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.