Accompaniment for children in the digital world

For 20 years, Safer Internet Day has been a day of action to draw attention to the safe and responsible use of media and the internet. This year, the organizers are focusing on parents, who often do not realize that children and young people are moving in a completely different digital world, says social media expert Matthias Jax from

flood of misinformation

According to Jax, a big problem is that young people stumble upon a lot of misinformation on the Internet. He explains this using the example of nutrition tips on what you can eat to get bigger, stronger or faster: “There is a lot of misinformation that children and young people accept as true.” Jax cites influencers as another example , “They are all super top athletes, but state that they only got this body from normal training. Of course that’s not true either.”

The most common sources of information for young people

Parents who think that influencers are ridiculous and don’t care are completely wrong. According to a survey, influencers are the third most common source of information for everyone between the ages of eleven and 17. YouTube is in second place and social media in general is in first place. 62 percent of young people inform themselves daily in social networks. Television is only a daily source of information for a quarter, radio is 20 percent and daily newspapers are only four percent.

problems with credibility

Although the so-called classic media are consumed less and less, they are still much better in terms of credibility. However, most trust is given to Wikipedia. In general, 70 percent of young people state that it is difficult to find out whether information from the Internet is true or false. Many are unsure how good sources of information can be identified.

Be careful with active participation

In addition to the problem of what content young people consume on the Internet, the main question is how actively they participate. The younger the children are, the less they can assess the consequences of their actions. “Talk, talk, talk”, advise the experts and of course watch your own children going about their business. Of course, data protection is also a big issue. For example, it can make sense to only register children with a nickname, the experts advise. Photos should only be forwarded or uploaded if they would also be shown to parents or teachers.

Children must also learn online to question foreign identities, the experts advise. Banning them from online friendships is unrealistic these days. It is much more important to strengthen their gut feeling and their ability to “say no” if they are uncomfortable with something.