Digital games have become an integral part of the everyday lives of children and young people. In order to play these games, they often have to be purchased or, in the case of free games, at least downloaded. A now rather rare way to buy games is to go to a store and buy a physical data carrier there. This also eliminates the age check carried out by a sales clerk on site. In order to protect your child, we would like to give you an overview of where children and young people can buy games and where you as a parent can find information on setting options.
On the computer, the possibilities for obtaining games are almost unlimited. In the meantime, many publishers have created their own launcher (a program used to launch games) with their own store. A user account must be created there and it is often also possible to deposit a means of payment. A well-known game that is popular with children and runs via its own launcher is Minecraft . In addition to the “own” launchers, there are also large companies that specialize in the digital sale of computer games such as Steam Epic Games Store and GOG. You can find an overview of the technical measures for distribution platforms in the USK guide. The website medien-kindersicher also informs parents about technical protection settings for various devices, services and apps.
For consoles such as Xbox, Nintendo Switch or PlayStation it is often easier to see through how children and young people get hold of games. You can either buy them in the store or in the online store of the respective console. To do this, either payment information must be stored or POSA cards, which are subject to a charge, are used. In the console’s account settings, you can often create children’s accounts, set age restrictions for content or set the screen time. We explain some of the setting options in the article Endless play – technical settings.
Smartphone gaming in particular has become increasingly important for children and young people in recent years. This has a lot to do with the technical development of mobile devices: unlike a few years ago, cell phones are now powerful enough to play games on them. As cell phones are very common among children aged 9 and over, they are naturally also used for playing games. The games are distributed via the app stores and downloaded there. You cannot buy a data carrier in a store. The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK ) has been awarding age ratings for online games and apps within the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC ) for many years. This makes it possible to block certain content. Make the necessary settings in the app stores and, if necessary, create a separate children’s account that you manage as an adult. You can find detailed information on this in the articles on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“With Pokémon Sleep, you can turn your sleep into entertainment!”. This is how the Pokémon Company advertises its new game – with success. The Google Play Store has recorded more than 5 million app downloads since its release in July 2023. The catch: the app accompanies children and young people to bed and collects sensitive health data in the process.
Pokémon Sleep is an app that embeds human sleep in a gaming experience. Players have to help Professor Neroli with sleep research on an adventure island and work together with the Pokémon Relaxo. The app records noises and movements during the night and uses the data collected to create a sleep log. The longer users sleep, the higher their score the next morning and the more new Pokémon appear around Relaxo. Sleep is divided into three types: Semi-sleep, light sleep or deep sleep. In the morning, Pokémon appear that sleep in a similar way. During the day, players can explore sleeping poses, feed the Pokémon and carry out other game activities. The aim is to record as much sleep as possible and thus collect many different Pokémon and poses. The app is also compatible with Pokémon GO Plus, which is the gadget for the game Pokémon GO.
Whether as playing cards, a TV series or a video game – many children and young people grow up with Pokémon and love the little monsters. Pokémon is aimed at young people’s passion for collecting. With Pokémon Sleep, players can get new Pokémons and take care of them without much effort. Getting information about sleep behavior appeals to young people’s love of discovery. Tasks from the friendly Professor Neroli and rewards such as bonus cookies make children and young people want to spend time in the game world with the Pokémons.
Consumer protection warns that Pokémon Sleep monitors the sleeping behavior of children and young people and that the game concept can encourage addictive behavior:
In this test, the data protection website mobilsicher.de proved that the app sends data to advertisers. The audio recordings are saved locally and deleted after 24 hours. However, users’ sleep profiles are stored on company servers. The Pokémon Company states that it does not sell sensitive data of minors for advertising purposes. It is not possible for minors to link their accounts with those of friends. The provider advises you to switch off the audio recording function to save data.
Protect your child’s privacy online and avoid data-hungry apps such as Pokémon Sleep. Younger children in particular can be very absorbed by this game directly before and after sleep, but also during the day. Children are not yet able to assess the implications of sleep monitoring in connection with digital currency.
If your child is older and really wants to use the app, please note the following information:
There seems to be something for young and old on Disney+: from cartoon classics such as Snow White and Mickey Mouse to big blockbusters such as Star Wars and the most popular Disney films of recent years such as The Ice Queen. What parents should know about the offer.
The streaming portal offers a large selection of films and series, similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime and the like. In addition to successful movies from Walt Disney and Pixar in recent years, older Disney films are also available. In addition, there are exciting documentaries from National Geographic. Episodes of current Disney Channel series are also published on the platform at weekly intervals. This way, there is less danger of watching through an entire season without a break. There is also the option of downloading content (does not apply to the subscription model with advertising). With the Standard and Premium subscriptions, Disney+ can also be used on the go with any internet-enabled device. So far, the offer is not as large as on Netflix, for example. However, more and more films are being added.
Disney+ is clear and easy to use for children. The wide range of popular franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars offers both familiar and new adventures. Until February 2021, there were no films with an age rating above FSK 12 or certain scenes were cut out of individual films so that they are also suitable for younger children. In the “Star” category that was then added, adult content is now also available. Adults enjoy the favorite films of their own childhood.
Disney+ has additional parental control settings despite primarily adult content. However, films from the age of 12 can also be found in the offer. Especially smaller children can still be frightened by such films. It is therefore important to guide children in their film selection and viewing.
By creating a children’s profile (called Junior mode), films that are not approved for younger children are not displayed. There is no specific age rating. Disney+ decides what is displayed in Junior mode. This means that films and series with a rating of 0 are also missing from the children’s profile. In the children’s profile, you can, for example, prevent the next episode of a series from playing automatically and the user interface is simplified. Parental controls can be used to assign a PIN to individual profiles – e.g. the profile for adults or older children – so that younger children do not have access. Individual titles cannot be hidden.
If you want to set the age rating yourself, you can assign an age rating to a normal profile (without parental control, without junior mode): 0, 6, 12, 16 or 18 years. However, depending on the subscription model, advertising will run in such a profile.
Each profile, with the exception of the main profile, can also be subsequently converted into a children’s profile (junior mode).
Disney states that advertising content such as clips and trailers for content available on Disney+ or for other Disney products can be shown. Live content can also contain traditional commercial breaks and other advertising formats. There is no advertising in Junior mode. Incidentally, there are no in-app purchases with Disney+, which can lead to unwanted costs, especially for children and young people. And if tobacco products are shown in a movie, Disney draws attention to this with a warning at the beginning.
Account sharing, i.e. the use of an account by several people at the same time, is prohibited under the terms and conditions, but is possible. From 2024, Disney+ will take decisive action against this breach of the rules.
Since Disney+ is primarily aimed at children, they will quickly become accustomed to having access to their favorite series and movies at all times.
Especially accompany young children watching movies. Find out about specific movies and series in advance. Choose age-appropriate programs, for a younger child rather short episodes than long films. Also, schedule plenty of screen-free time for other activities such as walks in the fresh air or hobbies. Talk about set media times within the family.
“Just a little more, I’m almost done.”, “But if I do this now don’t do it, then it’s all gone!” – Are you familiar with statements like this from your game-loving child? It’s not just colorful game worlds and entertaining game mechanics that fascinate players. Some video games have opaque profit motives with which games companies want to make money. Or there are game mechanics that can tempt players to play for far too long. We will introduce you to the most important mechanisms in this regard and show you setting options for devices and platforms to support your child in conscious gaming.
How are gamers kept in the game? Developer studios have come up with various methods to achieve this:
With such mechanics, game developers reinforce the “FOMO” effect (which stands for “fear of missing out”) and bind younger and less experienced players in particular to the game.
The independent test committees of the USK assess the extent to which these mechanics are present in the game and how they influence the gaming experience. The age rating depends on the implementation and the technical safety settings in the game. If these mechanics have a significant influence on the age rating, they are indicated as additional information in the license plate. This includes additional information such as “Pressure to play a lot” or “Increased purchase incentives”.
Playing is a popular pastime for children and young people. To ensure that your child learns how to handle games well and responsibly, set rules together with your child and set clear boundaries. In consultation with your child, use the parental options and parental control settings on gaming platforms and devices, which can be used to limit the playing time, for example.
We have collected the most common platforms and their settings for you here:
App permissions can also be managed for both operating systems. For example, you can switch off push notifications for game apps so that your child does not automatically receive reminders to continue playing.
In addition, many games also have child safety features. For example, in the popular online shooter Fortnite. You can find detailed instructions on devices, apps and programs on the medien-kindersicher platform.
As a general rule, parental control settings cannot protect against all dangers and risks. Only use such settings in consultation with your child and adapt them to their age and stage of development. Talk to your child about the tricks of the game industry, such as login rewards, and encourage them to use games consciously.
They hang neatly sorted in the supermarket, usually near the checkout: credit cards. Whether for telephone providers, Netflix, Amazon, Google Play or Steam – the purpose of these small plastic cards is always the same: they are a form of digital payment. Credit cards are also used in computer games. But how does it actually work?
The credit cards work according to the POSA procedure. POSA stands for “Point-Of-Sale-Activation”. This means that the printed code is only activated after payment at the checkout. The code can then be exchanged for credit on the respective online platform. Because it is virtually impossible to trace the original purchaser of the prepaid card afterwards, this type of payment is relatively anonymous.
The games market offers a wide range of paid games for smartphones, tablets and game consoles. POSA cards with credit for individual games such as Fortnite, Minecraft or Roblox as well as credit cards for gaming platforms such as Steam are available for sale. Many additional contents are offered in free games to change the gaming experience. These include, for example:
Popular games and their additional content are a way for children and young people to compete with each other. Whoever has the coolest, super rare skin can brag about it. This sometimes leads to a lot of pressure to consume because your child doesn’t want to look bad in their circle of friends. Therefore, set up rules in the family and work them out together with your child. Discuss with your child how much money they spend on gaming. A good way may be for your child to buy the prepaid cards – and therefore their in-game purchases – as part of their pocket money. This will help your child learn to manage their own money and understand the value behind it. One advantage of POSA cards is that there are no hidden cost traps such as in-game purchases when gaming, but only the limited amount of prepaid credit can be spent.
For children, video games, whether on their cell phones or consoles, are part of their everyday lives. Take your child’s interest in gaming seriously, even if you can’t understand their enthusiasm for some of the games.
The age rating of the USK is printed on the front of POSA-Cards. Whether in the supermarket, at the petrol station or at the kiosk – the sale of POSA-Cards is tied to the permissible age of the purchaser. It becomes more difficult if your child buys POSA-Cards online or obtains them through friends. Pay attention to the age ratings of games and make it clear to your child that the USK age ratings for gaming are there for their own protection. After consulting with your child, make settings for technical youth media protection on game consoles, apps and games.
Is that a person – or a character from a computer game? NPC streamers imitate characters from games on camera and are paid by their fans to do so. This is sometimes an expensive pleasure for the users.
The term “NPC” may sound familiar to you: it is one of the top 10 youth words of 2023. NPCs originally stood for “Non Playable Characters”. They are marginal characters in computer games who are basically unimportant and therefore can hardly do anything. They often only have individual movements or reactions in their repertoire and thus appear absurdly robotic.
On TikTok it is precisely these rigid, short movements and utterances that become the attraction in so-called “NPC streams”. TikTokers initially sit motionless in front of the camera in the live stream. When viewers send them gifts in the form of colorful stickers, they react to them – again and again, always the same, with the same actions.
What may sound boring at first, enjoys great popularity on TikTok and co. Children and young people enjoy watching the live streams and observing the digital NPCs. It is the same effect that “living statues” in the pedestrian zone have on us: The funny situation of people behaving like statues or game pieces. Plus the brief moment of shock and fun when the coin falls into the hat and the character suddenly starts making strange movements. Some people reach into their pockets and pull out a few coins.
The problem with the digital version is that the stickers that are given away to TikTokers cost real money. Some more, some less. However, children and young people cannot buy the stickers individually, only in packs. These must be paid for by credit card or via the app store. Sometimes they are not even fully aware of these costs. A few funny pictures are quickly given away – and suddenly a lot of money is spent. Very successful streamers earn up to four-figure sums for an NPC appearance on TikTok.
It is therefore important for parents:
And once everything is clear and safe, you can simply enjoy a stream together with your child!
FIFA is the most famous and popular series of soccer video games. A new version has been published annually since 1993. Teams from real soccer leagues can be used or your own can be created. The successor to FIFA23 is called EA Sports FC 24 and is only released for ages twelve and up.
EA Sports FC (formerly: FIFA) is one of the most popular games among teenagers. This takes advantage of the popularity of well-known teams and soccer stars. Young people can take on the role of their favorite player and compete against other teams alone or with others in cross-platform online mode.
EA Sports FC is especially interesting for youngsters who are passionate about soccer anyway and can experience their favorite sport in yet another way. The game establishes a connection with the real teams and players who are idols for many soccer fans. Since FIFA 23, some women’s soccer leagues are also represented in the game.
Playing together with others and the competitive principle offer a special fun. Exciting are the clear rules that are adopted from the soccer field and must be implemented in the game environment: A foul is also a foul in the game. Various game modes, such as the manager mode, offer the possibility to shape the virtual soccer world beyond the game on the pitch. Here, for example, birthday parties or social media posts can be used to promote careers.
The most popular mode in the game is Ultimate Team. The attraction is that you can put together your own team of favorite players according to the trading card principle and compete with gamers from the worldwide community. The app allows young people to hone their skills on their favorite team away from the game via smartphone or PC. With EA Sports FC 24, women’s soccer players are now a part of the game mode. Women and men can also be set up together in a team.
Just as in a soccer game on the sports field or in the stadium, conflicts can also arise in computer games – for example, arguments or insults in multiplayer or online mode.
The criticism that a lot of money is at stake in professional soccer and that the sport is losing its importance is ignored at EA Sports FC. The idols and favorite teams are portrayed positively throughout and are role models. The commercialization of soccer is also evident in the online mode: With the necessary money, you can put together your dream team in the Ultimate Team game mode.
As an alternative for game rewards (e.g. for completed online tournaments), in-game currency can be purchased for real money, which can be invested directly in the game in new players, virtual goods or random-based player packages (so-called loot boxes). Lootboxes are controversial because their principle is reminiscent of games of chance: sometimes the players received in them are better, sometimes worse. This can tempt inexperienced gamers in particular to spend a lot of money in-game.
In terms of content, the game does not contain any aspects relevant to the protection of minors and has therefore been released by the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) without age restriction to date. Due to the amendment of the German Youth Protection Act (JuSchG), the USK’s review criteria were adjusted at the beginning of 2023. Since then, the German age rating system has taken into account both content relevant to the protection of minors and so-called potential usage risks. This means: Previously, the USK’s review panels could not consider any chat options, in-game purchases or lootboxes. Since the beginning of 2023 this is different – hence now the age rating from 12 years.
Furthermore, the reasons for an age rating have been transparently indicated by additional notes since this year. These can be found on the back of the games’ packaging and in online stores right next to the age label. The higher age rating for EA Sports FC 24 was justified by the cues “pressure to act” and “in-game purchases + random objects”.
EA Sports focuses on the sporting and playful character of the game. The provider sees the game as a social platform where young people can share their passion for soccer and build friendships. EA Sports earns considerable sums with microtransactions such as lootboxes. The manufacturer refers to them as “virtual surprise eggs” and sees no need for change.
Parents should realize that for kids and teens, EA Sports FC is all about having fun together. Play once together with your child and try to understand the fascination. This connects and at the same time provides an opportunity to exchange ideas about the critical aspects of soccer.
Check the age rating of the game. Note that the previous FIFA versions were still tested according to the old USK criteria and were therefore released without age restrictions, although they also contained chat options, in-game purchases or lootboxes. For younger children, the game may not be unproblematic.
As parents, you should be especially attentive when it comes to in-game purchases. Together with your child, consider whether these are necessary and – if desired – set an upper limit. Talk to your child about the dangers of gambling mechanisms. The popular game consoles also offer detailed protection settings in which purchases within a game can be prohibited.
Set a good example for your children by controlling your own playtime and making it appropriate. This can help promote healthy habits.
The tigerbox TOUCH wants to offer “unlimited streaming variety” – that’s what the provider’s website says. Like other Audio boxes It is also a modern and popular alternative to cassette recorders and CD players.
The best way to describe the tigerbox TOUCH is as a square Bluetooth listening box with a bamboo casing that is supposed to provide particularly good sound. The large buttons and simple touch display of the tigerbox TOUCH make it child’s play to operate. There is also a light bar that responds to music and sound and a night light. If not everyone is supposed to listen in, headphones can also be connected.
In order for your child to listen to something from the multitude of songs and stories, there are two ways: paid access to the tigertones media library via app or the use of individual cards. Depending on your subscription, the tigertones app gives you access to more than 15,000 titles such as radio plays and children’s songs. After downloading the app and connecting the tigerbox TOUCH to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, your child can listen to stories from popular characters such as Benjamin Blümchen or the Olchis within a range of up to 10 meters. Alternatively, you can buy individual tigercards that play audio games or music after being plugged into the box. The wildcards allow playing self-recorded voice messages or mp3 files. The whole thing also works offline if you download individual audio plays in the app or by playing content via a card with the box.
The simple and practical operation of the box with the cards or via the touch display as well as the large selection of audio material suitable for children makes the tigerbox TOUCH interesting for children. Individual profiles with age information and favorite characters enable age-appropriate use of the box. You can set functions such as the parental lock, sleep timer or maximum usage time via the parent area. This way you can control what your child hears and when. Playing the wildcards yourself invites you to record creative audio stories with your own child.
For the purchase of a tigerbox TOUCH you currently pay about 100,00 €, which is comparable to other listening boxes for children.
The tigerbox TOUCH is described as “The smart audio system for the kids’ room and on the go”. According to the manufacturer Tiger Media Deutschland, the difference to conventional Bluetooth speakers is that the tigerbox TOUCH was developed by experts in children’s media with children’s needs in mind. In addition to the ease of use, the carrying strap as well as the bamboo case guarantees the sturdiness of the box (also for traveling). Content is also provided via the ad-free and child-safe app tigertones.
The tigerbox TOUCH is especially exciting for older children with the wide selection of titles. Use the parents’ area and make sure that your child can only access content that is approved for his or her age. Note that for the premium account of the tigertones app– i.e. full access to all content – you need to sign up for a paid subscription starting at 6.99€ per month. With the operation via the cards, even younger children can enjoy childlike listening pleasure. The tigercards and wildcards are available from 5,99€ per piece. Stiftung Warentest has tested various listening boxes and points out that the playback volume is often too high for children, especially in conjunction with headphones. Use decibel-limited headphones or do without headphones and explain to your child how to turn down the listening box. How about getting creative together with your child, and record your own audio stories? Then playing via the device is twice as fun.
Lawyers Legacy, or the “Mr. Lawyer Game,” is a pretty successful independent indie game, with over 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. The game is a fun little jump ‘n’ run game, in which the players take on the role of the well-known TikTok -Influencer Mr. Lawyer.
In Lawyers Legacy, game players take on the role of Tim Hendrik Walter aka “Mr.Lawyer,” a well-known influencer on TikTok . In his videos, he explains legal topics in a simple and understandable way, reaching many millions of clicks. In the intro of the game, Mr. Lawyer learns that some teachers have locked their students in the school so that they can learn even more. This is against the law and the game end must try to save the students as Mr. Lawyer.
The story is embedded in a fun jump ‘n’ run game that leads the players through the school building jumping and running in different levels. These elements are complemented by fights against teachers who try to stop Mr. Lawyer. In Lawyers Legacy the player can choose between four difficulty levels. The game is challenging even on the lowest difficulty, as controlling it via smartphone requires some practice.
With its jump ‘n’ run mechanics and two-dimensional visuals, Lawyers Legacy exudes the retro charm of popular classic games. Elements from school like mat carts in gym class are familiar to kids and teens and always makes them smile when they play.
The game was set to music by the influencer Mr. Lawyer himself. The game also features other well-known TikTokers, such as Laschakv, who makes funny videos about school. The game was developed by TikToker Yannick, who keeps his community up to date on the development of his games on social media channels. It is precisely this interactive process that makes the game so successful. Players can always share suggestions and criticism via TikTok and Co and thus participate in the development of the game.
In Lawyers Legacy, there are struggles with depictions of violence against teachers. However, the battles are kept very abstract, which older children and teenagers can usually cope with.
Those who want to play Lawyers Legacy on PC will pay €5.00 for the game on the Steam platform. Since the game is free for Android and iOS, there are always commercial breaks within the game. These promote unfiltered other apps and games from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store . These may include gambling mechanisms or the like, and some of them are not suitable for children. It is difficult to skip these commercials or click away after playing them.
Since late 2021, TikToker Yannick has been developing the Mr. Lawyer game and sharing the entire development process on social media. Yannick is an independent game developer, where the community comments at TikTok can help shape the development of the game. Currently, the game is still in the development phase and only the levels for physical education are ready and playable. More levels and bosses as well as a global multiplayer are planned.
While dealing with teachers in Lawyers Legacy may not be to your liking – show interest in your child’s favorite games and stay in conversation with them about them. Find out about the age ratings of video games and make an assessment of what kind of violent depiction your child can handle well. Lawyers Legacy is primarily aimed at teenagers and is not suitable for younger children due to the USK age rating of 12.
Even though the game has few levels at this early stage of development, it is important to discuss rules about media use within the family. Make binding agreements with your child about smartphone use and screen time.
There are always commercial breaks in the game. Educate your child about mechanisms of online advertising and encourage a conscious approach to advertising and dark patterns such as banner ads that are difficult to overcome. Deposit in the Google Play Store no payment options, so that your child can not accidentally buy an app advertised in the game.
Snapchat ist ein kostenfreier Messenger zum Versenden von Fotos und kurzen Videos. Die Besonderheit: Das lustige Selfie mit den Hasenohren oder ähnliche Bilder „verschwinden“ nach kurzer Zeit vom Bildschirm des Empfängers.
Mit Snapchat können Fotos und kurze Videos als Nachricht oder als Story an Kontakte versendet werden. Diese Snaps, also Schnappschüsse, sind nur für bis zu 24 Stunden sichtbar und „zerstören“ sich danach selbst. Die Fotos und Videos können mit unzähligen Filtern bearbeitet werden. Mit der „Memorys-Funktion“ können Nutzerinnen bestimmte Inhalte abspeichern. Neben den privaten Storys von Freunden gibt es Inhalte von Stars und Marken. Über die Funktion „Spotlight” lassen sich außerdem kreative Kurzvideos im TikTok-Stil veröffentlichen. Userinnen können über sogenannte „Snap Codes“ sowie über ihre Handynummer gefunden werden, wenn dies in den Einstellungen aktiviert ist. Das eigene Profil enthält nur Bilder und Videos, andere persönliche Angaben werden nicht gemacht. Mit der Kartenfunktion „Snap Map“ kann man sehen, wo sich die eigenen Kontakte gerade aufhalten.
Wer Snapchat nutzt, ist seit Februar 2023 automatisch mit dem Chatbot My AI befreundet. Dahinter steckt eine künstliche Intelligenz, die Fragen beantwortet, chattet und insgesamt wie ein „echter“ Freund daherkommt. Für die Nutzerinnen kann das ein nettes Spielzeug sein – ist jedoch auch mit Vorsicht zu genießen. Löschen lässt sich der Chatbot nur sehr umständlich und mit einem kostenpflichtigen Snapchat+-Abonnement.
Snapchat+ bietet für 4,49 Euro/Monat die Premium-Version, dort testen die Anbieter noch nicht veröffentlichte Features. Besonders für Kinder und Jugendliche ist das reizvoll: Es gibt mehr Optionen, den eigenen Avatar (genannt „BitMoji“) zu gestalten, und mehr Informationen über Freundeskonstellationen als mit einem regulären Snapchat-Konto.
Die App gehört zu den beliebtesten Anwendungen bei Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren. Teenager nutzen Snapchat sehr gern, um sich mit ihren Freundinnen auszutauschen. Dazu werden statt Text einfach Bilder und Videos versendet. Die Nutzung der Spaßfilter, Videos, die mit Musik unterlegt werden können, und selbst verschwindende Nachrichten machen den Reiz der App aus. Snapchat wirkt jugendlicher und verspielter als z. B. Instagram. Die Kommunikation erscheint Jugendlichen privater, da nur mit einzelnen oder in Gruppen Inhalte ausgetauscht werden. Auf der „Snap Map“ werden Personen als Avatare dargestellt, weshalb sie wie ein Spiel wirkt.
Alle Inhalte auf Snapchat zerstören sich nicht wirklich selbst, sondern sie lassen sich nach einer bestimmten Zeit nur nicht mehr aufrufen. Mit etwas technischem Know-how sind sie auf dem Gerät wiederherzustellen. Oder es wird einfach ein Screenshot gemacht – darüber wird der Versender des Bildes allerdings informiert. Trotzdem kann es problematisch werden, wenn Kinder und Jugendliche sehr persönliche – vielleicht sogar intime – Bilder und Videos von sich versenden und diese z. B. über Cybermobbing gegen sie verwendet werden. Durch die Vielzahl der versendeten Inhalte ist die Kontrolle darüber schwierig. Kinder und Jugendliche sollten daher genau wissen, wie sie die Melde- und Blockierfunktionen nutzen können. Das ist im Falle der unerwünschten Kontaktaufnahme besonders sinnvoll. Unter anderem deswegen ist auch die Funktion „Snap Map” kritisch zu sehen. Denn jedes Mal, wenn man Snapchat öffnet, wird auch die Snap Map aktualisiert. Und aus diesen Informationen lassen sich ziemlich viele Schlüsse ziehen wie Adresse, Schule oder Hobbys; auch von eher unbekannten Online-Freunden. Auch aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig, sich gut zu überlegen, wen man in den eigenen Kontakten aufnimmt.
Auch bestimmte Inhalte können für Jugendliche problematisch sein. Dazu zählen nicht altersgemäße Bilder ebenso wie unangemessene Werbung oder Snaps von Marken und Produkten.
Nutzende müssen sich an die Regeln der Plattform Snap halten. Die Nutzung von Snapchat ist Jugendlichen ab 13 Jahren nur mit der Erlaubnis ihrer Eltern gestattet. Es erfolgt allerdings keine technische Prüfung der Altersangabe.
Generell ist es verboten, nicht jugendfreie Inhalte, wie z. B. pornografische Bilder, zu verbreiten oder zu bewerben. Minderjährige dürfen keine Nacktbilder oder sexuell aufreizende Inhalte von sich posten oder versenden. Sicherheitsprobleme können innerhalb des deutschsprachigen Sicherheitscenters des Dienstes gemeldet werden. Außerdem ist es möglich, andere Nutzende zu blockieren und zu melden. Sogenannte Content-Manager prüfen Verstöße gegen die Snapchat-Richtlinien.
Snapchat sammelt jede Menge Daten von seinen Nutzern und erläutert das sehr offen in seinen Datenschutzbestimmungen – auch, dass Daten teilweise an Dritte weitergegeben werden. Die Daten, die man über Snapchat versendet, werden bei der Übertragung verschlüsselt. Über das Family Center können Eltern in der App verschiedene Kontrollfunktionen nutzen.
Über das Family Center von Snapchat erhalten Eltern Möglichkeiten über Kontrollfunktionen, z.B. einen Überblick zu den Aktivitäten ihres Kindes oder die Einrichtung von Inhaltskontrollen in der App. Um sich mit dem Konto des Kindes zu verbinden, wird allerdings ein eigener Snapchat-Account benötigt. Jugendliche müssen der Verbindung auch selbst zustimmen.
Wenn Ihr Kind die App gern nutzen möchte, sollten Sie unbedingt über mögliche Gefahren sprechen. Regeln Sie, wer die geteilten Inhalte sehen kann und wer nicht. Gehen Sie gemeinsam die Einstellungen durch. Erklären Sie Ihrem Kind, dass versendete Bilder per Screenshot vom Empfänger abgespeichert werden können. Es ist dringend zu empfehlen, dass Jugendliche nur Freundinnen und Freunde zu ihrer Liste hinzufügen, die sie tatsächlich kennen. Eine gute Übersicht zum sicheren Umgang mit Snapchat bietet Jugendlichen das Angebot Handysektor.
Sprechen Sie über die Funktion Snap Map: Was bedeutet die Sichtbarmachung des eigenen Standorts, welche Folgen und Risiken gehen damit einher und wird die Funktion überhaupt gebraucht? Das Teilen des Standortes kann auch unbewusst passieren (beim Öffnen der App). Dies kann im sogenannten „Geistmodus“ (Ghost Mode) verhindert werden. Auch kann der App die Berechtigung entzogen werden, auf den Standort zuzugreifen. Wenn eine Freundin Ihres Kindes Snapchat+ nutzt, sollte besonders darauf geachtet werden, die Tracking-Funktion zu deaktivieren oder die Person zu blockieren.
Twitter has been called X since July 2023. Not only the logo with the blue bird is passé, the American entrepreneur and new owner Elon Musk also wants to rebuild the platform concept. The popular social media offering is to become a multifunction app. After more than 15 years, this marks the end of the Twitter brand.
X works similarly to Facebook or Instagram, for example: A profile is created with personal information that others can follow. However, many users simply follow the postings of others. Famous personalities such as soccer players, female influencers, politicians or even journalists have the largest following. Companies and brands are also represented at X. In the “Follow Me” timeline, posts from subscribed channels appear chronologically. The “For You” feed shows content recommended by an algorithm. Unregistered readers can see posts, but cannot follow anyone directly.
Posts often consist of text only and are hashtagged. A maximum of 280 characters, i.e. letters, numbers, punctuation marks and symbols, can be used in one post. But also pictures, videos etc. can be sent and shared. Those who sign up for the X Blue premium subscription get advanced features such as post editing, longer messages with more characters, and fewer ads.
The peculiarity of X is that the short statements of mostly well-known people lead to discussions outside of X. US President Trump’s posts are a good example of this. The repost function also plays a role here. Posts are shared or referred to in a separate post. Discussions also often arise in the comments under the posts. In addition, direct messages can be written via a chat.
X is used relatively little by young people compared to other social media platforms. If they do, they are often politically interested and committed young people. But popular stars and musicians are also on X and post information about themselves.
The fascination around X is, on the one hand, the discussions, in which things sometimes go back and forth violently. On the other hand, some posts are sent out quickly and spontaneously. If you follow the posts at big events like soccer matches or elections, you get to see the reaction of the spectators live.
Personal information and statements are freely available to all. Through hashtags, posts that were actually intended for a small circle can suddenly be seen by very many users. Also, there is a risk that some users may try to contact your child with bad intentions.
If your child is under 18, you must agree to register with X. Make your child aware of how to report or block problematic content or people on X if needed. With the option to protect your own posts, they can be seen only by a selected circle. Explain to your child who may be able to see personal information and statements and what the consequences may be. Help your child understand and classify content on X by talking to them about how discussions can get heated and what other risks there are. If your child is interested in X or similar services, look at alternatives together, such as the decentralized microblogging platform Mastodon.
Addiction, violence, conspiracy theories, cyberbullying – sometimes you can get the impression that the Internet only brings out the worst in us.
But they do exist: the good sites on the worldwide web. The positive and age-appropriate content, the good news, the community and cohesion. We present valuable digital offerings for children and young people.
For the youngest users, the Internet is a vast space that is difficult to navigate at first. There is a gigantic offer of pages and content. But beware: most of the sites are aimed at adults.
Especially the classic access to the web via Google -search engine often leads to results that are, at best, boring and incomprehensible for children, at worst, frightening and traumatizing. But there are other ways: With children of kindergarten and elementary school age, parents are best off turning before Google – and using children’s search engines. The best-known search engines are Blinde Kuh and fragFINN. Here, every search displays child-friendly, vetted sites that are guaranteed to be fun.
If you are looking for good websites or apps, you don’t have to despair at the flood of offers, but will find recommendations and tips bundled together. Seitenstark features more than 60 tested children’s websites with high standards of quality and protection of children and young people from harmful media. Here children can find everything on topics such as nature and the environment, music and film, history and politics, or religion. The app database of the DJI (German Youth Institute) presents good children’s apps. Those interested in news will find age-appropriate information on news sites for children. The EU initiative klicksafe gives children valuable tips on how to use media safely.
But the offer does not have to remain purely passive: many websites offer opportunities to participate, such as the safe photo community Knipsclub, the portal Kindersache or other participation platforms.
And when the children get older? Then, in most cases, inappropriate search results are no longer the problem. Young people are moving more independently online, using social media platforms in particular for information and exchange. There they are confronted with many things – from negative headlines and political extremes to communication risks such as hate and bullying. And dubious role models, unrealistic life goals, such as those conveyed by influencers, can also be problematic.
For parents, it’s important to stay in communication with their child about what content they encounter online, what’s okay – and where they should rather steer clear.
Also, parents can give suggestions on valuable sites on the net. If you’re looking for positive news, for example, you’ll find it on sites like https://goodnews.eu/ or ZDF ‘s “Good News”. And thus perhaps creates a balance to the eternal negative news spiral, the doomscrolling.
There are many people and providers on social media platforms who stand for good, positive topics and values – and also good dealings. Starting with activists like Luisa Neubauer on Instagram for the climate or Raul Krauthausen on Facebook for inclusion. Under hashtags like #bodypositivity, stars like Sarah Nicole Landry convey a positive body image. This can be good for adolescents going through puberty.
And the great thing is that if you start following positive people and content, the algorithm helps you right along and flushes even more pleasant content onto your screen. This can quickly create a friendlier, more positive bubble where young people can feel more comfortable and safe than in the unfiltered social media world.
Whether for children, teenagers or adults, one thing is clear: There’s everything on the Internet. The good news and the bad, the beautiful sides and the terrible, the nice encounters and the unpleasant ones. Just everything that people have up their sleeves. And on and offline, we can and must choose well for ourselves what we want to occupy ourselves with.
Therefore, accompany your child to the net. Use – in consultation with your child – solutions for technical youth media protection such as settings on the smartphone, youth protection apps or special software. This can be used to secure devices and filter out content that is not age-appropriate.
Show your child the “good parts,” suggest content, and also talk about how they can choose content, why they should choose critically, and the impact the people and issues we engage with every day can have on us. The klicksafe materials, for example, are suitable for discussions about media use or for agreeing on rules with each other.
And if you do have unpleasant encounters with hate, extremism or the like, it’s also good to know the right places to go. We present these to you in the article “Digital counseling services for young people and parents“.
Whether it’s a podcast, book, magazine, series or movie – true crime and true crime cases are all the rage right now. The “true crime” genre is also exciting for young people. But where does the fascination come from and what should you pay attention to as a parent?
True Crime is not a fictional story, but a retelling of real criminal cases. The crimes described, often missing persons or homicide cases, are often unusual or have received special media attention because the legal decision was controversial. The fact that the cases actually happened makes them seem authentic in the eyes of the viewers. The criminal cases are told in very different ways: There are documentaries that portray the cases rather factually and close to reality. Other representations look like a movie – in them scenes are re-enacted or details are invented to make the stories even more interesting.
For users, the excitement lies above all in being “there” when a true crime is solved or explained. Real people did these things for specific reasons, and you want to know more about the motives for the act and the closer circumstances. In most cases, investigators or relatives of the victims also have their say and describe what happened from their perspective.
Telling exciting and, above all, real stories triggers thrills in many people. Putting themselves in the victim’s shoes, fathoming the motives of perpetrators, puzzling along and interpreting deeds – children and young people are attracted to reliving real criminal cases. Especially for young people, the study of the human psyche and personality development is interesting. Also attracting the penchant for the “forbidden” and unusual of these stories. When children reach puberty, they want to test their limits. This also includes watching or listening to things that are not actually suitable for their age because they can be stressful or frightening. While many older children and adolescents experience true-crime stories as entertaining and, for example, use “their” crime podcast during long train rides or while cleaning their rooms, younger children are often overwhelmed by the crime cases narrated.
The popularity of the genre means that there is an ever-increasing supply. Young people who particularly like the format may watch little other content. This can narrow their view of the world, which seems to be nothing but bleak and violent.
The depiction of real acts of violence can make children and young people afraid of becoming victims of crime themselves. Young people are particularly affected by scenes that they can identify with, such as violence against children or stories about relationships in families and partnerships. Younger people in particular often fail to recognize that a crime occurred many years ago or that a depiction is deliberately exaggerated to create suspense.
Not every series or podcast is equally carefully researched. Stories are circulating that may not have happened that way. In part, reality is distorted or simplified because it would be too costly and uninteresting to depict the real processes of a case with lengthy court hearings, interviews, etc.
Often, the perpetrator or the perpetrator is the focus of a true crime story. This can lead to viewers being fascinated by that person, which in turn can trivialize the acts themselves and diminish compassion for the victims.
The handling of gender roles within the genre should also be viewed critically. In many stories, the victims are female. Women are often portrayed as powerless and defenseless rather than empowered and strong.
Every story told touches children and young people differently. There are elements in true-crime stories that can overwhelm, unsettle, or frighten young people. Therefore, you should make sure that the true-crime show or podcast is also approved or recommended for your child’s age. Keep an eye on what your child is looking at and seek conversation.
Educate your child about the fact that not all true-crime formats are fact-based and how to verify their truthfulness – especially when it comes to trash TV shows. Ask what fascinates your child about True Crime. Whether the focus is on thrills, guesswork, or interest in investigative work: Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is True Crime, real crimes that have caused real suffering.
Read more: The project “True.Crime.Story” by Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen e. V. (FSF) and the JFF – Institut für Medienpädagogik (Institute for Media Education) investigated how young people view true-crime formats. Videos with voices of the interviewed young people and a report can be found on the website of Medienradar.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.