Areas of Competence

Growing Up in Digital Media Environments

This area coordinates and consolidates projects concerning media sozialization, media education and the evaluation and further development of the system of youth media protection in digital media environments. This topic means that the Institute can apply its transdisciplinary expertise in legal and communications research to particularly good effect. In recent years, we have carried out several projects for the BMFSFJ, the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office and the ZDF; in addition, the Institute’s collaboration on the European research group, EU Kids Online merges with this work. A large-scale project on the feasibility of establishing and configuring online addresses has most recently been commissioned by the EU Commission. The Institute participates variously in public and political discussions on the further development of youth media protection with lectures, contributions to discussions and publications.

Researchers: S. Dreyer, U. Hasebrink, C. Lampert, H.-D. Schröder, W. Schulz

Projects 2013/2014:

  • Trends in Development and Usage in the Area of Digital Media and Related Challenges for Youth Media Protection
  • Identification of Good Practice in Youth Media Protection in International Comparison
  • Youth Media Protection from a Parental Viewpoint
  • Youth Protection Software in the Parental Home: Knowledge,Usage, Informational Behaviour

The possibilities and the design of cross-border online indicators

Internet and Society

The topic of this field is the interconnection of everyday life with digital network infrastructures and the interaction of socio-cultural, technical and legal norms; as such, it forms a bridge to the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) in Berlin.

Many activities in this area of competence are joint projects with the HIIG. One object of our investigations was, for instance, the German parliament’s platform for petitions: Alongside the investigation of general patterns in submitters’ behaviour, the study is meant to indicate whether introducing the possibility of anonymous submissions has led to an increase in them and what users’ opinions of this possibility are.

The projects will make a contribution to both research programmes.

Researchers: S. Dreyer, M. Lose, M. Oermann, J.-H. Schmidt, M. F. Schroeder, W. Schulz, L. Ziebarth

Public Service and Public Value

In numerous studies, expert opinions and appraisals, the Institute is continually dealing with the question as to how public service media can deal properly with the demands of technical, social and cultural change and what exactly constitutes the democratic, social and cultural value of various items from public communication. Internationally- comparative analysis of the application of the public service principle also plays a particular role here. In this context, the Institute is working closely with the public service providers, with people involved in media politics and with organisations from civil society.

Researchers : U. Hasebrink, H.-D. Schröder, W. Schulz, H.-U. Wagner

Media and Health Communication

The Institute’s interest in the connection between media and health stems from various indications of the relevance of media reporting for the formation of attitudes relevant to health, as well as for information on behaviour beneficial to health.

Here, the Institute’s perspective is shaped by a combination of approaches from communication studies and from paedagogy. Upon completion of a project, “On the Role of Online Media in Creating Trust in Medical Knowledge”, supported in the German Research Foundation’s programme of core topics, “Science and the Public Sphere”, the Institute is currently working on a sub-project in the context of the “Competency Network in Complementary Medicine in Oncology” (KOKON) (www., supported by German Cancer Aid. In it, the presentation and perception of complementary medicine in the media is being investigated, on the one hand, and, on the other, a specifically-tailored concept is being developed for providing information to cancer patients and their relatives.

Further projects in this area concerned how groups difficult to contact in the populace behaved over health issues, as well as the question as to how offers of information and education about health matters can be framed for such not easily reachable groups.

Researchers: M. Grimm, C. Lampert, S. Wahl