• 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:

    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

    source: USK

    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.