Protection of children and young people from media addiction

(Berlin) – Against the background of changing youth cultures and the continued increase in the importance of digital media for children and young people, the German Children’s Fund and the Federal Working Group for the Protection of Children and Young People call for the concept of media addiction to be used consciously and responsibly. Such an approach must protect against inaccurate stigmatization of a large number of young people, enable help for affected children and young people as a necessary diagnosis and equally recognize the importance of play and associated activities for children’s upbringing and development.

In a joint position paper, which, in addition to the German Children’s Fund and the Federal Working Group for the Protection of Children and Young People, was also signed by the German Federal Youth Council, the Federal Working Group for Open Children and Young People’s Facilities and the Drug and Abuse Aid Association, it is also emphasized that the child rights triad protection, empowerment and participation must always be considered.

“The unreflective or careless use of the concept of media addiction is counterproductive, especially for educational reasons. On the one hand, it contributes to unnecessary social stigmatization of young people who use media intensively or excessively. On the other hand, it can create appropriate prevention. work and approach to those affected more difficult and lead to necessary and helpful therapeutic offers to those affected being impaired in their effectiveness. A media policy strategy that is balanced in relation to children’s rights must not neglect the risk of excessive media use by young people, but should account for changing media cultures and media values,” emphasizes Kai Hanke, Deputy Director of the German Children’s Fund.

“We need an interdisciplinary and cross-societal discourse about what should be considered normal and uncritical in the use of digital games. It is also necessary to question what criteria are used to assess media use as problematic or even pathological . normality must always be used adapted to social reality. Consideration must be given to the development of new game formats as well as their integration into youth culture and social development, for example within eSports,” says Klaus Hinze, chairman of the Federal Working Group on protection of children and young people. “All in all, we are faced with the task of developing a culture of media use in the family and in everyday life. To do this, we need more educational offers for children and young people. Media protection, digital education for our children must be expanded. , parents have need services such as media education in the family and help when problems arise.”

The German Children’s Fund and the federal working group for the protection of children and young people also emphasize that children and young people must be included in a social discourse about normal or difficult game use. Your experiences and reflections should be an integral part of this process. In addition, young people’s ability to use media consciously and healthily should be promoted. Teaching media literacy as an important prevention factor is central. To this end, the educational protection of children and young people, especially in educational institutions, but also in the free and public youth welfare, must be ensured sustainably in terms of staff and financially and be technically interdisciplinary.

But the media providers must also live up to their responsibilities. This includes developing games for young people that relate to their interests and inclinations, stimulate their creativity and are conducive to their development. To achieve this, providers should involve young people in the development of their products. To protect personal integrity, providers must also refrain from game designs that produce addiction and mechanisms for financial exploitation. You should identify risks and invest in prevention work.

Source and contact address:
Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk eV Uwe Kamp, spokesperson Leipziger Str. 116-118, 10117 Berlin Phone: (030) 3086930, Fax: (030) 2795634

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