Expert Summit: Digital trendsArtificial intelligence as a challenge and opportunity for the protection of children and young people in the media

The Expert Summit "NextGen Media - Digital Trends in the Focus of Child and Youth Media Protection" took place in Berlin on March 19, 2024. The aim was to involve all key players in the discussion on contemporary child and youth media protection. Around 150 experts from research, the internet industry and youth media protection came together for the event. The symposium provided exciting impulses regarding the development and discussion of contemporary child and youth media protection. The Expert Summit was jointly organized by the Federal Centre for Child and Youth Media Protection (BzKJ) and the members of the German Safer Internet Centre - klicksafe, the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter (FSM), the Verband der Internetwirtschaft eco, and Nummer gegen Kummer.

Whether deepfake tools or immersive gaming with VR glasses - the digital possibilities are diverse and can usually be used with little prior technical knowledge. Current and future digital trends were presented in a practical way at the Expert Summit. Around 150 interdisciplinary experts, providers and young people analyzed the consequences for children's and young people's media use in a total of five workshops. Finally, the participants discussed the consequences of new trends and developments for the protection of children and young people in the media. The opportunities and risks were considered in equal measure.

AI opens up new dimensions of deception, but also new possibilities for protective measures

The experts were unanimous in their assessment that new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) pose major challenges in the area of child and youth media protection. In the field of VR gaming, for example, there are major parallels with "conventional" games on the screen when it comes to problem areas such as cyberbullying, harassment or depictions of violence. However, there are also some specific characteristics of VR, such as the feeling of immersion in the virtual world, the effects of which on young people have not yet been sufficiently researched.

Artificial intelligence was a key topic at the Expert Summit. According to the tenor, AI opens up new dimensions of deception, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and thus changes the landscape of child and youth media protection in the long term. In return, however, AI also offers new possibilities that support the digital protection of children and young people in the media, for example through improved age verification procedures.

Explain AI-supported functions in an understandable way and use them for prevention and intervention

According to the experts, providers of digital platforms are faced with the task of shaping the use of AI responsibly. This includes clearly explaining AI-supported functions and using them in a way that supports prevention and intervention. AI tools specially developed for children and young people and transparent reporting channels are essential to ensure a safe online environment.

The experts at the Expert Summit considered a strategy for society as a whole to be essential for effective protection against the risks of new technologies. This strategy should include both preventative measures and the strengthening of digital self-assertion skills among children and young people. Media education must be integrated into everyday life on a long-term, early and regular basis. Implementation also requires an expansion of cooperation with providers, advice centers and experts .

Shaping effective child and youth media protection with innovative approaches

The Expert Summit presented a variety of digital trends and facilitated an in-depth discussion about their impact on children. This provided important insights and innovative approaches for shaping a safer digital environment for young people.

In view of the challenges of rapidly changing usage environments, the implementation of children's rights to protection, empowerment and participation can only succeed if the possibilities of legal and educational child and youth media protection are coordinated in the best possible way.

Information about the organizers

The German Safer Internet Center

Since 2008, klicksafe has been coordinating the Safer Internet Center Germany, which includes the internet hotlines of eco, FSM and as well as the helpline Nummer gegen Kummer. The Safer Internet Centres in 27 European countries are supported by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) of the European Union with the aim of promoting the media competence of children, parents and teachers, raising awareness of possible risks on the Internet and offering advice centres for online problems as well as reporting points for illegal content.

The Federal Center for Child and Youth Media Protection (BzKJ)

The Federal Agency for the Protection of Children and Young People in the Media (BzKJ ) is committed to helping children and young people grow up well with media. In doing so, it acts on behalf of the Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG). Its tasks include the indexing of media harmful to minors and the monitoring of systemic precautionary measures (such as safe default settings, reporting and remedial procedures, etc.) by media providers. It also networks all key players in child and youth media protection, promotes the continuous development of child and youth media protection and provides parents, professionals, children and young people with guidance on how to use media as safely as possible.

To the announcement at the BzKJ