Frequently asked questions
As a general rule, you should establish an absolutely media-free zone where your baby sleeps and spends time (even if he or she is in your arms), and everyone should respectfully adhere to it. Ask your older children not to use mobile devices in the presence of the little one and, on the other hand, allow the older ones their arranged media time, during which the toddler is then not in the room.
It is best to try to keep preschool children away from digital media as long as possible, as social, natural encounters at this age are much more valuable and offer “real” experiences.
Mediafasting – Find the healthy media balance!
As a minimum guideline, follow the recommendations formulated by the German Federal Center for Health Education on daily media use times for children:
Age: 0-3 years
|Picture books/books||regularly look at picture books and read them aloud (from about 6 months)|
|Listening to audio media (music CDs, audio files, audio stories)||for a maximum of 30 minutes|
|Screen media (television, video, computers, game consoles, tablets, smartphones)||best not at all|
Age: 3-6 years
|Picture books/books||regularly look at picture books and read them aloud|
|Listening to audio media (music CDs, audio files, audio stories)||for 45 minutes or less|
|Screen media (television, video, computers, game consoles, tablets, smartphones)||no more than 30 minutes combined|
Age: 6-12 years
|Picture books/books||regularly read / read aloud|
|Listening to audio media (music CDs, audio files, audio stories)||60 minutes or less|
|Screen media (television, video, computers, game consoles, tablets, smartphones)||combined maximum 45-60 minutes|
Recommendation: To ensure that other activities such as exercise, family time together and “classic” games are not neglected, it is recommended that children do not use screen media such as television, computers, game consoles as well as tablets and smartphones every day if possible, and then not for longer than the specified times. At least one hour before bedtime is the best time to switch off!
First of all, you really have to want it so that they don’t buckle again at the resistance that will come from the child in the beginning. We recommend removing the TV and carrying it to the cellar or storing it in the attic, for example. However, you should at least make the set “invisible” (e.g. with a cloth over the TV). “Out of sight out of mind” still works very well at this age and if you then have a repertoire of nice alternative offers, there will quickly be no more questions.
Yes, because it is important for the grandmother and the interpersonal bond in the family. Your child will not get much out of it, you will notice this at the beginning by the irritation that the child shows towards the device and grandma. Over time, of course, the child will become accustomed to the device, but you should leave it at a short contact so that grandma can be aware of the grandchild and make an appointment for a detailed conversation at another time when the child is not present.
Establish a ritual for going to bed: After brushing teeth, go to bed, tell or read a story, sing a goodnight song or say a nice evening saying or a goodnight prayer with the child. Say goodnight to the child and then leave him or her alone. If your child is still talking, continue to listen to him/her, but do not actively initiate the conversation. Make sure that there is as little light as possible in the room.
Children aged 6 to 9 should not be allowed to use digital screen media for more than 30 to 45 minutes on any one day. If possible, you should always use high-quality content together with your children and discuss it afterwards. The age recommendations should be adhered to and the content should be checked in advance for suitability for your own child.
- Children under the age of 9 should not be allowed free internet access, even supervised.
- Encourage your child to maintain friendships, play sports, learn an instrument! Surprising but true: this is the best prevention against computer game addiction, cyber-bullying, violence, porn and rip-offs on the internet. A solid anchorage in life, real success and real recognition protect against the search for substitutes in virtual worlds.
- No smartphones at primary school age! (at best “senior model”)
- In the lower classes, PC homework should remain the great exception. The rule is: no PC or Internet use without adult supervision. Ask for a supervised media room at school for this purpose.
Children between the ages of 9 and 12 should not be allowed to use digital screen media for more than 45 to 60 minutes a day. In doing so, you should always use high-quality content, if possible together with your children, and discuss it afterwards. The age recommendations should be adhered to and the content should be checked in advance for suitability for your own child.
- Children under the age of 9 should not have their own game console.
- You should let children have their own smartphone with limited internet access from the age of 9 at the earliest, better from 12.
- Children between the ages of 9 and 12 should only be given supervised Internet access.
- Agree on time limits in writing (e.g. six hours per week). It pays to sit through conflicts calmly: Better trouble at ten than addiction at seventeen!
- Don’t get behind the wheel of a car without a driving licence, don’t use a PC without completing a 10-finger typing course. Sounds radical, but it has proven itself many times.
- A good tip for families with teenagers: share an Internet PC in the kitchen. There is more negotiation about who gets to use it and when. But parents can keep track of times and content.
- If it is not possible to always sit next to it: Set up a separate user account for the child with time limits and internet filter software (whitelist).
Children of this age should learn:
- … to regularly reflect on their own usage behaviour and adjust it if necessary.
- … to be aware of your own role model function for active and passive screen use.
- … to refrain from using digital screen media in the presence of younger family members.
- … in the event of excessive Internet use, carry out a recognised media-related self-test and seek professional help if necessary.
Plan a holiday programme with offers but also free times that you allow the children. Depending on the season and the weather, such times are also suitable for realising larger projects: e.g. building a hut in the forest, sprucing up the garden, tidying up the cellar/attic and making a flea market stall, building a large puzzle, rehearsing a small family theatre/musical play and performing it in front of relatives and neighbours, and much more.
Even in bad weather there are possibilities for leisure activities. In general, it is possible to go out in any weather (except severe weather warning) with the right clothes. If this does not work out, you can still create variety for home:
- Do handicrafts together (from 2 years): there are handicraft books with lots of ideas, upcycling (with toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, corks etc.), potato stamps, make your own modelling clay from flour and salt.
- Singing songs and making music together
- Reading and looking at picture books
- Involving the child in everyday activities
Allow your child plenty of rest, but no electronic and digital media, as these cost extra energy that your child needs to get better. Avoid too much sensory stimulation from the outside, which does not mean that you cannot even “take your child’s mind off” the pain. Observe your child well, they often show very clearly what they need and what they do not need.
The most common symptom in children is fever – Do you already know our FeverApp? There you will find many valuable tips on fever as a natural resource and how to deal with it.
Set rules about what can be seen, when and for how long, and ensure that the rules are observed in a friendly but firm manner. Turn off the device if your child does not adhere to the rules set in advance. If this does not work in the long term, stop the child’s media consumption completely, provide alternative activities and allow the child to be bored, because boredom often leads to a lot of creativity. If possible, take the device out of the child’s field of vision so that it is not called into consciousness so often and with it the question: “may I?”.
Know and check digital whereabouts
Create your own user interface for children
Use age-appropriate software
Limit app downloads
Activate filters for search engines
Limit the length of use
Educate about personal rights and data protection
Talk openly about dangers.
The FSK labels are guard rails that offer parents and children safety but no educational age recommendations. These are merely the opening of shown contents for an age group.
First of all, think about how many photos you have on your smartphone and how often you really look at them. Taking and filming photos and videos and sharing them is becoming more and more of a focus, which is why it is also becoming more important to be aware of the dangers of the internet and to protect your child from it. In addition, taking photos can be very distracting at some moments, as the person taking the photo is much less actively involved in the event. Of course, parents will want to capture some memories in photos or videos. They might take a special moment on some “important” days (birthday, Christmas, christening, etc.) to take photos or videos. The rest of the day, the attention then belongs to the family.
Especially with grandparents, you often encounter the difficulty that they seem to allow their grandchildren to do everything that they certainly would not have allowed their children to do back then. Talk to your parents/parents-in-law about your educational principles and ideas and then make joint appointments.
You could agree in advance with your friends that the meetings, as long as your child is present, will be completely analogue and without the use of smartphones etc. You should explain their concerns and the dangers of screen media at the age of 0 to 3 years. You should explain your concerns and the dangers of screen media between the ages of 0 and 3.
Here, too, you must bear in mind that your small child does not understand where the music is coming from at first and is irritated. It doesn’t understand the technology and the content even less, of course, and that means stress for the child. If you do not want to do without it, you should mute the radio during news and advertising.