Children, Youth and Media
The use of computers, the Internet and smartphones is an important part of the daily lives of children and young people. Children and young people find themselves in an interdependent relationship with media: On the one hand, they use media with very specific goals, habits and preferences, and on the other hand, the media shape their understanding of the world. Thus, media is an essential component of their development.
Parents, above all, should support their children to handle media responsibly – because the more practiced your child is with media, the better he or she can judge offers and recognize possible dangers. As well as a parent’s mandate to protect, it is also important to allow for possibilities to shape and participate in digital media – naturally, appropriate to the respective age of the child.
You can do a lot towards thoughtful and aware use of the Internet: You can find here basic tips on how you can support your child in their interaction with computers and the Internet:
- Be a role model for you child – not only when your child is watching. Reflect also on your own media habits.
- Find opportunities to talk to your child – regardless of how old he or she is: Be the first person you child can turn to, and above all, make sure your child can trust you when they do turn to you.
- Use media together with your child sometimes.
- Internet experiences should be reflected on together.
- Search specifically for appropriate media offers together with your child.
- Create media rules together which correspond to the age of your child. Simple bans are usually not helpful.
- Using appropriate settings in the operating system and the installation of parental controls make sure that your child feels safe.
- Let your child know that he or she might come across problematic sites in the Internet that he or she does not understand, or that could frighten him or her.
- If you or your child come across problematic content that is relevant to youth protection, please contact www.internet-beschwerdestelle.de.
In addition, for younger children:
- To begin with, surf together with your child.
- Limit the amount of time that your child spends on the Internet.
- The computer should not be located in your child’s bedroom or playroom – at first, put it in a location that is regularly visited by the whole family.
- Use child-appropriate access to the Internet, for example search engines designed for children and safe websites designed especially for children.
- Your child should only use a chat or social network that is moderated, e.g. playmessenger.com or kidzworld.com.