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Protection of minors in the media in Germany

This is where you can find out what "software nannies" (Kindermädchen) do and how you can help to promote more protection for minors in the media.


National Project Group for the Protection of Children and Minors

The National Project Group for the Protection of Children and Minors (BAJ – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Kinder- und Jugendschutz e.V.) is the agency to contact if you have any questions concerning laws, education or organization with respect to the protection of children and minors.

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

The family enjoys the special protection of the state - and that's anchored in the German Basic Constitutional Law. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) is in charge of taking care of children, their parents and increasing the solidarity between the generations. Other areas of responsibility include equal opportunity for men and women, community service, public welfare and volunteer work.

Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons

Children and young people need to be protected from right-wing extremist music, violent videos and pornographic websites. That’s why the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) indexes films, music and computer games. This Federal Department also works to make the public more aware of the importance of protecting minors from dangerous media and promotes media education.

German Press Council

Journalists are not always true to their professional ethical code: one need only recall reports of misrepresentation, the unauthorized mention of names, and intrusion on privacy. The German Press Council was formed in 1956 as a voluntary organization for self-regulation to combat this problem. Its members ensure that journalists observe the press code, a list of basic principles designed as guidelines for journalists in their daily work.

The German Advertising Council

In the year 2002, 1,985 citizens and institutions lodged complaints with the Advertising Council (Deutscher Werberat) about advertising campaigns they considered as discriminatory or likely to have an undesirable effect on the moral development of minors. This institution, which was founded by the central organization for the German advertising industry (Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft), has been in existence since 1972. Following the principle of “self-discipline rather than government control”, this institution tries to reconcile conflicts between the German advertising industry and the general public.

fragFINN - Ask Finn

Keeping kids safe while surfing on the Net: The FragFINN (Ask FINN) portal provides eight to twelve-year-olds with a safe place to surf. Media specialists search the virtual world for websites they can recommend to the kids. Parents configure their browsers so that their youngsters are not able to access anything except websites that are suitable for their age groups. The software required can be downloaded free of charge.

Voluntary Self-Control TV

Presentations of sex and violence in movies and on TV can have a lasting impact on the development of children and teenagers. For this reason, 13 private broadcasters founded the Association of Voluntary Self-Control in Television (Verein Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen e.V., FSF) in 1993. The FSF commissions independent experts to examine whether the programs are suitable for young people or not.

Voluntary Self-Control of the Multimedia Services

The Internet offers an inexhaustible source of information on the one hand, but also a place for the supporters of illegal organisations, and for presentations of sex and violence on the other. The web is not safe from abuse. That´s why the Association of Voluntary Self-Control of the Multimedia Services (Verein Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Dienstanbieter e.V., fsm) was founded in 1997 by media associations and companies to protect children and young people from illegal and dangerous contents.

Internet Complaint Office for Germany

Everyone can play a part in making the Internet a safer place to be. Regardless of whether you’re surfing the German web or opening mail in your electronic mailbox, if you should happen across any contents that you consider as criminal, illegal or harmful to minors: write a note to the Internet Complaint Office! Protection of Minors on the Web

Surfing and chatting on the Web is as easy as child’s play – but it is also important to protect minors from exposure to sites containing violence, racism or pornography. That is exactly what does, a state-operated organization that monitors German information and communications services.

Youth and Social Networks

The Internet has long become an integral part of the daily lives of most children and young people in Germany.  Researching online for homework, looking up unfamiliar concepts on Wikipedia, and chatting with friends are the norm. Young people in Germany also use social networks extensively. “Social interaction with other Web users is the most important reason for young people to access the Internet.”

Entertainment Software Self-Regulation

Collaboration between official and voluntary agencies for the protection of minors: Entertainment Software Self-Regulation (USK – Unterhaltungssoftware SelbstKontrolle) is the expert agency for testing interactive media and for the voluntary self-regulation of the entertainment software industry. The agency is commissioned by manufacturers to test whether or not a product fulfils all the legal requirements and to determine what age group it is suitable for.