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Advancements in Network-Ready Protection of Minors against Harmful Media

Advancements in Network-Ready Protection of Minors against Harmful Media

The current system of youth media protection goes back to the year 2003 – before YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp or Snapchat even existed. By using tablets and smartphones, children and adolescents establish new forms of media usage, which can hardly be grasped by the current regulatory framework. At the same time, we can see that traditional instruments for regulation and national approaches are stretched to their limits due to a highly dynamic, digital media environment. The Hans-Bredow-Institut analyses the trends in supply and demands, compares these to the governance issues that youth media protection is facing and will make the findings accessible for politics and society.  

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Project Description

In 2003, a new regulation framework for the protection of youth came into effect with the Jugendschutzgesetz (JuSchG) [Law for the protection of children and youth] of the federal government and the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV). Especially with the JMStV, new forms of regulation that were integrated into the legal framework have not yet been put to a long-term test in utilisation and are oriented towards the concept of “regulated self-regulation”. The institute accompanied the legislation process at that time with expert commentary.
In 2007, the institute comprehensively evaluated the German law for the protection of minors in the media on behalf of the BMFSFJ and the federal states, and academically accompanied the implementation of the evaluation results thereafter. The Hans Bredow-Institut again introduced its expertise and commentary into the amendment process of the JuSchG and JMStV, which was originally envisaged for 2010. A commentary was developed on certain rules of the interstate treaty, which made the insights available to science and practice.
After the failure of the JMStV amendment, the institute continues to support the public and political discourses with brief assessments and statements, essays, talks and events. Besides the perspective from an academic view regarding regulation on the net-suitable protection of minors in the media, one focus of the institute’s academic debate is on forms and limits of the technological protection of minors. At the same time, potential international approaches of the electronic labelling of online-contents are also conceptualised and analysed.
The institute generally continues to try to render the discussion more objective through an event in cooperation with the Media Authority Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, among others, utilising the experience from last year’s discussion and aiming to clearly define the requirements for an appropriate protection of minors in the media. In addition, Uwe Hasebrink leads the initiative “Eltern stärken – Sicher surfen” [Empower parents – ensure safe surfing] of the internet dialogue funded by the BMFSFJ.
Additionally, the institute actively provided its expertise within the framework of public consultations (and hearings) on the amendment of the JMStV in the autumn of 2016. It further shows possible development paths regarding adjustments of the German and European framework of youth media protection to the convergence of media and its usage, e.g. in debates of the Bund-Länder-Commission.

Project Information


Duration: 2011-2015

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Stephan Dreyer
Senior Researcher Media Law & Media Governance

Dr. Stephan Dreyer

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 33
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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