FSM publishes youth media protection index on 20th anniversary

New study on how children, young people and parents deal with online-related risks

The Voluntary Self-Regulation of Multimedia Service Providers (FSM) was founded 20 years ago as a non-profit association to protect children and young people from dangers.A representative study has now taken stock of the extent to which protection from negative surfing experiences is anchored in the concerns, attitudes, knowledge and actions of parents and their children.

"We observe that the worry spectrum of parents and adolescents is shifting. As they get older, fear of contact with disturbing content fades and concerns about interacting with other adolescents increase. The challenge is to adapt classic youth media protection to this," says Martin Drechsler, managing director of FSM e.V.

94 percent of all parents see it as their duty to protect their children from negative experiences online. At the age of 13, children already outperform their parents in terms of online skills, which is why 82 percent of parents also want help from authorities. Likewise, 81 percent see social networks as having a responsibility. Almost all parents (90 percent) would like to see access to online services made more difficult in general to better protect children. A clear majority of parents have basic knowledge about the protection of minors from harmful media. However, if adolescents are confronted with problematic online content or need support in the event of stressful experiences, only about one third of parents know about the relevant contact points. Only very few have made use of them so far. "Ignorance or excessive demands pose a problem. Parents must be helped to better protect their children through educational measures. This involves filling gaps in knowledge, presenting protective measures and tools, and also pointing out the central role that parents play in media education," says Martin Drechsler.

The FSM is the publisher of the study, which was conducted by the independent research institutions Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research and JFF - Institute for Media Education in Research and Practice. The director of the Hans Bredow Institute, Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink, advocates the further development of the youth media protection system: "With the Youth Media Protection Index, we now have a solid empirical basis. We need to discuss the opportunities and risks of online communication again, adapt the youth media protection system to the new findings and develop measures to promote it."

Dr. Niels Brüggen, Head of Research JFF - Institute for Media Education in Research and Practice: "How effective instruments of youth media protection are is ultimately decided in the everyday life of the family; therefore, the study focuses on the perspectives of parents and children and the interaction between them. It was important for us to also capture those concerns of parents and children that are not covered by the existing youth media protection."

Further information on the Youth Media Protection Index and download of the study: www.fsm.de/jugendmedienschutzindex