Child-friendly access to the Internet

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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.  


Project background

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.

Aim of the project

The project aims to provide a foundation for the systematic support of digital offers suitable for children.

In order to achieve this goal, the Federal Ministry for the Protection of Children and Young People in the Media  in the Media promotes the project "KiZI [Kindgerechte Zugänge zum Internet]- Child-friendly access to the internet".

To create child-friendly services, the protection, promotion and participation rights of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child must be balanced according to the growing abilities of children. What this means exactly is explored in the project by defining the term "child-friendly".  Eligible digital online services should be suitable for children and meet their expectations, needs and usage patterns.

Implementation of the project

The research project will develop a proposal that serves as a basis for the  promotion of child-friendly digital services and orientation offerings.

  1. In the first phase of the project a catalogue of criteria will be developed to check existing offerings for child-friendliness. This catalogue is based on the current state of research on children's media use and on legal requirements with a focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  2. In the second phase of the project, existing services aimed at children as well as services not aimed at children, but used by them, will be checked for child-friendliness.
  3. In the third phase of the project, focus group discussions and interviews will be conducted with children, guardians and providers of services aimed at children. The aim is to deepen the knowledge about expectations, needs and usage habits.
  4. In the fourth project phase, the findings are summarized in a final report.
  5. Categories children and youth, national, online-security, digital inclusion, child-oriented access to the internet

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