particular are difficult to track. Accordingly, problems have already been identified, such as a tendency towards overblocking, i.e. blocking too many sites rather than too few. JusProg promises to always check sites editorially in order to prevent overblocking or underblocking. Nevertheless, it makes sense for parents to use the option of individualization if certain pages are incorrectly classified from their point of view.

In addition, JusProg offers a reporting function on its website. Sites that are on the wrong list from the parents’ point of view can be reported here. According to the provider, these are then editorially reviewed and their assessment adjusted if necessary.

JusProg would like to point out that approved sites have only been classified as suitable for children and not harmful to development. Parents must assess for themselves or research other recommendations to determine if the content is appropriate for their child. You can find more information about the service and its functions on the JusProg parent page .

What should parents pay attention to?

JusProg is a good offer and the only state-approved youth protection program in Germany that meets all requirements. It can support media education and youth protection online and is particularly useful for younger children. From the age of 12, the surfing area with JusProg is very large, so the protection is lower. Websites like Google , Facebook , X and Instagram are difficult for the system to filter and must be set manually. The sites themselves often offer security settings that can be easily activated. In this article, you will learn how to make safety settings on your child’s smartphone and apps.

As a parent, you should be aware that software cannot replace personal supervision of your child’s media use. Talk openly with your child about their media behavior and agree on rules for media use in the family. If you have supervised your child’s first steps online and explained to them what they should look out for, they will later be able to navigate online safely on their own and know how to deal with online dangers. Open, interested communication can also enable your child to turn to you or other trusted persons if they have problems. If you decide to use JusProg, do not give your child the feeling that you do not trust them. Explain to your child why JusProg blocks certain sites and decide together when your child is ready for more open Internet access.

World views in children’s media

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

The danger of one-sided narratives

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

Promoting diversity from an early age

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

Diverse children’s media

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

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

Movies and series:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trio – A detective series (10 years)

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

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

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

Books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Podcasts:

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

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

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

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

Games:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media education for siblings

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

Making media rules fair

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

Accompanying sibling conflicts

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

Creating shared media experiences

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

Tips on media use by siblings

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

Age-appropriate media for my child

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

Age-appropriate media – what does that mean?

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

Verified media content

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

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

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

Suitable media offerings and guidance for parents

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

Here you can find good media offers and information:

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

Tips for your own evaluation of offers

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

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

Individual support and communication

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

Teddy and doll listen in – Smart Toys in the nursery

Teddy bears and dolls have always been popular playmates for children. In the meantime, they have undergone a technological revolution and have also become so-called smart toys. These intelligent toys can actively interact with children, entertain themselves or even learn. We explain what exactly is behind smart toys in children’s rooms.

This is what the smart toys can do

Smart toys are toys with technological enhancements that respond to commands and offer interactive functions. Interaction can take place via sensors, cameras or microphones that enable the toy to detect its surroundings. Artificial intelligence is also often used. There are non-networked smart toys that work offline and networked versions that use an internet or Bluetooth connection and are often controlled via an app. In some cases, they may also contain GPS, which makes it possible to track location data. Some intelligent toys can adapt to children’s needs and learning progress.

Smart toys for children

Various toys can be grouped under the collective term smart toys, including books with an accompanying app, teddy bears with voice output and, in some cases, a recording function, and even programmable robots:

The Dash robot is an educational robot for children aged 6 to 11. It can dance, move around the nursery, react to clapping or voices and even play the xylophone. It is controlled via various apps and does not require a permanent internet connection.

Miko 3 is an AI-controlled robot for 5 to 12-year-olds that offers playful learning, dance parties and educational activities. It has a microphone, loudspeaker, camera and Wi-Fi, and interacts with the children via AI. An app for parents makes it possible to monitor screen time and video calls.

The toy manufacturer Curio offers AI-controlled soft toys for three to twelve-year-olds that interact with children via an AI voice. Children can ask questions, wish for music and the soft toy tells stories or provides explanations for natural phenomena. The calls are forwarded to the AI and stored temporarily. Parents can view the conversations. These plush toys are not available in Germany or are “only” sold in the USA.

Are smart toys useful or dangerous?

Data protection is one of the key concerns, as smart toys are often networked via WLAN and can collect and store personal information. There have already been several security incidents in the past in which hackers have gained access to collected data. Neighbors can also easily connect to some toys via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This allows strangers to communicate with your child, ask them questions or even threaten them, for example through a text that a puppet reads out after you have typed it in, or through voice messages. My friend Cayla was banned in Germany for this reason.

It is particularly problematic that some smart toys record conversations and store this data on external servers without clear information about usage. This information can fall into the wrong hands and violate children’s privacy. In Germany, radio-controlled toys suitable for secretly recording images or sound are prohibited, as in the case of the Cayla doll. Constant control and supervision by a toy on the part of the parents also goes beyond the duty of supervision. Sharing such secret recordings via social networks such as WhatsApp & Co. without involving the child also violates the child’s personal rights.

Parents have a responsibility

Make sure you are well informed before buying a smart toy. Research the manufacturer’s website and independent consumer test reports. Pay particular attention to the data protection regulations, whether data is forwarded or processed within the toy.

Keep the entry of your child’s personal data to a minimum. And always switch the toy off when your child is not playing with it. Deactivate all connections such as WLAN, Bluetooth and any microphones or cameras if they are not absolutely necessary for the toy to function.

Find out from the Federal Network Agency, which regularly inspects objects that can be used for hidden spying. Keep an eye on your responsibilities. Ultimately, your parental role remains irreplaceable, and a teddy bear, however intelligent it may be, can never take the place of parents or real friends.

Netflix – good streaming for families?

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.

In brief

  • streaming platform of the US company Netflix, Inc.
  • Available in Germany since December 2014
  • Flexible monthly subscription: €4.99 (with advertising), €12.99 and €17.99 (without advertising, for two to four devices in parallel)
  • Up to five profiles can be created
  • Certified youth protection functions in accordance with German law

What is Netflix?

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. The cheapest subscription has advertising in between – but this is soon to be completely removed. If you pay significantly more (at least 12.99 euros), you can stream on two or 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 film and series suggestions in the profile also adhere to these settings, but what is actually suggested is calculated by an algorithm based on the viewing behavior of the individual user.

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. This is permitted with persons living in the same household. This is only permitted with persons from other households for an additional charge. The provider examines violations of this in various ways and demands compensation.

The subscription also includes Netflix games. Customers receive access to specially developed or licensed games for mobile devices. These can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store as separate game apps. There is no advertising or in-app purchases for the games.

What is problematic about the offer?

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 wide range of content on offer, there is also countless content for older teenagers (aged 16 and over) and adults (aged 18 and over) that can be frightening and problematic for children and young people. 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 with analog, linear television, you can theoretically watch series from start to finish. 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.

What does the provider think?

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 see what content your child has watched in the last few days or you can prevent the next episode of a series from playing automatically.

What should parents pay attention to?

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 .

The streaming service Cliq – one service for everything?

The streaming service Cliq attracts customers with a wide range of multimedia offerings for films, series, sport, music, audio books and games. One app, all in one, so to speak. The service also aims to be the cheapest provider in Germany. We explain what’s behind it.

In short

  • Streaming service for films and series, sport, music, audio books and games
  • App for iOS and Android, Fire TV stick, Chromecast TV or via web browser
  • 6.99 euros/month, can be canceled at any time
  • Children’s profile for 0 to 12-year-olds possible
  • Games category: NO adequate protection for children and young people

What is behind the offer?

Cliq is a streaming service with a diverse selection: numerous German and international films, often rather older, but also blockbusters, slightly fewer series with documentary and history series, sports broadcasts, music with video, but without your own playlists, various cloud games and some audio books, albeit without a timer function. Cliq offers practical functions such as download options, parental controls and simultaneous streaming on several devices without advertising for games and audio books. In contrast to the competition, there is only one subscription model with which all multimedia areas can be accessed. There is also a rental model; the subscription includes one rental film per month.

What fascinates children and young people about it?

Cliq addresses the needs of children and young people at different stages of their lives by offering age-appropriate content. Under “Kids” there is an area for children with a manageable selection of older entertainment media: from children’s films to animated series, music stations to romp around or fall asleep to games. The “Kids” service is aimed at children under the age of 12, which is why all films, series and games there have an appropriate age rating. Most videos are labeled with the statutory age ratings of the FSK (Voluntary Self-Regulation of the Film Industry), i.e. FSK 0 or FSK 6.

What can be problematic?

Much of the content on the streaming service is not suitable for children and young people and can be frightening or problematic. Parents should protect their profile with a PIN and set up a special children’s profile. In the children’s profile, films and series are marked with the corresponding official age ratings. However, nothing can be filtered so that all content up to the age of 12 is always visible and therefore clickable for children. Music, audio books and games have no visible age rating or recommendation on Cliq. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to tell from the covers what age it might or might not be suitable for.

For many games, it is absolutely incomprehensible why they can be found in the children’s area at all. Games with an official age rating of 16 or 18 (such as USK 18 or PEGI 18) can be found there without any indication. This gives parents a false sense of security. Children should never play there unsupervised.

From the age of 13, young people at Cliq are assigned to the adult area. There, they are confronted with all available content completely unprotected – including content that is not suitable for their age. There are no age ratings and no corresponding recommendations or filter functions.
The youth protection laws in Germany require that all content (games/films) have an appropriate age rating and a corresponding protective measure – neither of which Cliq currently fulfills.

The appeal of spending a lot of time on a streaming service is very 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.

What does the provider think?

The provider emphasizes the importance of data protection and security and provides parents with tools to monitor and restrict usage. Parents can protect their profile with a PIN and set up a special children’s profile.

This is what parents should pay attention to

Use the child profile and protect it with a secure PIN (no dates of birth or simple sequences such as 1234) so that your child cannot switch between profiles. However, be sure to check the age ratings of films, series and games yourself. Accompany your child when using media. Be approachable when questions or fears arise. And watch your child when they are watching videos or playing games. Keep an eye on how much time your child spends on the streaming service. Binge-watching can also occur in children and young people, for example.

Select content together and define media rules together with your child. And keep yourself regularly informed about current functions and parental control settings.

In our video series “You ask – we answer,” our media educator Melanie Endler explains why you shouldn’t leave children alone when watching series:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=kLyG6-nQXAk_%_

Monitor my child via Bluetooth tracking?

A button on the jacket, an app on the cell phone – and all parental worries about lost children are a thing of the past once and for all, because the child can simply be tracked in an emergency. Sounds great? But Bluetooth tracking has its pitfalls …

Bluetooth tracking – what is it actually?

The days when children had to mark their paths with breadcrumbs, as in Hansel and Gretel, are over. Today we live in modern media worlds and can track children instead of looking for them. This works, for example, via devices such as smartwatches that locate themselves via GPS and immediately pass on the child’s location to the parents.

But there is another option and that is Bluetooth trackers. The best known are probably the Apple Airtags or Samsung SmartTags, but there are also many other trackers from other providers. These small devices, the size and appearance of key rings, were originally designed to make objects easier to find. If you attach it to your key ring, wallet, bobby car – or even your child – you can locate it via Bluetooth if necessary. The connection between the tracker and smartphone (app) does not work via satellites as with GPS, but directly via radio waves. The tracker connects to an accessible smartphone with a tracker app and can thus determine and send an approximate location. Compared to GPS trackers, Bluetooth trackers are often smaller and lighter, the battery lasts longer and there are no monthly fees. However, they also work somewhat less accurately, especially in the countryside when there are only a few smartphones nearby.

What can be problematic about Bluetooth tracking

Bluetooth trackers are not the magic cure for relaxed childcare.

On the one hand, Bluetooth is not technically the ultimate in searches: the trackers only really work if there are many matching devices in the vicinity. It therefore makes sense to use a popular tracking app, which is also installed on many other smartphones and helps to determine the location. In the forest, for example, they make no sense at all. In addition, they can only transmit an approximate location. For this reason, a specific area must still be searched in large crowds.

On the other hand, the legal situation is still a little unclear. After all, children also have personal rights – and these include the right not to be monitored without their consent. So at the very least, a conversation and the child’s consent are required to fit them with a tracker. There is also the aspect of data economy to consider: if children are constantly sending and receiving Bluetooth data, strangers can also obtain location information that is none of their business.

And then there is the relationship aspect: secretly monitoring a child is not conducive to building trust in the relationship.

To track or not to track – what parents should consider

So what to do when the question of a tracker arises?

Have an open conversation with your child and discuss the arguments and scenarios with them in an age-appropriate manner. There are certainly situations – for example in amusement parks, at events or similar – where a tracker gives both you as parents and your child a certain freedom of movement and security. Anxious children in particular may be able to take more independent steps with a tracker in their pocket. In other, less dangerous moments, your child can also enjoy your trust and learn their own strategies for finding their way around.

In all of this, it is important that your child does not get the feeling that they are being monitored or that you do not trust them. So be sure to talk about the ideas and arguments, possibilities and limitations of trackers – and decide together in which situations they seem useful and helpful to all family members and when not. At around 6 to 7 years of age, you can explain the tracking measure to your child in a child-friendly way.

Media education in plain language

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

What is plain language?

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

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

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

Dealing with social media and co on Webhelm

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

Support services for children and parents

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

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

Security settings

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

Children’s rights in the digital world

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

Understanding the digital world and children’s rights

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

Right of access to media

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

Right to freedom of expression and information

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

Right to privacy and data protection

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

Right to leisure and play

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

Right to education and media literacy

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

Right to protection and security

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

Right of association and assembly

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

This is what parents should pay attention to

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

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

Coding for kids – learning to program is fun!

Apps, remote-controlled cars, vending machines – our world is increasingly shaped by digital technologies, much of which is programmed. Coding is becoming an increasingly important component of media skills in order to deal confidently with media and IT systems. Age-appropriate apps and programs introduce children to programming in a playful way with interactive games, animations and small coding projects. Let your child get started and conquer the world of ones and zeros at their own pace!

Scratch

Scratch is an image-oriented, visual programming language and an online platform. There is also an app version that can be used offline. The program was developed by the MIT Media Lab especially for children and young people aged 8 to 16 and is designed and moderated by the Scratch Foundation. Scratch enables step-by-step, playful learning of programming. Young programmers can use building blocks to create motion sequences, interactive stories, small games and animations. Scratch is also increasingly being used as a learning medium in schools.

The great thing about Scratch is that your child can let their imagination run wild with characters, sound effects and backgrounds. The ability to create animations and games is extremely engaging and gives your child the opportunity to create their own worlds. Scratch also offers an online community where your child can share coding projects and be inspired by others.

More info: https://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch Junior

ScratchJr is a programming language for younger children aged 5 to 7 and enables them to create their own interactive stories and games. In the program, children join graphic program blocks together to move figures and make them jump, dance and sing. The characters can be customized in the paint editor and your own voices and sounds can be added. If you like, you can insert photos of yourself and use the program blocks to bring your own characters to life. ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language and impresses younger children with its ease of use and child-friendly design.

More info: https://scratchjr.org

Programming with the mouse

This website is aimed at children from the age of 8 and teaches programming basics in a playful way, inspired by“Die Sendung mit der Maus“. The popular TV character from the show arouses interest in coding and accompanies the children through the program. The web application uses Scratch as a basis, but does not allow you to publish your own project. Programming with the mouse focuses on entertaining games and activities to impart knowledge in an appealing way. The platform offers structured instructions that guide children step by step through the world of programming. Successfully solving tasks boosts children’s self-confidence and is fun. The website promotes creative learning and makes programming accessible to children.

More info: https://programmieren.wdrmaus.de/

Ronja’s robot

Ronja’s Robot introduces children to the exciting world of programming and robotics – in an entertaining way! The app for iOS and Android was developed by the Kinder Forschen foundation and is suitable for children aged 6 to 12. The app consists of two clever games in which Ronja’s robot named Roberta is the superhero of the code!

In the game “Roberta rast”, children playfully explore programming concepts and steer the little robot through the digital garden. In “Speak like Roberta”, children learn the computer language (binary code consisting of 1 and 0) and talk to Roberta.

More info: https://www.meine-forscherwelt.de/spiel/ronjas-roboter

Does your child enjoy the app? For older children, the graphical programming language OPEN Roberta offers an even more in-depth way to enter the world of programming. Creative thinking is encouraged and your child can come up with their own solutions to tricky challenges. Who would have thought that programming could be so creative? Your child can earn badges and rewards in the game and create coding projects together with other children in teamwork.

More info: https://www.meine-forscherwelt.de/fuer-erwachsene/tipps-zur-lernbegleitung/ronjas-roboter

Programming until it gets dark – what should parents bear in mind?

Coding is fun, but your child can also quickly lose track of time. Establish media time rules together with your child. Programming is learned entirely on screen and usually alone. Make sure that your child maintains social contacts and spends time outdoors to compensate. Occasionally your child may become frustrated when they encounter challenges. Program together with your child, encourage and support them – and learn something new yourself. There are now also school and leisure activities where children can learn these programs. With the search engine for children fragFINN you can find offers in your area.

Secure streaming on Netflix, Disney+ and more.

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

Kids and teens like to stream

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

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

Use parental control settings

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

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

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

Amazon Prime Video

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

Disney+

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

Media libraries of the public broadcasters

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

Netflix

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

Technology only partially protects

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

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

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

Media tips around Christmas

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? In this article, we give you an overview of offers from the Elternguide.online partner network.

Using media to combat boredom

The Christmas vacations can be long, especially when the weather outside doesn’t really invite you to play. You probably have devices such as smartphones, tablets, cameras or a laptop lying around at home. How about you and your child simply getting started, taking photos or filming yourselves, trying out new creative apps and organizing media time creatively? It’s great fun and your child will also learn something about media skills along the way.

On the website kinder.jff.de there are suggestions for simple media projects that children aged 6 and over can do on their own or from the age of 3 with support from you as parents at home. This is helped by child-friendly video instructions in which the implementation of the media projects is shown step by step. How about a photo memory with Christmas tree decorations or an audio story about New Year’s Eve traditions?

(Media) challenges in the family

You are probably familiar with challenges from social media, e.g. dance challenges on TikTok. Children and young people love to take on challenges. Challenges don’t necessarily only have to take place on the Internet, you can also play them at home with your family! Why not try the Top Photo Challenge, the Clip Challenge or the Recreation Challenge? We have made a few suggestions in our parents’ guide article. You can find more Advent challenges on the website of the JFF project webhelm.de.

Christmas movie tips from FLIMMO

Your child will probably also enjoy watching videos. If you are still looking for suitable films, series or YouTube clips, take a look at FLIMMO.

In addition to age information and educational recommendations for all formats from TV, streaming and YouTube, you will find winter movie tips from the Grüffelokind to the Grinch and the Polar Express under the special “Advent tips. A TV evening together can be a really nice family experience, especially when it’s as cold and dark outside as it is during the winter vacations.

Finding child-friendly answers to questions about Christmas

Children have many questions and learn early on that their questions will be answered on the Internet. How is Christmas celebrated in other countries? What craft tips and baking recipes are there for Christmas? The children’s search engine fragFINN offers children access to 3500 verified websites, including more than 400 children’s sites. Primary school children can gain their first Internet experience here in a protected surfing room and learn how to use search engines and search results. In the fragFINN Advent calendar, children can open a little door every day, behind which there are links to other children’s sites with Christmas information.

You can find more playful learning pages in this parents’ guide article.

A smartphone under the Christmas tree – a good idea?

Parents must decide individually when their child is ready for their first smartphone, depending on their level of development and experience. After all, a smartphone theoretically opens up the whole world of the Internet to your child, with all its opportunities and risks. klicksafe offers extensive information for parents. Use the smartphone readiness checklist to see whether a smartphone is ready for the Christmas tree. Has the decision been positive? Then find out about technical setting options for Android and iOS and watch the instructions in the form of explanatory videos. All klicksafe information material can be found here.

Would you like to prepare your child for the first smartphone under the Christmas tree? Child-friendly information on the first smartphone is available in the children’s magazine Genial Digital from Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk. The fragFINN app gives your child a protected surfing space on their first smartphone and gives them access to quality, positive content.

Are you considering buying a smartwatch as an alternative? Then take a look at this topic from klicksafe. Please note: technical protective measures are no substitute for family discussions and media rules. Stay in contact with your child and accompany them as they take their first steps with a smartwatch or smartphone.

Using media safely – with the help of technical youth media protection

In addition to discussions and media rules, technical youth media protection is an important component of media education. Use the screen time and digital wellbeing settings on smartphones to set time limits for the entire device or for different apps and to filter content. The parental control program JusProg offers a precise filtering option for websites and safe default settings for mobile devices and laptops. Google Family Links and YouTube Kids offer the opportunity to make media experiences safer for your child in the world of the internet giant Google. Social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok also offer safety features and parental guidance options. Streaming with the family can be a fun activity during the vacations. Almost all streaming services have certified offers for the protection of minors. Use your own child profiles and the parental control function with the PIN. Detailed instructions for all devices are available on the website medien-kindersicher.de.

Smart gift giving – tips for games under the Christmas tree

Which games should I give my child for Christmas? Are games okay for preschoolers? In the family section of the USK website, you will find all the information you need on the USK’s age ratings, the new additional information and how to deal with the topic of games in the family.

The USK mark indicates the age at which a game does not cause any developmental impairments. The additional information such as “fantasy violence” or “pressure to act” gives parents a good indication of whether a game is suitable for their own child. Educational assessments of games can be found at the NRW games guide. Descriptions of popular games such as Fortnite, Minecraft or Roblox are available on Elternguide.online.

Would you like to make your child happy with a game for Christmas? Find out about the distribution channels for games and technical precautionary measures. Various settings for the protection of minors can be made on consoles as well as in game stores and the games themselves. Play together with your child and ask them interesting questions about their favorite games.

The team at Elternguide.online wishes you and your family a wonderful Christmas season and lots of fun using media safely and creatively!

Disney+ – Nemo, Frozen & Co. as a streaming offer

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.

In a nutshell:

  • Available in Germany since the end of March 2020
  • Family and child-friendly streaming portal
  • Monthly subscription: €5.99 with advertising, €8.99 Standard, €11.99 Premium [zunächst keine Preisänderungen für Bestandskundinnen]
  • Child profile can be created
  • Certified youth protection functions in accordance with German law

What does Disney+ 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.

What fascinates younger and older people about the offer?

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.

What parents should know

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.

As a parent, what should you be aware of when using Disney+?

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.

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