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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.

Beauty channels – a portrait of influencers

Radiant skin and shiny hair, perfect nails and stunning make-up – the world of beauty influencers is all about beauty. There is cream and powder, plucking and brushing. And did a lot of shopping.

Beautiful from head to toe? What do beauty influencers actually do?

If you’re wondering what can be designed, cared for and “improved” on such a body, you’ve come to the right place. Beauty influencers know their way around the aisles of a drugstore better than they know their own back pocket. They know what protects against sunburn and what helps afterwards. They know what’s trending this year when it comes to eyebrows and which braid is currently in vogue. You know the difference between foundation and primer. And they are happy to explain it to us.

On the profiles of the beauty declarants, the body becomes a large canvas – and nothing is left to chance. The topics range from basic body care and dealing with minor and major “problems” to elaborate make-up and hair tutorials or dealing with cosmetic surgery.

Who are the beauty influencers?

Since 2012, Dagmar Kazakov alias Dagi Bee has been active on social media channels since 2012 and reaches her YouTube -channel reaches almost 4 million viewers. The Düsseldorf native publishes a mix of fun videos, vlogs and beauty and make-up tutorials. Her videos always give the impression that she is passing on tips to her best friend, seemingly taking her followers right into her private life, inviting them to accompany her on her “pregnancy journey” or taking video tours of her home, which is very approachable and appealing, especially for younger viewers. Dagi Bee not only sells cosmetic products but also oat milk.

The profile is a little more specific xskincare . Biology student Leon takes an in-depth look at the subject of skin care. Around 2019, Leon says he was looking for products to treat his acne – and because no one could help him, he quickly became an expert himself. Almost 1 million people now follow him and learn from him what to do for large pores, reddened skin or fall weather. Leon particularly likes to test products and “expose” less good offers while promoting his own product line.

There is plenty of color in the face at Paula Wolf . Since 2018, the “make-up artist” has been posting videos on social media in which she elaborately designs her face – sometimes with “normal” make-up, but sometimes she also transforms herself into the Grinch, a Disney character or an animal in front of the camera. 6.5 million followers watch her on YouTube alone – and are of course always offered her extensive range of products.

Very classically presented Maxim Giacomo presents make-up tutorials on his profiles: the Berliner recreates the looks of stars, explains how to draw the perfect eyebrow and tests the drugstore to find the perfect eyeshadow. Again, of course, never without warmly recommending their own products.

What fascinates children and young people about the concentrated beauty?

For children and young people in particular, there is a lot in it: On the way to adulthood, not only the body changes, but also the view of it. Young people are often in search of their own identity, also in terms of their appearance. They are more aware of beauty ideals from the media and their peer group and are looking for their own way when it comes to body care and design. How can changing skin be cared for? How do I achieve a certain look? What do I find beautiful, what not? These questions inevitably arise – and beauty influencers offer answers.

Children and young people not only receive instructions, explanations and offers on the way to their own body and self-image, but the appropriate shopping list is also provided.

What should parents pay attention to?

When the range of tubes and jars in the bathroom suddenly explodes and a fixed place has to be set up next to the mirror for the tutorial running on the smartphone, this can sometimes seem a little disconcerting for parents. Depending on your own passion for body care, the often very colorful and sometimes somewhat shrill videos may not always be appealing to adults.

In principle, however, understanding is the order of the day: your child is looking for guidance and support as they grow up, and they will find it on channels like these. Show an interest and take a look at your child’s favorite beauty role models together. You might even learn a thing or two about skin and hair care!

At the same time, however, a certain skepticism is appropriate here. Beauty influencers strongly convey the message that beauty is the most important topic – especially for girls and young women, this can create unrealistic beauty ideals that are neither attainable nor conducive to a healthy self-image. Talk to your child about how photos and recommendations from influencers are created. Promote your child’s media skills by explaining to them how they can view such offers critically and use them consciously. Help your child to distance themselves from unrealistic ideals – and to choose the valuable tips for themselves.

In addition, much of the content on the profiles is aimed at promoting products – be it because an advertising partnership with a cosmetics company is in the background or because it is the company’s own product line. Discuss with your child that these products are not necessarily really good, but are primarily intended to secure the influencer’s income.

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!

Yearbook Challenge

What would it have looked like to have attended a US high school thirty years ago? This question is on the minds of many on the web right now. Under the hashtag #yearbookchallenge circulate on TikTok and Instagram numerous photos in the style of yearbook portraits from the 1990s. Behind the viral trend is a paid AI app.

What is the Yearbook Challenge?

In the Yearbook Challenge, users create photos of themselves in the style of an American yearbook from the 1990s using the app Epik – AI Photo Editor. The app uses artificial intelligence to rejuvenate the face and add different hairstyles, clothes and accessories. A challenge becomes who mixes his real yearbook photo under the new pictures and asks the followers which one is the original. Both celebrities and many influencers have already taken part in the trend.

Virtual time jump inspires young people

“Just graduated from high school for $6.99! What do you think of the photos?”. The allure of transforming yourself into an American high school teenager is tied to all the myths and dreams surrounding a school days in the US. Teenagers enjoy using AI apps to edit their own selfies so that they look like something out of a high school series. In addition, it is exciting for them to receive photos that look similar to the pictures from their parents’ youth. Many young people also emulate their role models on social media and want to get in on the current trend as well.

What can be problematic?

Several selfies are needed for photo editing. The South Korean app developer SNOW is behind the app Epik. Anyone who uploads photos agrees that they will be stored and processed by the app. In addition, personal data must be entered in the app. The AI-generated photos borrow heavily from gender stereotypes such as poses and clothing, and beauty ideals such as smooth skin and symmetrical faces. The AI app erases irregularities of the original images altogether. Full body photos in particular are greatly altered by making them slimmer. Similar to the use of face filters, participating in the Yearbook Challenge can lead to distorted self-perception and unhealthy comparison to supposedly perfect bodies of others.

How can parents deal with this?

If your child would like to participate in the Yearbook Challenge, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The Epik – KI Photo Editor app is free to download, but you will have to pay for the photos. Depending on how fast the images are to be generated, costs between €3.99 and €6.99 are incurred. Talk to your child about in-app purchases, determine together how much money they are allowed to spend in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and avoid putting a payment option in the stores to prevent unwanted purchases.
  • Talk to your child about the right to your own image. Explain to him that all photos, once they end up on the Internet, are difficult to delete. It is also not possible to control who stores or forwards the images.
  • The app requires access to functions such as the phone’s camera and photos, and collects personal data.
  • Encourage your child to be economical with their own data and think carefully together about whether photo editing can really be done with this app – or look together for an alternative, more data-friendly app.
  • Share unrealistic beauty ideals on social media with your child and observe whether your child compares himself or herself to the edited images or is influenced by them. Make him realize that these images do not have much to do with reality and strengthen his self-esteem to find himself as beautiful as he is.
  • Join the conversation with your child on the topic of artificialintelligence and share your thoughts on the opportunities and limitations of AI-powered applications.

The app can be fun and creative way to see yourself in different roles and ages. Why not try out different AI image generators together and talk about the results?

Snapchat

Snapchat ist ein kostenfreier Messenger zum Versenden von Fotos und kurzen Videos. Die Besonderheit: Das lustige Selfie mit den Hasenohren oder ähnliche Bilder „verschwinden“ nach kurzer Zeit vom Bildschirm des Empfängers.

In a nutshell:

  • kostenlose Messenger-App für Android oder iOS
  • kostenpflichtige Version mit zusätzlichen Features: Snapchat+
  • Funktionen: kreative Bilder, Videos, witzige Emojis und Filter mit Freunden teilen
  • laut Anbieter ab 13 Jahren erlaubt (nach DSGVO ab 16 Jahren)
  • diverse Kontaktrisiken, u. a. ermöglicht die Ortungsfunktion die Nachverfolgung des eigenen Aufenthaltsortes

What is Snapchat?

Mit Snapchat können Fotos und kurze Videos als Nachricht oder als Story an Kontakte versendet werden. Diese Snaps, also Schnappschüsse, sind nur für bis zu 24 Stunden sichtbar und „zerstören“ sich danach selbst. Die Fotos und Videos können mit unzähligen Filtern bearbeitet werden. Mit der „Memorys-Funktion“ können Nutzerinnen bestimmte Inhalte abspeichern. Neben den privaten Storys von Freunden gibt es Inhalte von Stars und Marken. Über die Funktion „Spotlight” lassen sich außerdem kreative Kurzvideos im TikTok-Stil veröffentlichen. Userinnen können über sogenannte „Snap Codes“ sowie über ihre Handynummer gefunden werden, wenn dies in den Einstellungen aktiviert ist. Das eigene Profil enthält nur Bilder und Videos, andere persönliche Angaben werden nicht gemacht. Mit der Kartenfunktion „Snap Map“ kann man sehen, wo sich die eigenen Kontakte gerade aufhalten.

Wer Snapchat nutzt, ist seit Februar 2023 automatisch mit dem Chatbot My AI befreundet. Dahinter steckt eine künstliche Intelligenz, die Fragen beantwortet, chattet und insgesamt wie ein „echter“ Freund daherkommt. Für die Nutzerinnen kann das ein nettes Spielzeug sein – ist jedoch auch mit Vorsicht zu genießen. Löschen lässt sich der Chatbot nur sehr umständlich und mit einem kostenpflichtigen Snapchat+-Abonnement.

Snapchat+ bietet für 4,49 Euro/Monat die Premium-Version, dort testen die Anbieter noch nicht veröffentlichte Features. Besonders für Kinder und Jugendliche ist das reizvoll: Es gibt mehr Optionen, den eigenen Avatar (genannt „BitMoji“) zu gestalten, und mehr Informationen über Freundeskonstellationen als mit einem regulären Snapchat-Konto.

Was fasziniert Kinder und Jugendliche daran?

Die App gehört zu den beliebtesten Anwendungen bei Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren. Teenager nutzen Snapchat sehr gern, um sich mit ihren Freundinnen auszutauschen. Dazu werden statt Text einfach Bilder und Videos versendet. Die Nutzung der Spaßfilter, Videos, die mit Musik unterlegt werden können, und selbst verschwindende Nachrichten machen den Reiz der App aus. Snapchat wirkt jugendlicher und verspielter als z. B. Instagram. Die Kommunikation erscheint Jugendlichen privater, da nur mit einzelnen oder in Gruppen Inhalte ausgetauscht werden. Auf der „Snap Map“ werden Personen als Avatare dargestellt, weshalb sie wie ein Spiel wirkt.

What can be problematic about Snapchat?

Alle Inhalte auf Snapchat zerstören sich nicht wirklich selbst, sondern sie lassen sich nach einer bestimmten Zeit nur nicht mehr aufrufen. Mit etwas technischem Know-how sind sie auf dem Gerät wiederherzustellen. Oder es wird einfach ein Screenshot gemacht – darüber wird der Versender des Bildes allerdings informiert. Trotzdem kann es problematisch werden, wenn Kinder und Jugendliche sehr persönliche – vielleicht sogar intime – Bilder und Videos von sich versenden und diese z. B. über Cybermobbing gegen sie verwendet werden. Durch die Vielzahl der versendeten Inhalte ist die Kontrolle darüber schwierig. Kinder und Jugendliche sollten daher genau wissen, wie sie die Melde- und Blockierfunktionen nutzen können. Das ist im Falle der unerwünschten Kontaktaufnahme besonders sinnvoll. Unter anderem deswegen ist auch die Funktion „Snap Map” kritisch zu sehen. Denn jedes Mal, wenn man Snapchat öffnet, wird auch die Snap Map aktualisiert. Und aus diesen Informationen lassen sich ziemlich viele Schlüsse ziehen wie Adresse, Schule oder Hobbys; auch von eher unbekannten Online-Freunden. Auch aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig, sich gut zu überlegen, wen man in den eigenen Kontakten aufnimmt.

Auch bestimmte Inhalte können für Jugendliche problematisch sein. Dazu zählen nicht altersgemäße Bilder ebenso wie unangemessene Werbung oder Snaps von Marken und Produkten.

What does the provider think?

Nutzende müssen sich an die Regeln der Plattform Snap halten. Die Nutzung von Snapchat ist Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren nur mit der Erlaubnis ihrer Eltern gestattet. Es erfolgt allerdings keine technische Prüfung der Altersangabe.

Generell ist es verboten, nicht jugendfreie Inhalte, wie z. B. pornografische Bilder, zu verbreiten oder zu bewerben. Minderjährige dürfen keine Nacktbilder oder sexuell aufreizende Inhalte von sich posten oder versenden. Sicherheitsprobleme können innerhalb des deutschsprachigen Sicherheitscenters des Dienstes gemeldet werden. Außerdem ist es möglich, andere Nutzende zu blockieren und zu melden. Sogenannte Content-Manager prüfen Verstöße gegen die Snapchat-Richtlinien.

Snapchat sammelt jede Menge Daten von seinen Nutzern und erläutert das sehr offen in seinen Datenschutzbestimmungen – auch, dass Daten teilweise an Dritte weitergegeben werden. Die Daten, die man über Snapchat versendet, werden bei der Übertragung verschlüsselt. Über das Family Center können Eltern in der App verschiedene Kontrollfunktionen nutzen.

What should parents pay attention to?

Über das Family Center von Snapchat erhalten Eltern Möglichkeiten über Kontrollfunktionen, z.B. einen Überblick zu den Aktivitäten ihres Kindes oder die Einrichtung von Inhaltskontrollen in der App. Um sich mit dem Konto des Kindes zu verbinden, wird allerdings ein eigener Snapchat-Account benötigt. Jugendliche müssen der Verbindung auch selbst zustimmen.

Wenn Ihr Kind die App gern nutzen möchte, sollten Sie unbedingt über mögliche Gefahren sprechen. Regeln Sie, wer die geteilten Inhalte sehen kann und wer nicht. Gehen Sie gemeinsam die Einstellungen durch. Erklären Sie Ihrem Kind, dass versendete Bilder per Screenshot vom Empfänger abgespeichert werden können. Es ist dringend zu empfehlen, dass Jugendliche nur Freundinnen und Freunde zu ihrer Liste hinzufügen, die sie tatsächlich kennen. Eine gute Übersicht zum sicheren Umgang mit Snapchat bietet Jugendlichen das Angebot Handysektor.

Sprechen Sie über die Funktion Snap Map: Was bedeutet die Sichtbarmachung des eigenen Standorts, welche Folgen und Risiken gehen damit einher und wird die Funktion überhaupt gebraucht? Das Teilen des Standortes kann auch unbewusst passieren (beim Öffnen der App). Dies kann im sogenannten „Geistmodus“ (Ghost Mode) verhindert werden. Auch kann der App die Berechtigung entzogen werden, auf den Standort zuzugreifen. Wenn eine Freundin Ihres Kindes Snapchat+ nutzt, sollte besonders darauf geachtet werden, die Tracking-Funktion zu deaktivieren oder die Person zu blockieren.

Audio boxes: Square, practical, good!?

A life without Benjamin Blümchen, My Friend Connie and the Grüffelo is unthinkable, especially for younger children. You probably remember your own favorite cassettes or radio play CDs from your childhood. As a modern variant of the classic listening media, there are nowadays so-called listening boxes. But what exactly can Tonie, Tigerbox and Co. actually do?

What are audio boxes?

Listening boxes, also called music boxes, are available from various suppliers. Depending on the manufacturer, the prices differ, but are mostly under 100, – €. When you buy a box, stories are often included. However, if you want more audio stories or songs for your child, there may be subsequent costs.

The boxes all work on a similar principle: they are child-friendly and usually designed like a cube. Above all, they are easy to use. Colorful pens or figurines in the form of animals that you plug into the audio box, or connect via Bluetooth, can play all kinds of stories. You can also get creative yourself and record (your own) stories.

What benefits does the listening box offer my child?

Listening boxes are specially designed to meet the needs and motor skills of younger children and are designed not to break quickly. The few functions are easy to perform, so your child can operate the box independently. Selecting and starting stories themselves, pausing, stopping or exchanging them as needed – the young users can do all this on their own. Children as young as about two years old can operate the devices intuitively. This can boost your child’s self-confidence.

Some boxes offer the possibility to set a time limit. This will help your child stick to agreed upon listening times.

Audio boxes can be used to play audio games and music, whether for entertainment or to learn new things. If the stories are stored on animal figures or similar, these figures can also be used as toys.

As a parent, what should you be aware of?

Find out about the different listening boxes to decide which one is right for your child. What is the right shape? Are the stories stored on some kind of USB stick or does the box always have to be connected to the Internet? How much do new stories cost?

Research what age the stories you want to listen to with the box are appropriate for. Since your child can also use the listening box on his or her own, an age-appropriate selection is especially important. Also inquire about the data protection of the respective box: What private data is collected? How is the personal information of the users protected?

We present the most popular boxes in more detail on the Parents’ Guide: Tigerbox, Toniebox and Hörbert.

An audio box does not replace the togetherness of your own reading aloud: Regularly take the time to read to your child from their favorite book or listen to the audio stories from the box together.

Popular games: Minecraft

Minecraft is a kind of Lego for the computer or tablet, where you can create your own world from virtual blocks with a lot of creativity and skill.

In a nutshell:

  • Strategy game in which you have to collect raw materials to build your own world from them
  • USK age recommendation from six years old
  • available online or offline
  • Minecraft is available for the computer from €29.99. The premium version with cosmetic content costs 39,99€. The app costs about 8,- € for Android or iOS

What is Minecraft?

The game world in Minecraft consists mainly of cubes or blocks. These are always the same size, but is procedurally generated and thus looks different in each run. The world in Minecraft is made of different materials, for example, wood or earth. In different modes, these cubes are used differently:

In creative mode, players combine these cubes and build houses, models, or even working computers. In this way, they create their very own world, which they shape creatively and change constantly. This function is now even used by schools for learning. The materials used do not have to be collected, they are directly available to the players and can be used infinitely.

In survival mode, thanks to the tools, players can fight monsters and hide at night in the hut they built themselves. The big difference to the creative mode here is that the materials have to be collected by yourself and additionally a hunger bar and life bar have to be managed. Also, many of the items, such as chests, swords, doors, stoves, etc. must first be made. The level of difficulty can be adjusted so that there is something for every age group. This can be adjusted at any time in the game menu.

Minecraft can be played online with others, or offline alone. The current version of the game is 1.20.1.

What fascinates children and young people about Minecraft?

Despite the simple graphics, which consist only of large pixels, Minecraft is very popular among children from about ten years old. Minecraft sets no limits to creativity. Players can create their very own virtual world and get excited about constructing landscapes and buildings and acquiring the raw materials they need. Playing with others especially challenges competition and strategy, but creating worlds together can also be a lot of fun and requires that you coordinate with each other.

What can be problematic about Minecraft?

Minecraft is released by the USK from the age of six. How well children cope with the game depends, among other things, on the game mode they choose: While Creative and Adventure modes are easy to handle, Survival and Hardcore modes are more about defense and survival. Here you have to overcome obstacles such as encountering monsters, which brings a certain tension.

Since the game doesn’t set its own limits, e.g. through different levels, it tempts you to play endlessly and lose yourself completely in the virtual world. Also, the control of the game can be difficult for inexperienced.

Minecraft offers in-app purchases, e.g. via the “Minecraft Marketplace”, the “Minecraft Marketplace”. This is a platform where gamers can buy skins, mini-games and other content. One popular offering is PvP maps, where players compete against each other in game worlds according to the “player vs. player” principle. Such paid elements are appealing to kids and teens because they enhance the gaming experience.

Some paid offers are unsuitable for younger children, for example, the “Scary Mods”, which makes the game environment more exciting with creepy creatures, gloomy environments, eerie sounds and events.

What does the provider say?

Minecraft belongs to Microsoft. Auf der Webseite gibt es die Datenschutzerklärung und Nutzungsbedingungen auf Deutsch. Data is processed and used for product improvement and may also be shared.

What should parents pay attention to?

The game is designed to encourage creativity and problem-solving skills. In Sweden, it’s even on the curriculum. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind as a parent:

Younger children should be accompanied while playing in the beginning and should rather use the creative mode or easier difficulty levels of the survival mode. For older children, the hardcore mode may come into question later.

As always with media use, keep an eye on how much time your child spends playing. Make sure to adhere to set media use times and discuss together as a family which modes your child is allowed to play. Make sure the content is age-appropriate and control what content your child is allowed to purchase and use. Some offers in the “marketplace” are not suitable for younger children.

Players can communicate with each other in Minecraft using the chat function. In the process, children are exposed to communication risks such as conflicts, cyberbullying, but also cybergrooming. Talk to your child about being respectful in chat, encourage them to block and report inappropriate messages. This way, your child can protect themselves from harassment. Explain to your child that he or she should not disclose personal information such as name and address in the chat.

Using the Parental Control feature of a Microsoft account, communication functions can be restricted to friends only or disabled completely. Access to in-game purchases can also be controlled via the control function.

The game was tested for accessibility as part of the Gaming without Borders project. In the areas of comprehension, control and hearing, Minecraft already does a lot right in terms of accessibility, according to the test results. The game is quite suitable for children and young people with impairments. However, some hurdles were identified in the “vision” area, making it difficult for people with visual impairments to use. However, Mojang as a developer studio is also interested and working to build accessibility.

Making media yourself – on the road with the photo camera

There are many ways to do small media projects with kids. Especially uncomplicated are projects around photography. Because there is actually a camera in every family, whether in the smartphone or as its own device. Plus, you don’t have to depend on the Internet or a power outlet (when the battery is charged) to take photos. So some ideas can also be implemented quite easily outside! What kind of camera you use for a small photo project, whether photo camera, smartphone or tablet does not matter in most cases. You can get creative together with your child and try out what can be photographed besides selfies and vacation snapshots – with the photo camera on the go.

Near and far

Anyone who takes photos themselves knows that the view through the camera lens is often a different one. When photographing, perspectives and proportions change completely. Go on a journey of discovery with your child. Macro photography, for example, is particularly well suited for this. That is, you get very close to objects. If available, you can also use the zoom of the camera to help you. Flowers, insects and other things look much bigger with it. This way, you can discover things together that you didn’t consider before. No less exciting is taking photos from a great distance or height. You can go in search of the best places to take pictures.

Perspectives Madness

You may know this photo action from your vacation in Paris or Pisa. Photos are taken there that look as if the leaning tower is being propped up or the Eiffel Tower is being gently held between index finger and thumb.
The technique is called forced perspective. This allows you to make objects appear larger or smaller than they actually are by positioning yourself at a certain distance. This often results in funny photos that do not correspond to reality.
Such perspective photos can be easily implemented at home or outside, because any building or object can be forced into funny and crazy perspectives. Just try it out with your kids – “play” with different perspectives.

For a fun YouTube video to get inspired, click here:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF3kp1g-jOg_%_

Photo story

Do you still know the photo love stories from Bravo? Behind it is the simple comic principle, combining images and short texts. Photos always tell stories and children love stories. Think up a little story together and package it as a photo story. This way, children can also try out their acting talent. It is even easier to create collages on a specific theme, such as “animals” or “nature”. With various apps, you can easily edit, arrange images and add text. Among other things, “Pic’s Art Photo and Collage” and “Edit Pic Collage Photo” let you edit pictures, create collages and insert stickers. “Snapseed”, on the other hand, relies on filters and correcting sharpness and contrast.

Publish photos

If your child has taken particularly successful photos, he or she can present them to other children in a children’s photo community such as Knipsclub or Kamerakinder. While on Instagram and the like, it’s usually the shining filter, a virtual wreath of flowers on the head or the rushing sea in the background that leads to lots of likes, the Knipsclub or the camera kids are all about the essentials: taking photos. Many photo activities and the nomination of the “Photo of the Month” encourage people to participate and try things out. In the digital exhibition, images can be marked with “Like” and commented on. Children up to about 12 years old can exchange ideas with each other. A kids’ photo community is a safe place to try out social network options in a protected space before your child posts photos and more on Instagram and other social apps starting in their teens. Talk to your child about what kinds of photos they share and which ones may be nobody’s business.

Another great idea, for advanced photographers is painting with light, also called light painting. A guide on how to do this with children can be found at“Growing up well with media“.

Even more ideas and tips for photographing with children can also be found at Knipsclub and Kamerakindern.

Stories on Instagram, WhatsApp and Co.

Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp are used by many young people. All of these services offer a particularly popular function: the creation of so-called Stories. Snapchat had them first, but since Instagram, every teenager knows them.

What is a story?

The “Story” is for sharing current experiences with others. You don’t post a single photo in the chat or in your channel, but upload photos or videos in a story, which are displayed in an automatically running sequence. Subscribers or contacts can usually see them only for 24 hours.

You can decorate your story with all kinds of means – depending on your talent and taste. The apps mentioned above offer similar options here, such as captions, emojis, location markers, linking people, filters, funny stickers, or even polls.

What’s so exciting about that?

Stories often seem very realistic or close to the lives of others. It can be especially exciting to see what’s going on with your favorite influencer and girlfriends. When you just experience something exciting or beautiful that you would like to share with your friends or followers, the story is a popular tool. Because with pictures and videos a little story can be told.

What is important to keep in mind?

Since Stories deletes itself after 24 hours, the inhibition threshold is lower to publish rather unflattering, embarrassing and private pictures or videos of oneself. The rule here is: Think first, then post! Only pictures and clips that could easily be seen in the newspaper or on television should be published.

But the possibilities of the Story function can also endanger privacy: The location marker can be used to track where you are at any given time. Unpleasant or dangerous situations can quickly arise, for example, if someone comes to the linked location and seeks out your daughter or son.

Here it helps to agree on rules. Clear rules about what is posted and when create orientation. It doesn’t always have to be at the same moment that a photo is taken! Consider establishing cell phone-free zones with the family where family life can be spent undisturbed and private.

To protect privacy, make sure your (minor) child’s account is set to private. This way, his stories can only be seen by his own followers. It is best to create the user account together with your child, set up the privacy settings and check the security settings.

Talk openly about the potential dangers of careless posting so your child can understand rules of behavior. Your child will then know that you, as parents, are the first point of contact in the event of cyberbullying, harassment or disturbing content.

The content from the stories of your child’s favorite influencers and friends should also be critiqued. Talk to him about it and consider together how calculated a snapshot is likely to be among stars and influencers.

Audio play fun with the Toniebox

A “treasure chest for audio play experiences” – that’s how the provider itself describes its Toniebox. As a contemporary alternative to cassette recorders and CD players, listening boxes can already be found in many children’s rooms. Why is the colorful box so popular and how exactly does it actually work?

In brief

  • robust radio play box with simple operation
  • from 3 years
  • a variety of game characters with audio books, audio games, music and knowledge content available for purchase
  • No permanent WLAN connection necessary
  • Parents need a Toniecloud account
  • expensive purchase

What is a Toniebox?

Square, practical and easy to use – that’s how you can describe the Toniebox. This is a monochrome cube that can be used to play audio books by simply placing various figures on it. The play figures, called Tonies, are available in two versions. The Tonies in the design of well-known children’s characters can be used immediately. Countless contents can be played via them. The Kreativ-Tonie, in turn, can be recorded with your own recordings via an app.

The padded cube can be easily operated by children themselves: A chapter can be jumped forward by a slap on the left side. Fast forward and rewind by tilting the box slightly. On each box there are also two rubber ears, through which the volume is adjusted.

Before the Toniebox can be used for the first time, you have to set it up. A WLAN connection is required for this. You also need a smartphone, tablet or PC. To set up the box, you create a free customer account in the Toniecloud. Once the Toniebox is set up, you can put the character on the box and play it.

What excites children and adults about the box?

The Toniebox impresses above all with its simple design and easy operation, making it easy for children to use on their own. In addition, many different characters are available for both the general Tonies and the Creative Tonies: Benjamin Blümchen, The Mouse, Knight or Rockstar – depending on the child’s preference. The range of different stories and content available for the Toniebox also impresses many parents. Once the audio stories are fully loaded in the cloud, they can be listened to anywhere even without WLAN.

What does the provider say?

According to the company, the Toniebox is made of high-quality and robust material, which is why children can use it without any problems. But the box should also be easy for parents to operate: For example, the maximum volume can also be controlled via the Toniecloud. The Toniebox is suitable for children from the age of three.

If you use the option of a creative Tonie, your own sound recordings are stored in the Toniecloud. However, these can also be deleted again. When closing the entire Toniecloud customer account, all uploaded data is also deleted.

What should you look out for as a parent?

The cost factor of the Toniebox is not entirely insignificant: the starter set with one creative Tonie currently costs €79.95, and each additional Tonie (€14.99) or creative Tonie (€11.99) must be purchased separately. However, compared to the hörbert listening box, it is a cheaper alternative.

The creative tonies offer a lot of space for creativity. Why not record a story or song together with your child? Very creative people can also produce their own radio play and listen to it together later. As parents, you should always keep in mind that it is the shared media experience that counts and that you should especially accompany young children in their first media-related steps.

DIY Channels on Social Media – Influencers in Portrait

Invitations for the children’s birthday party, Christmas presents for the parents, homemade jewelry – or a new living room cabinet made from grandma’s old dresser? Anyone who wants to get creative with their hands doesn’t have to look far for instructions and ideas these days, because video platforms like YouTube and social media apps like Instagram are full of DIY pros who are happy to share their ideas and instructions: DIY influencers.

Crafting, building, decorating … what do DIY influencers do?

DIY comes from the English “Do it yourself”. And they really do everything themselves, from cakes to winter jackets to racing bikes, explain the work steps – and usually have the right product tips in their luggage.

And who is actually doing the tinkering?

Anyone who has taken a look around the popular platforms knows that you can do almost anything yourself. With enough patience, motivation and the right materials. Accordingly, there are DIY channels on all kinds of topics, we present three.

Sally Özcan for example, has turned her passion for sweets into a profession. On her account “Sally’s World,” Sally bakes everything from cookies to elaborate themed cakes – and everyone can join in. The fun of pretty desserts has already attracted 2 million YouTube subscribers, so in addition to video and her blog, Sally also runs a podcast and her own store.

If you prefer wood and stone instead of flour and sugar, you’ll find the perfect solution at Easy Alex you’ll find lots of ideas and instructions. The do-it-yourselfer fills his Instagram account with ideas on home remodeling, room makeovers and more, appealing to some 250,000 followers.
And when the house is finished and the decoration is still missing? Then there are a whole lot of “decorating” channels where home and life design ideas never seem to run out. Linda Seel for example, shows us all kinds of creative ideas for occupation, from embroidery to IKEA hacks to complete room design, and has thus reached 130,000 users on YouTube.
Subscribers found.

Click to do-it-yourself happiness. What do children and young people find in it?

While crafting with mom and dad usually drops significantly in the coolness ranking at some point in elementary school, DIY with a tablet is suddenly all the rage. For children and young people, the DIY explainers on the Internet are sometimes real stars and role models. Because here everyone will find exactly the niche they enjoy. Whether it’s elaborate cupcakes or cardboard artwork, the palette is almost inexhaustible. Young creatives can find exactly the instructions and ideas they like and enjoy – even far beyond their parents’ repertoire. Here, children and young people can learn and create something that they themselves are proud of. Often they are elaborate things that even the adults can not do, and therefore admire them all the more. In a phase of life in which young people are constantly searching for their own talents, themes and identity, this can be meaningful. And as a nice side effect, there are sometimes gifts for the whole family.

What should parents pay attention to?

Parents can basically rejoice once when their own child discovers his creative side via online craft book. Nevertheless, there are a few points to discuss here as well:
Not all instructions are actually implemented as easily with a snap of the fingers as it seems in the video. So that your child is not quickly frustrated and loses the desire to do it yourself again: Support your child in finding instructions that match the level of difficulty of your child’s ability and experience.

What’s more, DIY influencers are like others in the industry: they make money from their content. They recommend products or content that they get paid for by companies as an advertising partnership – but not necessarily because the content is actually convincing. Promote your child’s media literacy by helping them understand these connections and critically question the videos accordingly.

TikTok – the hot short video app

TikTok gehört noch immer zu den beliebtesten Apps unter Jugendlichen. Sie ist eine Plattform für kreative Kurzvideos aller Art.

In brief

  • kostenlose Social-Media-App
  • unter Teenagern eine der beliebtesten Apps weltweit
  • Mindestalter: 13 Jahre (mit Einverständnis der Eltern)
  • „Für dich“-Feed mit Videos, die der Algorithmus empfiehlt und „Folge ich“-Feed mit Videos von abonnierten Profilen
  • Herausforderungen: problematische Inhalte, Kommunikationsrisiken, Werbung
  • Spezielle Sicherheitsfeatures für Minderjährige

What is TikTok?

TikTok ist Social-Media-Plattform und Video-App in einem: Userinnen und User können bei TikTok aus einer bunten Sammlung von bekannten Popsongs, beliebten Audios und Zitaten, z. B. aus Filmen, wählen. Dazu „singen“ oder „sprechen“ sie Playback und filmen ihre Choreografie innerhalb der App mit dem Smartphone. Aber auch komplett selbst kreierte Kurzvideos werden umgesetzt. Die meisten Videos sind ein paar Sekunden bis wenige Minuten lang. Bestimmte Clips lösen einen richtigen Hype aus, werden nachgeahmt oder im Sinne eines Trends oder einer Challenge weitergeführt.

Die Videos der TikTokerinnen und TikToker, deren Account öffentlich ist, lassen sich über einen Browser anschauen, ohne dass man bei der App angemeldet sein muss. Um selbst Videos zu erstellen, wird allerdings ein Account benötigt.

TikTok bringt immer mehr Funktionen heraus, z. B. sich im Duett mit anderen Usern filmen, die Clips anderer weiterführen (Stitch) oder Livestreams. Auch Unternehmen nutzen die Plattform, um darüber zu werben.

What excites children and young people about the offer?

Jugendliche nutzen TikTok gern zum Spaß und für den Austausch untereinander. Auf TikTok lassen sich die jungen Nutzenden unterhalten, suchen nach Vorbildern, an denen sie sich orientieren können, stellen sich selbst dar und erhoffen sich positive Rückmeldung von anderen.

TikTok ist außerdem eine tolle Plattform, um die eigene Kreativität auszuleben. Die Hürde, ein eigenes Video zu erstellen und zu teilen, ist niedrig: In der App gibt es viele Videoeffekte und eine Musikbibliothek mit beliebten Songs, die sofort verwendet werden können.

Kinder und Jugendliche schätzen an TikTok, dass es darin weniger um Perfektion und Professionalität geht, wie auf Instagram oder YouTube, sondern Kreativität und Spaß im Vordergrund stehen. Die Videos sind näher am Alltag und die TikTokerinnen und TikToker werden als nahbarer empfunden.

Was kann problematisch sein an TikTok?

There are a number of things you and your child should consider before using the app:

  • Kinder (ab 13 Jahren) brauchen für die Anmeldung das Einverständnis der Eltern. Das Alter wird bei der Registrierung aber nicht überprüft. Auch viele jüngere Kinder nutzen deshalb TikTok.
  • Vor allem Kinder und jüngere Jugendliche können auf TikTok wie auf anderen Social-Media-Angeboten auf Inhalte stoßen, die nicht altersgerecht und ggf. sogar problematisch sein können: Gefährliche Inhalte, Hate Speech, Desinformation und manipulative Inhalte zur politischen Meinungsmache wie Kriegs-Videos und Propaganda, Verschwörungsmythen und Fake-Videos und vieles mehr.
  • Auch Kommunikationsrisiken von Cybermobbing bis zu Cybergrooming können auf TikTok Thema werden, vor allem wenn Ihr Kind selbst Videos auf TikTok teilt und die Jugendschutzeinstellungen für Minderjährige nicht genutzt werden.
  • TikTok löscht Beiträge und Gruppen, wenn diese gegen die Community-Regeln verstoßen. Nicht alle Beiträge können aber immer sofort blockiert werden.
  • Die Nutzenden haben keine Rechte an den Song- oder Filmausschnitten. Die erstellten Videos sollten deshalb nicht außerhalb der App geteilt werden, da sie sonst gegen die Bild- und Urheberrechte verstoßen. Sind andere Personen im Video zu sehen, müssen sie immer um Erlaubnis gefragt werden. TikTok erhält außerdem die Rechte an den veröffentlichten Videos.
  • TikTok finanziert sich über Werbung. Die Anzeigen im Videoformat sind von den Kurzclips der Userinnen und User kaum zu unterscheiden.
  • Auf TikTok geht es nicht nur um Unterhaltung, sondern manche verdienen mit der App Geld. Userinnen und User ab 18 Jahren können einander virtuelle Geschenke wie Emojis schicken, echtes Geld an Livestreamerinnen und Livestreamer senden und vieles mehr.
  • Manche Challenges, die in sozialen Netzwerken kursieren, können gefährlich werden oder befördern problematische Verhaltensweisen wie etwa Essstörungen
  • Einige Funktionen und Inhalte auf TikTok verzerren stark die Realität wie zum Beispiel der „Teenage-Filter“.DerAugmented-Reality-Filter macht aus jedem Gesicht ein perfekt geschminktes, junges „Idealbild“. Solche Clips vermitteln überzogene Schönheitsideale, regen zu ungesunden Vergleichen an und sind für junge Nutzende schwer durchschaubar.
  • TikTok steht immer wieder wegen seines intransparenten Umgangs mit persönlichen Daten der Nutzenden in der Kritik. So wurde im Juni 2023 bekannt, dass TikTok entgegen eigener Behauptungen Daten von Nutzenden aus den USA und Europa in China speichert.

What does the provider say?

TikTok ist sich der Gefahr von verstörenden und unerwünschten Inhalten bewusst und passt seine Sicherheitseinstellungen immer wieder an. Folgende Sicherheitsfeatures stehen Jugendlichen und Ihnen als Eltern zur Verfügung:

  • Der Begleitete Modus ermöglicht es Eltern, bestimmte Einstellungen für ein Familienmitglied vorzunehmen. Beispielsweise können Eltern angeben, wer ihrem Kind Nachrichten schicken und wie lange es Videos schauen darf. Eltern können den Inhaltsfilter nutzen und ihr Kind vor Inhalten schützen, die sie für ungeeignet halten.
  • Konten von 13- bis 15-Jährigen werden automatisch auf “privat” gestellt. Die Videos dieser Nutzergruppe dürfen gar nicht oder höchstens von Freundinnen und Freunden kommentiert werden. Ihre Videos dürfen außerdem nicht heruntergeladen werden.
  • 13- bis 17-Jährige werden vor bestimmten Inhalten geschützt, die eher für Erwachsene gedacht sind oder komplexere Themen behandeln.
  • Es wurde das Mindestalter von 16 Jahren für das Versenden von Direktnachrichten festgelegt.
  • Duette und Stitches sind mit den Videos von unter 16-Jährigen nicht möglich, ebenso wie Livestreams. Die Downloadfunktion ihrer Videos ist ausgeschaltet, kann aber aktiviert werden.

Generell lassen sich Accounts melden und/oder blockieren und es gibt einen Filter für beleidigende Kommentare.

In der App wird nach der Registrierung durch einen roten Punkt auf die Einstellungen verwiesen. Im Sicherheitszentrum der TikTok-Website können Eltern Tipps nachlesen.

Personen, die selbst TikToks erstellen und veröffentlichen, können seit einiger Zeit „Alle Kommentare filtern“ und einzeln freigeben. Wer die TikToks anderer kommentieren möchten, wird vorher gefragt, ob dieser Kommentar auch wirklich veröffentlicht werden soll. Außerdem gibt es einen Hinweis auf die Community-Richtlinien, die unangemessene Sprache und Hate Speech verbieten.

TikTok steht wegen seiner Moderationsregeln in der Kritik, denn offenbar wird durch den speziellen Algorithmus stark kontrolliert, welche Videos die Nutzenden sehen können. Auf diese Kritik hat TikTok reagiert. Nutzende haben mittlerweile mehr Optionen, Einfluss auf die vom TikTok-Algorithmus angezeigten Inhalte in ihrem Feed zu nehmen:

Sie können Videos nun mit „nicht interessiert“ markieren oder konkrete Inhalte mit bestimmten Hashtags oder Wörtern automatisch herausfiltern. Seit März 2023 stellt TikTok eine Neustart-Option für den Für-Dich-Feed zur Verfügung. Wer findet, dass die vorgeschlagenen Videos sich wiederholen oder nicht mehr zu den Interessen passen, kann den Feed zurücksetzen und nutzt die App wie nach der erstmaligen Anmeldung. Trotz dieser Maßnahmen bleibt der Für-Dich-Feed Algorithmus-gesteuert und bleibt somit nach wie vor in der Hand des Anbieters. So filtert TikTok zum Beispiel immer wieder Videos von Menschen mit Beeinträchtigungen heraus und je nach Nutzungs-Land kann es sein, dass die Videos der Zensur ihrer dortigen Regierungen unterliegen.

What should parents pay attention to?

Wenn Ihr Kind sich bei TikTok anmelden möchte, fragen Sie nach seiner Motivation. Sehen Sie sich vor dem Download gemeinsam die Nutzungsbedingungen an. Bei Handysektor finden Sie diese in einem kurzen Überblick. Um TikTok zu erkunden, ist es nicht notwendig, einen Account zu erstellen. Vielleicht ist das Surfen auf TikTok via Browser für den Anfang eine gute Option für Ihr Kind, um herauszufinden, ob ihm TikTok überhaupt gefällt.

Wenn es irgendwann einen Account geben soll, richten Sie diesen gemeinsam ein und probieren Sie zusammen die ersten Schritte aus. Geben Sie das richtige Geburtsjahr an. Für 13- bis 17-Jährige greifen gewisse Sicherheitsfeatures, die den Jugendschutz erhöhen. Eine Anleitung zu kindersicheren Einstellungen TikTok finden Sie auf medien-kindersicher.de.

Sprechen Sie mit Ihrem Kind über die möglichen Gefahren. Besonders wichtig ist, auf die Privatsphäre zu achten und in den Videos nicht zu viel von sich preiszugeben. Im privaten Modus ist mehr Kontrolle möglich. So ist die Kommunikation nur mit Freundinnen und Freunden möglich und Ihr Kind behält den Überblick darüber, wer die Videos sehen kann.

Versichern Sie Ihrem Kind, dass es sich jederzeit an Sie wenden kann, sollte es Beleidigungen erhalten oder belästigt werden. Zeigen Sie ihm außerdem, wie man unangemessene Inhalte blockieren und melden kann. Mehr Informationen dazu bietet der Leitfaden für Eltern von TikTok in Zusammenarbeit mit der FSM.

Um die eigene Privatsphäre und die von anderen besser zu schützen, muss bei einem Video nicht unbedingt immer das Gesicht zu sehen sein. Mit Hilfe von Emoji-Stickern oder anderen kreativen Lösungen ist das möglich.

Popular formats in social media

In der Welt der sozialen Medien sind bestimmte Formate zu regelrechten Trendsettern geworden, die Millionen von Nutzern weltweit begeistern. Reels, DIY-Trends, Lifehacks oder Reaction Videos – wir stellen euch ein paar beliebte Formate auf Social Media vor.

What is actually…

… ein Reel?

Ein Reel ist ein beliebtes Videoformat, das auf verschiedenen Social-Media-Plattformen verwendet wird, zum Beispiel auf Instagram oder TikTok. Es handelt sich um kurze Videoclips, die normalerweise 15 bis 60 Sekunden lang sind und verschiedene Szenen oder Momente präsentieren. Das Ziel besteht darin, Inhalte auf unterhaltsame und ansprechende Weise zu präsentieren, indem kurze Videos verwendet werden, um Geschichten zu erzählen oder interessante Dinge zu zeigen. Reels können genutzt werden, um lustige Momente, Tutorials, Tipps oder einfach nur kreative Videos zu teilen und Spaß zu haben. Insbesondere Jugendliche nutzen Reels, um ihre Kreativität auszudrücken, sich mit Gleichaltrigen zu verbinden und Inhalte zu teilen, die für sie interessant oder unterhaltsam sind. Darüber hinaus können sie durch Reels Teil der Online-Community werden und neue Trends entdecken. In gewisser Weise sind Reels vergleichbar mit YouTube Shorts, da sie darauf abzielen, kurze und unterhaltsame Videos zu präsentieren

… DIY?

DIY steht für “Do It Yourself“, was auf Englisch „Mach es selbst“ bedeutet. Auf verschiedenen Social-Media-Plattformen werden unter diesem Begriff Anleitungen für kleine und größere kreative Projekte zum Selbermachen geteilt: Von einfachen Nähprojekten bis zum Möbelbau ist alles dabei. Dabei geht es nicht immer darum, etwas völlig Neues zu schaffen. Unter dem Begriff des „Upcycling“ findet man kreative Ideen, wie man kaputte Gegenstände oder alte Kleidung weiterverwenden, umfunktionieren und aufwerten kann. Das schont die Umwelt und spart teures Material aus dem Kreativmarkt. Viele YouTuber und Bloggerinnen erstellen Anleitungen in Form von Videotutorials oder kommentieren Fotostrecken, um einzelne Arbeitsschritte verständlich zu erklären, auch für Laien ohne Vorkenntnisse.

Da es Projekte in allen Schwierigkeitsgraden gibt, findet jedes Familienmitglied eine passende Aufgabe. Gemeinsam kann man beispielsweise Dekoration für das Zuhause gestalten oder ein originelles Geburtstagsgeschenk für Großeltern oder gute Freundinnen kreieren. Wir haben übrigens auch Anleitungen für kreative Medienprojekte.

… ein Lifehack?

Ein Lifehack ist eine ungewöhnliche, aber einfache Lösung für alltägliche Probleme: Zum Beispiel kann man mit einer Büroklammer schnell eine Halterung für das Smartphone basteln oder das Bügelbrett als höhenverstellbaren Schreibtisch nutzen. Lifehacks sind oft überraschend und wirken genial. Die kleinen Anleitungen werden häufig in Form von kurzen Videos auf TikTok, Facebook oder Instagram geteilt und versprechen, das Leben auf unterhaltsame Weise ein Stückchen einfacher zu machen. Auf YouTube findet man auch sogenannte Compilations, also Zusammenstellungen von Lifehack-Videos, die zur Unterhaltung angeschaut werden können. Lifehacks machen Spaß und viele von ihnen verwenden Gegenstände, die bereits zu Hause zu finden sind, so dass sie alle direkt ausprobieren können.  

… ein Reaction Video?

Bei einem Reaction Video filmen sich Social-Media-Nutzerinnen, während sie ein anderes Video anschauen. Das Reaction Video zeigt meistens ihre Reaktion auf das Gesehene. Ist das Video bekannt, auf das reagiert wird, macht es Spaß, die Reaktion zu beobachten und mit der eigenen zu vergleichen. Es kann auch unterhaltsam sein, wenn man vorhersehen kann, wie die Reaktion ausfallen wird und dann genau das passiert, was man erwartet hat – oder wenn man überrascht wird. Wenn man das ursprüngliche Video nicht kennt, kann das Schauen eines Reaction Videos neugierig darauf machen.

Oft wird auf Videos reagiert, in denen es eine unvorhersehbare Wendung gibt, die den Betrachter zum Beispiel erschrecken. Es ist am besten, sich ein solches Video anzusehen, um zu verstehen, was Reaction Videos sind – z. B. dieses mit Billie Eilish. Oder lassen Sie sich von Ihrem Kind welche zeigen. 

Viele YouT YouTuber nehmen regelmäßig Reaction Videos auf, auch auf TikTok sind sie ein beliebtes Format. Beim Erstellen von Reaction Videos sollte man darauf achten, die Urheberrechte zu wahren. Es können rechtliche Probleme auftreten, da das Zeigen eines großen Teils des Videos, auf das reagiert wird, eine Verletzung des Urheberrechts darstellen und rechtliche Konsequenzen nach sich ziehen kann. Das Video kann dann gesperrt werden. Reaction Videos bieten daher eine guter Gelegenheit, mit Ihrem Kind über rechtliche Regelungen im Internet zu sprechen – egal, ob es selbst eines aufnehmen will oder sich diese Videos einfach gerne anschaut.

Andere beliebte Genres

Es gibt noch viele weitere beliebte Formate auf Social Media, die bei Kindern und Jugendlichen beliebt sind. Wir haben bereits in eigenen Beiträgen über diese berichtet und möchten Ihnen hier noch einmal einen kurzen Überblick geben: Let’s Play-Videos, Challenges, Tutorials, Memes, Stories, Pranks, UnboxingVideos, Live-Formate und Vlogs

Reading and learning with Tiptoi

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.

In brief

  • Reading pen with recording function
  • usable in combination with special books, games and puzzles
  • only compatible with Ravensburger products
  • for children from 2 years
  • in the starter package for 70 Euro (from 2 years) or 60 Euro (from 3 years)

What can Tiptoi be used for?

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:

  • When you tap on the red eye icon of the Discover layer, the pen reads texts, makes sounds, explains pictures and much more.
  • At the orange light bulb symbol of the Knowledge level, children learn exciting facts about the respective book topic. New content is retrieved again and again on a random basis.
  • In the storytelling level, which is marked with a blue speech bubble symbol, the children listen intently to short stories designed to stimulate the imagination and deepen the play experience.
  • And finally, you can tap on the green cube icon of the Games level, whose content deepens what you have learned in a playful and interactive way.

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.

What fascinates children about it?

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.

What does the provider think?

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.

What should parents pay attention to?

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.

Stickers in WhatsApp and Co. – between creativity and spam

Stickers have long been indispensable in messenger apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and others. The small, colorful pictures are often funny or cute and offer a fun and creative way to express emotions and liven up conversations. We explain what stickers are useful for and when their use can also become exhausting.

What can stickers?

Unlike traditional emojis, stickers are often hand-drawn or digitally created graphics. The small images and animations offer an easy and quick way to convey a message, express your mood or bring fun into a conversation. Stickers can also be used to overcome language barriers. Since images are a universal language, they can be useful in multicultural communication situations.

There are stickers for almost every situation, from funny memes and cute animals to political messages and cultural references. With various apps like Sticker Maker or Sticker Studio, you can quickly and easily create your own stickers that are not available in any other app.

What excites children and young people about it?

For children and teenagers, sending and receiving the colorful images provides entertainment and fun. It is typical for young people in particular to communicate with images. Image communication partially replaces the written word. Children also like to make jokes, laugh and have fun. In stickers they can easily combine all this. Especially creating your own stickers provides a lot of creativity and individuality, which is especially popular among young people.

What can be problematic?

  • Misconceptions: Stickers should not be used to address serious or sensitive issues. In such cases, it is best to limit yourself to text or voice messages to avoid misunderstandings
  • Displeasure, distraction, and stress: Excessive use of stickers in group or class chats, for example, can make others feel disturbed or inconvenienced – even leading to digital stress.
  • Inappropriate content: There are many stickers that contain inappropriate, discriminatory or pornographic content. When children and young people encounter such stickers, they may be confronted with content that they cannot yet understand or process.
  • Harassment and Bullying: Stickers can be used to harass or bully others. Children and teens may send stickers that are hurtful or offensive, causing emotional harm to others.
  • Copyright infringement: If children and young people use stickers that are protected by copyright, they may be breaking the law and getting into legal trouble.
  • Security risks: Stickers can pose a security risk as they can be used by hackers and cybercriminals to spread malware and viruses. When children and teenagers download stickers from unknown sources, it can infect their device and expose personal data.

How can parents deal with it?

Find out about the apps your child uses and see what stickers are available there. There are also special parental control apps that can restrict access to certain apps or features.

Remember that social contacts become increasingly important for your child as he or she reaches puberty, and digital communication is just as much a part of this as conversations in the playground. Educate your child about not spreading stickers that may offend or harass others. Discuss rules for dealing with stickers – especially in class and group chats. Getting others’ permission before sharing stickers can help reduce problems. Also educate your child about what to do if he or she feels uncomfortable or harassed and always be approachable.

Talk to other parents and teachers about how stickers are handled in group chats. This way you can support each other and exchange ideas.

Feel free to create a fun sticker together with your child sometime. This encourages creativity and engagement with images and text.

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