The internet was created for adults to use. Children, however use the internet alike.
More than half of the 6- to 13-year-old children use the internet from several times a week to daily. There are websites and apps especially designed for children, but it is unknown how relevant they are. In contrast, WhatsApp, YouTube and TikTok were listed among the most popular apps in the KIM study 2020. The trouble is, apps and websites designed for adults can be dangerous or might impair the children’s development. What makes apps and websites designed for adults so attractive even for young children? Understanding children's needs and how they use the internet will help to create more child-friendly, secure and attractive places on the internet.
In March 2021, the Youth Protection Act was subjected to an amendment based on children's rights. The protection of the personal integrity of children and young people as well as the promotion of orientation in media use were included as new goals to protect children’s rights. Children have the right to participate in digital cultural life: “States parties should ensure that children have the opportunity to use their free time to experiment with information and communications technologies, express themselves and participate in cultural life online” (General comment No. 25 to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).
To this end, child-friendly access to the internet should be promoted. To do so, the Bundeszentrale für Kinder- und Jugendmedienschutz finances this research project.