Dealing with media - what to watch out for when consuming them

Dealing with media - what to watch out for when consuming them

Media have become an integral part of our lives and also play an important role in the lives of children and young people. The correct handling of media is therefore all the more important - this is part of a good media education and should be learned as early as possible.

Here you can learn how to promote a healthy approach to media in adolescence and prevent your children from becoming addicted to media.

Dealing with media: The media as everyday companions

The use of media by children and young people is increasing from year to year. No wonder, because our world is becoming more and more digital. As soon as children live in the house, the right media usage behavior of parents is also very important.

Nowadays, children grow up with a wide range of different media, which is why it is very important that children and young people learn how to use media properly. Today, virtually every household has Internet access, a notebook or tablet, and several smartphones. The fact that media are permanently available means that parents are put to the test in everyday life.

Risks and dangers in dealing with media

If you don't teach your children how to use the media properly, you are encouraging them to use it in a less than responsible manner. Although media enrich everyday life in many ways, the dangers posed by the Internet must not be underestimated under any circumstances. Accordingly, teaching a responsible use of media is the first step to protect children and young people from media addiction.

The earlier parents teach their children to use digital media, the less likely it is that an addiction will develop. The potential for addiction exists, especially among young people. In general, young people spend an average of 2.41 hours a day on the Internet. Games are particularly popular with children. Here, too, the fascination with digital games increases with age. To promote a healthy approach to media, attention should be paid to the extent to which media are used. But in addition to media usage time, it is just as important to know what kind of content your child consumes.

As soon as the child’s life only takes place virtually and the children lose control over how much time they spend in front of the screen, one speaks of dependency. Addiction, on the other hand, is only mentioned when other areas of life are influenced in a negative way - as soon as food, social contacts and school are neglected, the use of the media must be restricted in any case.

Tips for a correct use of media

In order for children and young people not to become dependent, they must be introduced to the use of media. Here are some useful tips for a responsible use of media. Since children are especially oriented towards their parents, it is important as a parent that they are always a role model for their children in media use. In this respect, one should also take a critical look at one’s own handling of media.

In addition, one should address the handling of media in conversation. Here it is important not to demonize it in principle and to pronounce strict prohibitions - this leads especially on the part of young people to incomprehension and protest. It is better to have a conversation at eye level, in which the dangers of unhealthy media consumption are openly discussed. In the best case, your child will find out for himself or herself how much media consumption is good for him or her. If it turns out that your child spends an excessive amount of time in front of the screen, it may make sense to limit media consumption in terms of time.

Another good idea is to arrange media breaks. During this time, digital devices are deliberately dispensed with. Whether at meals, on family outings or similar events: During the media break, the entire family is out of reach.

As soon as the child goes to sleep, it makes sense to make the children's room a cell phone-free zone. This way, the child does not even have the opportunity to use digital media before bedtime. Before a child uses a tablet or computer, the corresponding device should be set by the parents.

As already mentioned, the correct use of media is not only a matter of time, but also of the type of content that is consumed. Especially for children, there is a risk of encountering inappropriate content, which is why a family-friendly, safe and anonymous search engine should be used. In the course of this, it's a good idea to inform your child about basic browser features such as private browsing mode and teach them about privacy on the Internet - children in particular often reveal a lot about themselves on the Internet without knowing about possible negative consequences. It is precisely here that a responsible approach to media is of great importance.

Children's use of media: Overview of screen times

Especially in early childhood, it is important to keep an eye on children's use of media. If the children are not even two years old, it makes sense to completely avoid screen media. At this age, picture books, audio plays or songs are much more conducive to children's development. Children aged two to three should spend a maximum of five to ten minutes in front of the screen with their parents. The important thing here is that the child is only presented with age-appropriate offerings. Children between the ages of four and six should have a maximum of half an hour of screen time every day.

Nowadays, children between the ages of seven and ten usually already have a smartphone - especially here a responsible use of media is important. Children of this age group should not spend more than one hour a day in front of the screen. Children between 11 and 13 years should use the digital media for a maximum of 90 minutes. Setting consistent times can help promote a healthy use of media - ideally, your child will discover other hobbies for himself, so that media consumption loses its attractiveness on its own.