Module 1: Basic framework of media literacy

Introduction

Module 1 presents the basics for a conscious and critical handling of media. It shows how media-related contents for children in early childhood education and care (ECEC) can be integrated into their daily educational process in a way that is appropriate for their development, lifestyle and age.

Background information for media pedagogical work with preschool children is presented and information about the legal framework for media work is also explained.

In the chapter Partnership with parents there is information about cooperation between ECEC centres and parents on the subject of media and media literacy.

About this Module

When studying this course you will…

  • Know what media literacy is
  • Understand why media education is an important part of pedagogical work and should be started in ECEC
  • Learn how media can be used as a pedagogical tool
  • Know the requirements to promote media literacy as an ECEC professional
  • Know how to support parents
  • Be informed about the legal framework

In this module…

  • Practical advice will be given
  • Activities will support you to better understand the content and to prepare for the assessment
  • Further links will guide you to more information
  • Materials to work with parents will be provided

What is media literacy?

Media Pedagogy is a sub-discipline of Educational Science. It plays an increasingly important role and continues to develop since our society has been permeated with digital communication technology in almost all areas of life.

Media Pedagogy deals with media and their pedagogical significance in work, leisure and education. It analyses which functions and tasks media assume in our society and examines how we deal with media.

In addition, Media Pedagogy looks at the impact of media on us, humans, develops concepts for the meaningful use of media in pedagogical work and develops goals that are to be reached in this way.

The primary goal of media pedagogical work is always the mediation or development of media literacy.

Media Literacy is a very broad term for which there are many definitions. In some cases, a shortened view of the technical aspects of media literacy is emerging. However, this view does not do justice to the multi-dimensionality of the concept as media literacy describes far more than the technical skills required to operate and use media.

It is more about dealing with media safely, consciously and conscientiously. Thus, media literacy requires a wealth of skills and abilities.

The concept of media literacy was introduced in Germany in 1973 by educator and media pedagogue Dieter Baacke. Baacke saw media literacy as part of a comprehensive communicative competence, which in the industrial and technically organised society is highly influenced by media. Dieter Baacke’s concept had a lasting impact on the debate about media literacy. He defined four areas of media literacy: media critique, media knowledge, media use and media design.

According to Baacke, a media-literate person does not simply take up media content without contradiction, but constantly questions it critically and controls it with regard to social, moral and ethical aspects.

  • He examines the effects of media and recognises their functions and intentions (media critique).
  • Furthermore, a media-literate person has knowledge of the technical basics and can operate the various media (media knowledge).
  • One can enjoy and use media content and services (e.g. playing a computer game or watching a DVD), but remains responsible and self-determined (media use).
  • After all, a media-competent person uses media as a tool for creative work or the design of his own media products and uses them as a medium of communication to express his/her own ideas (media design).

Media literacy has become a key qualification in our progressive society. It is communicative literacy and, at the same time, a competence that enables the user to do what is necessary in order to get in contact with one’s environment and to be able to express oneself. If the goal of educational efforts is to raise an independent and responsible person, a debate about media must also take place here.

Media Education

Learning a responsible and competent handling of media is a key skill and lifelong process. Depending on the phase of life and media use, various questions, topics or problems are at the forefront. For children between the ages of three and six, for example, it can be a matter of collecting knowledge about the different everyday media in a playful way together with other children or of dealing with the differences between a television programme and commercials. The handling of media figures is also part of this.

The key factor for this age group is that media literacy can gradually develop. The complexity of the essential topics then increases with age.

It is particularly important for children to strengthen their competent handling of the media, as they are open to the media in both a positive and negative sense. At this age they are curious and use the media offers without bias, but are also easier to be influenced by media.

Children have to learn how to deal responsibly with media. It is the responsibility of parents and ECEC professionals to teach children how to use the media in a prudent manner at an early age.

Norbert Neuß, Professor of Early Education and Media Pedagogue, says “Media education is often confused with media didactics, i.e. the use of media for other educational purposes is regarded as media education”.

Media education is, however, only involved if the didactic offers and educational efforts are aimed at promoting media literacy.

The Importance of Media Education and Media Literacy in ECEC

In a world permeated by media, media education must be seen as an important factor in pedagogical work.

Why does it make sense to start with media education in ECEC?

Children learn to understand media through creative media work
Media are part of children‘s everyday life
Media are everywhere
Media entail risks but also enrich the children‘s lives
Children are growing up with different digital and electronic devices
Media education makes educational equality possible
Media can enrich and support a child‘s learning
Media are part of the curricula
Media is fun
Click on the boxes to learn more about media in pedagogical work.

Media are everywhere

In today’s world we no longer only have writing, language and body language as possibilities to communicate and express ourselves when communicating with others, but we also use videos, photos and the Internet. To be able to participate in social life, to assert oneself and to find one’s way around, one should be familiar with media and know how to use them creatively and meaningfully.

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Media are part of the everyday life of children

Even the youngest children have access to various media every day and take their experiences with them to the ECEC centre. For this reason alone, the ECEC centre cannot be regarded as a media-free space. Therefore, it is the task of ECEC professionals to link up with the children’s environment. In order for the children to be able to deal with and process their media experiences, appropriate offers should be made accessible in ECEC which should be oriented to the interests and experiences of the children.

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One has to learn how to handle media

Children are currently growing up with computers, smartphones, television, etc. They deal with these media naturally and without hesitation, often using them intuitively and with little fear of contact. The critical and thoughtful use of media should, however, be learned just as much as reading, writing and arithmetic, for example. Already in the ECEC centre, children can become acquainted with and test different ways of media organisation and use within the range of media education. Children should learn not only how to use media appliances and devices technically, but also how to use them as a tool to realise their own goals and ideas.

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The preventive effect of media education: Media entail risks, but can also enrich our lives in various ways

In order to counteract potential dangers, a conservative pedagogical attitude seems to be of little use here. Precisely because media are part of children’s everyday lives and are associated with risks, it is important that media education efforts be also made in ECEC to provide children with an approach for creative work with media and an idea of how media work. In this way, they can be introduced to a self-determined and responsible approach to media at an early stage.

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Children learn to understand media through creative media work

By working independently and creatively with media, children learn how media work best, how they influence them and what they intend to do. Creating their own media products allows them to experience media directly.

By creating simple stop-trick movies, children learn that not everything they see on TV is real. With the help of independent photography, they can gain the insight that media are only a fragment of reality. And by producing their own radio play, for instance, they learn how music and sounds can affect the mood.

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Media can enrich and support a child’s learning

Media should enrich and not replace the concrete physical activities and pleasure of senses of a child. They are a complementary form that children can use. Therefore, media can be seen as an opportunity to offer completely new opportunities for creative design and to broaden a child’s perception. Children can also use them as tools to help them learn through discovery, experimentation and play. Furthermore, media are complementary educational tools that facilitate individualisation and differentiation in educational work.

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Media education makes educational equality possible

Not all children have the opportunity to get to know all media or to deal with them in a creative way. In ECEC, though, everyone can have the opportunity to get to know the different media and to deal with them in various ways. Here they can gain essential experience with media design and use. In addition, they can learn how to use media not only to pass their time, but also as a means of communication, a source of information or a tool for creative activities. In view of the issue of the education and knowledge gap (“digital divide”), ECEC centres have a balancing role to play. If they give all children the opportunity to develop responsible and critical media skills from an early age, they can help to lay a good basis for competent media skills and reduce the educational gap.

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Media education in the curricula of the federal states in Germany

The curricula of the federal states, which form the basis of the educational work of ECEC, explicitly specify the expectation of the institution to include the media field in its educational work. The way in which media pedagogical approaches are consolidated differs markedly from one another in the various curricula. Most curricula focus on the acquisition of technical use, professional handling of the media and didactic possibilities. Very few curricula mention the creative and design paths of media education as a mission of early childhood education. Nevertheless, the media field is now included in all curricula. For this reason it would be appropriate for media education to be given stronger consideration in daily educational practices.

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Media is fun

Finally, dealing with media is simply fun for both children and adults. Media arouse children’s curiosity and appeal to them. This intuitive interest in media should be used to (more easily) win children over to learning.

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Media as a pedagogical tool

There are a number of different opportunities to use media (contents) in the daily pedagogical work in ECEC. Above all, here it is particularly suitable to use the existing offers and processes in the ECEC centre.

The morning circle can be used for conversations about media experiences, the PC corner for joint research, the broken computer, television or radio for discovery and research or media pedagogical projects that can engage the everyday interests of the children.

Media and media content can enrich and supplement the pedagogical work in ECEC in many different ways. The various media devices and offers serve both as working tools and to support and stimulate educational and learning processes. Above all, the use of educational media can be exciting in this context.

Some examples are presented below:

Language development and media

With regard to language development, audio media offer a variety of possibilities. The language used in radio plays usually stands out from our everyday language due to its varied and pictorial choice of words. In addition, the speakers often come from the dubbing or theatre industry and can therefore playfully change their vocal pitch and rhythm. This makes it possible to imitate language, stimulates the language development of children of all ages and supports the enjoyment of language.

Children’s rhymes and songs on cassettes, CDs and podcasts can be just as helpful. What is heard can be used as an inspiration for creative activities, small role-plays or simply for conversations, whereby it can be further used and processed by the children. The use of audio recording devices can also support a fair relationship to speech. Children usually find it very exciting to deal with their way of speaking and voice, to change their voice while speaking and to hear it afterwards. Such audio recording can also be a complement to individual written language development documentation and can be used in conversation with the parents.

Movement and media

In most cases, uncertainty about media use is accompanied by concerns that children are becoming inactive, slow and insufficiently active. On the other hand, the targeted and planned use of media can have a very favourable and promising effect on children’s behaviour.

On the Internet, for example, there is a wealth of child-friendly videos of dances from other countries that can be watched and danced along. The children’s playful and creative coordination and sense of rhythm can also be encouraged by thinking up their own movements or dances to sounds and songs.

Even when filming and photographing each other, an imaginative and artistic examination of one’s own body and movement can take place. Effects and tricks such as fast-forwarding or slow motion clarify movement sequences very well and also create an amusing atmosphere for the children.

Natural sciences and media

Education in the natural sciences can be well accompanied by television and film. The possibilities offered by film technology, such as zooming in and out, time-lapse or slow motion, or night vision films and simplified images of complicated processes with the help of computer animation, enable children to gain insights into subject areas that are otherwise difficult to grasp. This way, the understanding of scientific phenomena is considerably simplified and, on the other hand, the interest in a topic can be stimulated or intensified. Scientific film contributions can also be used as an opportunity to try out the experiments seen for oneself.


The rapid growth of cress seedlings, for example, can be recorded regularly with a fixed camera and finally played back in a small time-lapse film and watched again and again.

Media Pedagogical Competences

A prerequisite for sustainable media education is an unprejudiced attitude regarding all media as basic media literacy on the part of the ECEC professionals. This is the only way to make full use of the opportunities offered by media education. At the same time, risks can be identified, sufficiently evaluated and methods derived for counteracting them.

It is also crucial that the ECEC professionals have a media pedagogical competence. This means the ability to help others (e.g. children or parents) to develop their media literacy. However, it is just as important to approach the design and use of media without fear of contact or prejudice.

Be open to the children’s media world and show genuine interest. Children’s preferences and needs must be taken seriously, including their relation to the media. Ask questions and talk to the children. This will tell you what the children’s interests in media are, what they do with media and how they use them.

I would also recommend that you simply watch programmes that are particularly popular with children in order to gain a better understanding of the children’s media world. This could also be done together with the children in the ECEC centre in the context of a media day.

Exchange, Reflect, Discuss

It is important for the internal pedagogical work and for the external image of an ECEC centre that all colleagues exchange their common understanding of education, the common goals and the implementation and interpretation of the educational plan at regular intervals.

It is also necessary to realise that media education plays a key role in the pedagogical work of ECEC. As a matter of fact, only when one has formed a proper judgement on what is important can one pass it on to the children.

You can reduce your own concerns by reflecting and looking at your own media consumption, your own interests and preferences. You will soon realise that you simply consume media for relaxation or entertainment and that this is perfectly acceptable.

Remember that you don’t have to be an expert to implement media education in ECEC. The main thing is that you have value-free, relaxed access to media and use them without hesitation. But if you then want to work with a medium, it is important that you deal with it in advance. You should know how to use it and what possibilities there are to use it meaningfully and creatively in the everyday pedagogical life.

Get to know the possibilities offered by working with different media as well as the dangers that can arise through their use. It is imperative that you question the value of various media through critical thinking.

Sustainable Media Education

A sustainable media education in ECEC always includes an active partnership with the parents because the family has a fundamental role in the education of children. Working together with the families provides exciting insights into the everyday media life of the children, which can be adopted in the daily pedagogical work. In addition, parents can be supported in their educational activities by receiving advice in the field of media education.

It is always important to have a strategy for the meaningful use of media in ECEC. It has nothing to do with media education if you simply place a computer in the children’s classroom or press a digital camera into their hands. What is essential is the didactic intention behind it.

Always think about how you can integrate media into the everyday pedagogical life in a pedagogically well thought-out way and which educational goals you want to pursue with them. This is the only way for your students to achieve continuous learning through and with media.

Partnership with parents

Up until a few years ago, cooperation with parents predominantly meant a rather one-sided flow of information from the teacher to the parent about the child’s progress and behaviour. The current focus on educational partnership, however, concentrates more on a bilateral and cooperative exchange between ECEC professionals and parents.

The common goal of the educational partnership is the optimal development and well-being of the child.

At the centre of a sustainable educational partnership is the regular exchange between parents and ECEC professionals. The ECEC centre can only fulfil its duty to support the family if the ECEC professionals know:

  • what the social status of the family is,
  • where current and long-term difficulties lie,
  • and what educational principles the parents follow.

For the parents, the various possibilities for taking part in the ECEC life are also worthwhile, for example by taking part in parent-teacher conferences, parties and projects or establishing personal contact with other parents and ECEC professionals.

This way the parents have the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes, to actively shape the day-to-day life of the ECEC centre, to get to know and understand current topics that are dealt with in the ECEC centre with the children and also to see their own child outside the family routine.

A communicative and stable partnership between parents and ECEC professionals is also important with regard to strengthening the children’s media literacy. If both sides discuss observations from everyday ECEC life as well as family and child media use together, all participants can better cater for the children and their needs.

From this, common ways of support and encouragement can derive. In addition, educators can advise parents on their educational competences in general and media use, in particular, and support them with uncertainties and questions.

The basis for successful cooperation is an understanding of the respective views and an open mind. The fundamentals are respect, tolerance and acceptance. An equal and trusting atmosphere is needed, which enables a long-term and honest exchange between ECEC professionals and parents and efficiently clarifies possible differences of opinion and conflicts.

Transparency, Exchange, Collaboration

The majority of parents are basically familiar with their media education task. They have a sensitive view of their children’s perception and use of media and support them optimally in selecting suitable media offers.

But mostly there are uncertainties in families about how to deal with the media. Educators can openly address family insecurities with tips and suggestions and also help parents with questions about media education.

Table: Parents‘ concern
TOPICS of CONCERN PARENTS’ FREQUENT QUESTIONS
suitability Which media offers are suitable for my child?
protection How can I protect my child from harmful media?
appropriacy How can I choose appropriate media content?
advice & support Who can advise and support me?
dependency How can I prevent my child from becoming too dependent on educational apps?

With regard to the transparency of the ECEC centres, it is essential that parents be told which policy the institution is following to strengthen media literacy. This benefits both the parents and the ECEC professionals. Parents can learn what media experiences their child has, what skills he or she has already shown in the ECEC centre and where the ECEC professionals are starting to strengthen media literacy. The ECEC professionals in turn regularly receive information about the use of the media at home, about the accompanied and independent experiences in the family context and about ways to strengthen media literacy in the family.

An exchange of information promotes a complete view of each individual child and also makes it possible to understand the various educational concepts in families when using the media. This way, one can identify need for action and the ECEC centre has the opportunity to coordinate its individual support of the child accordingly.

The Model of Strengthening Child‘s Media Literacy


Strengthening the Partnership

There are different possibilities for the implementation of a sustainable educational partnership with parents. A few of these are presented below.

Parent-teacher conference

Topic-specific parent-teacher conferences are a traditional educational and information service provided by ECEC centres for parents. With regard to strengthening media literacy, parent-teacher conferences are well suited to informing parents about upcoming media education projects and their goals, for example. The parents’ possible concerns, opinions and attitudes regarding the topic of “media in ECEC” become clear and can be openly discussed.

The parent-teacher conference also offers the opportunity to provide parents with expert advice on how to support their children in the competent use of the media. It is also an ideal opportunity to find out which parents may be working in the media sector (e.g. in a library, ad agency, publishing house, IT or journalism) or have a special hobby in the media sector (e.g. photography or filming).

On the parent-teacher conference, for example, you could think about the importance of media literacy for children. Lectures or short contributions from experts are also possible.

I recommend that you assess existing media offers for children together with their parents.

Exchange of experiences

Parents’ regular round-table discussions, parents’ cafés or discussion groups give parents the opportunity to exchange experiences and thus help with family upbringing practices. Such meetings can be organised and planned independently by the parents or supported and initiated by the ECEC centre. Due to the importance of media in the lives of children, parents usually have a strong interest in exchanging views and educational practices among them.

Parent interview

This approach to parental involvement focuses on parents and their individual experiences. In a personal conversation or a questionnaire, specific questions on the topic can be used to gather important background details and information about the use and significance of media within the family. A survey using an anonymous questionnaire also gives parents the opportunity to express their concerns and problems openly and without hesitation.

In addition, parents can be persuaded by deliberate questions to observe their children (even) more attentively and to deal with the concrete media perception and use by their children. Through direct reflection of the child’s behaviour, parents can be made more sensitive to the topic. Furthermore, ECEC professionals receive important information and impressions about the individual preferences of the children outside the ECEC centre routine. Offers for parents can thus be prepared and targeted precisely based on the results of the survey.

With the help of parent interviews, you can, for example, present the preferences of the children or recognisable developments within an age group specifically for your ECEC centre. The results can in turn serve as food for thought and an occasion for a theme-specific parent-teacher conference.

Compiling questions for parents’ interviews depends strongly on what you would like to use the results for and how you would like to use them. In order to get a general overview, I recommend that you use closed questions with multiple-choice questions. However, if you want to get a differentiated and individual insight into the differences and similarities as well as into the special challenges, open questions with a free choice of answers are a good choice. A mixed form of both question types is also an option. A further step could be to post the results of the parent survey on the notice board of your institution.

Download – Sample questionnaire

Parents’ magazine and Newsletter

Parents’ magazines and Newsletters give the ECEC centre the opportunity to collect topics from the ECEC’s everyday life that is either cross-cutting or specific. Invitations to parents’ evenings, discussion groups or planned events such as project shows can also be published in Magazines and/or Newsletters and the results of interviews or projects can be printed.

A parents’ magazine offers you the opportunity, for example, to collect opinions expressed by parents on a polarising question or to conduct a parents’ interview on how to deal with a specific media topic. This gives the parents the chance to have their say or to identify themselves with the impressions and opinions of other parents. It may then be easier for the parents to contact you as an ECEC professional for support and advice.

Parents’ magazines or Newsletters can be distributed digitally by e-mail or printed on paper. It should, though, be carefully considered whether and which contents are published on the ECEC centre website or a blog. Content that is not published in a protected area can be viewed almost anywhere in the world. In any case, it is necessary to have declarations of consent in advance and to clarify the copyright for the pictures as well as the personal rights of the persons shown.

If there is a certain regularity of such publications, they can also be used for anniversaries or in portfolios for the children entering primary school which you can distribute at a farewell party, for example, in order for them to remember the big and small events of the ECEC centre.

Parents can also take on tasks during planning and implementation, e.g. writing the texts, selecting topics or printing a magazine, and being involved in the process. During meetings which take place at regular intervals, it is possible to discuss which topics should be included in the magazine and which tasks could be distributed.

There are many ways to involve parents in the opportunities for participation and exchanging of ideas. It is important to consider the different motivations and time availability as well as the knowledge and skills of the parents and see who can support this practice and who can participate at their convenience.

Information materials

In case a media project in a group attracts more attention to the topic of media or media education in ECEC and becomes more important, it is advisable to collect and provide information materials such as books, games or brochures. An overview of apps and websites on the topic can also be helpful.

Parents are primarily interested in information material which gives them concrete tips and helps them with their educational tasks. Some parents may also be interested in attending in-depth lectures or seminars. Corresponding programmes from universities, libraries, adult education centres or other educational institutions can often be found via the community and city homepage.

Parents often have some time to relax and get an impression of the activities in the ECEC centre when picking up or bringing their children. Thus parents can also be encouraged to deal with the topic of media if they are presented with suitable material such as posters put up at the front gate. The parents’ attention is usually drawn more quickly when posters are embellished with collages, pictures and paintings of the children.

You are also advised to provide parents with media and games to borrow. You can then use parents as a point of reference to report on their experiences within the family during a parent-teacher conference or cafe.

Parents can also be involved in the compilation of information material. The majority of families have probably already dealt with the topic and are familiar with their media education tasks. There may also be parents who are employed in the media sector or possibly in media pedagogy and who can therefore provide recommendations or materials.

Project show

The results of various creative media projects offer a unique opportunity for contacting parents. Whether these projects are drawings, photo collages, own film or a radio play, the children’s results offer a great opportunity to invite the parents to a project show. Children should also be involved in presenting their work.

It is also possible to imagine a kind of media vernissage, which is integrated into already existing structures of the ECEC centre, such as an autumn festival or a Christmas party.

Open Parents’ Days

On an open day for parents, where parents spend a whole day on the ECEC centre premises, they not only can see how their children work with media and what creative results they achieve at school, but they are also provided with the perfect opportunity to gain access to a stage of the children’s lives in general that one does not normally have. At the same time, parents can directly experience how the ECEC professionals implement media education in their ECEC centres.

Did you know?

SCHAU HIN! – The media guide for families informs parents and educators about current developments in the media world and media topics worth knowing about, for example smartphone & tablet, social networks, games, apps, media times and streaming. SCHAU HIN! provides orientation for parents and educators in the digital media world as well as concrete, everyday practical tips on how to competently accompany the media consumption of children.


Legal Framework

Legal youth media protection

The age rating of the voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (FSK) and the USK – the entertainment software self-regulation – determine the release of films and PC games on DVD, CD and Blu-Ray disc for the different age groups.

These are not pedagogical assessments, but pure information to guide adults finding suitable content for children. The label “from 0” includes children up to five years of age, whereby this is an age group in which the level of development of the children is very diverse.

  

FSK labels like these can be found on DVD, Blu-Ray or CDs. To view all FSK labels and receive further information on the classifications click here.

  

USK labels like these can be found on entertainment software/games. To view all USK labels and receive further information on the classifications click here.

In the case of television programmes with questionable content, such as sexualised or violent depictions, broadcasters in Germany must pay attention to transmission time limits:

source: USK
AGE LIMIT
Release from 0 years no transmission time limit
Release from 6 years no transmission time limit
Release from 12 years Airtime restriction from 20.00, if the film is on the border to a release from 16 years,
otherwise without a time limit on airing
Release from 16 years 10:00 pm to 6.00 am
No youth release 11.00 pm to 6.00 am

Age ratings of the Voluntary Self-Control of the Television Industry (FSF) are in part linked to airtime restrictions (§ 5 para. 4 Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag [JMStV]).

As with the FSK and USK markings, the FSF markings are not age recommendations, but the assessment of possible impact risks.

In the case of broadcasts released “from 12” on, the broadcaster is obliged to ensure that the welfare of younger children is taken into account when selecting the broadcasting time. In practice this means for younger children, however, that in the daily programme also content that is not appropriate for this age group can be included. Reality or news programmes can be particularly problematic for younger children.

  

To view all FSF labels and receive further information on the classifications click here.

On the Internet providers count on technical measures. According to the degree of risk of the offer, the providers are obliged to install various technical access difficulties so that children and young people cannot access the corresponding content.

On the other hand, youth protection software provides parents with a tool to block unsuitable Internet content for children depending on their age or to activate suitable content. The youth protection software is therefore software that can be installed at home on the PC and usually enables individual security settings. The providers, in turn, can programme their content for adolescents to be monitored by recognised youth protection software. In Germany, for instance, youth protection software is recognised by the KJM – the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media.

There are mobile applications for small children, such as simple games or animated children’s books, for tablet PCs and smartphones in large numbers. But even here there are some problems, which is why the applications should always be used under the supervision of an adult. Many apps contain, for example, in-app stores or advertisements.

In addition, as educational specialists or parents, you should individually assess whether the content is suitable for the child in question. Although there is a sign in the app stores, this is usually not very meaningful, because it is not a sign from independent institutions, but a reference from the store operator.

The omnipresence and diversity of the media present enormous challenges for the legal youth media protection today. On one hand, the large number of different media that is mostly electronic and transnational, and the confusing distribution channels make it increasingly difficult to impose effective control mechanisms. On the other hand, protection mechanisms are necessary because of the increasing content relevant to the protection of young people, which is spreading more and more primarily due to the development of new technologies and globalisation.

For children between three and six years of age, a conscious introduction and supervised media use seems absolutely necessary.

Did you know?

With the search engine FRAGFINN.DE you can discover great children’s pages or search for interesting topics and pictures. There you will find surfing tips, funny videos, exciting games and much more! Parents, educators and website providers find helpful tips on safe surfing here.

The programme guide FLIMMO.DE contains individual reviews of child-relevant programmes and short articles on media education topics. Not only is the children’s programme discussed, but programmes aimed at adults are also popular among children between the ages of three and 13 years. It evaluates how children deal with certain television content and what kind of processing can be expected depending on their age. FLIMMO does not provide TV criticism, but looks at the programmes from the perspective of the children.

The project Apps for Children at the German Youth Institute examines the diversity and quality of offers. On the one hand, trend analysis provides an overview of the app market and the research data. On the other hand, more than 500 apps for children have been examined and included in a freely accessible database together with specific recommendations.

KLICK-TIPPS.NET has set itself the task of identifying content that is worth recommending from a wide range of websites and apps, enabling children to access media in an age-appropriate manner and supporting parents in media selection.

Further Information on Youth Media Protection

Commission for Youth Media Protection

The Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors published a brochure which provides information on the statutory provisions on the protection of minors and gives an overview of the indexing procedure, the individual facts of the youth risk and the legal consequences resulting from the indexation.

Copyright – Publishing images and photos

For many ECEC centres today it is common to make their centres and pedagogical work publicly visible. In addition to articles in the local or regional newspapers, there is often a website on which photos of children, employees and projects are published. Therefore, as with print products, a declaration of consent should be obtained from the person depicted or the parent or guardian (for children under the age of 12).

Be sure to discuss with parents the publication of photos showing children and/or their families.

More information about copyright is available on the following pages:

Law on Copyright in Works of Fine Arts and Photography
Overview of the most important media rights, including a checklist for media projects


Comprehension Questions

What is media literacy?

1. Can you explain the difference between Media Pedagogy and Media Literacy?

2. What areas of Media Literacy are defined in the Baacke’s concept?

3. What kind of competences characterise a media-literate person?

Media Education

1. Why should media education be started in ECEC?

2. Why is it important to let children use media in a creative way?

3. How can ECEC contribute to equality in Media Education?

Media as a pedagogical tool

1. How can audio media help children aged 3-6 with language development?

2. Which medium and content would you use in the ECEC to encourage body movement?

3. In what way can media contribute to educating children in the natural sciences?

Media Pedagogical Competences

1. Why should ECEC professionals be media-literate?

2. Why is an active partnership between the ECEC teachers and parents important?

3. What is a meaningful strategy of media use in ECEC?

Partnership with parents

1. How different is the current partnership of ECEC teachers with parents from the past?

2. Why is it important to support an active partnership between ECEC professionals and parents?

3. Can you suggest some ways for the implementation of sustainable educational partnership between ECEC educators with parents?

4. What are the parents’ benefits in an active partnership with ECEC educators?