How often do you use a computer

Children and computers - how much media time is healthy?

5 tips for parents: what to look out for when it comes to "children, computers and media times"?

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Children & media: what is it like at home?

We at scoyo asked parents how their children can use media. The result: parents come under pressure when it comes to media use. Load in every third household Conflicts about dealing family life with the computer. *

We also wanted to know how parents handle media use. Do they make rules? The study shows that 95 percent of respondents * "fully" believe that computer time should be limited.

On the other hand, there is uncertainty about how closely parents should accompany their children when using computers and laptops: 71 percent of those surveyed believe that children between the ages of 6 and 12 should only use the computer in the presence of their parents. Still, 41 percent are of the opinion that children should also spend time alone in front of the computer in order to gain their own experience.

5 Tips From The Expert: What Parents Should Look For When It Comes To Children And Computers

We have the media educator and educational scientist Prof. Dr. Norbert Neuss asked for advice. Prof. Neuss heads the "Education and Support in Childhood" course at the University of Giessen and is a founding member and assessor on the board of Blickwechsel eV He has published numerous media educational research projects and publications and is himself the father of two children who are in their fourth and fifth Class go.

In the interview, five tips from the media expert in particular emerged as valuable and important:

Tip 1: Set times - a certain budget depending on age and usage

Establish rules, e.g. B. with a parent-child contract:


Prof. Dr. Norbert Neuss recommends that parents agree fixed times with their children in which media such as television, computers and the Internet can be used. "Such rules are most effective when they are negotiated together," says the educator.

The following media usage times provide an orientation value for different age groups:

  • 4 - 6 years: about 20-30 minutes per day
  • 7 - 10 years: approx. 30-45 minutes per day
  • 11 - 13 years: about 60 minutes a day

"In adolescents aged 14 and over, awareness of media activities can be heightened by a jointly agreed weekly media budget," says Prof. Neuss. There but it doesn't do any good to simply ban the media, without filling your free time differently.

"You have to look at the use of computers in connection with other conditions for growing up children. In a car-dominated world with little experience, the media create a great attraction," the expert summarizes the fascination that emanates from the media. "Time restrictions are right if children are offered appealing alternative courses of action," said Neuss.

Keeping an eye on usage: It also depends on what the children are doing online

Extra time could be arranged if they are studying for school, writing short stories or designing posters. You can also use the scoyo media competence test to find out how well your child can handle the media. After answering the questions, you will receive individual support for media education at home.

Making rules easier:

Which rules for media use are really useful and how do you enforce them? We asked children, parents and media educators these and other questions at our 5th scoyo parents' evening. Here you can watch the discussion online again and receive lots of practical tips from our experts.

A summary in text form is available here: Easier to set up Internet rules for children

Tip 2: use media sensibly

The world of media these days is almost unlimited. Information is always available. It is all the more important that you have your own media skills and that children learn to deal with the abundance of offers. "Our task in this media-infused information world is to understand information as raw material," says Prof. Neuss.

"We adults ourselves, but also adolescents, have to learn to process this information stubbornly and independently. With children this happens, for example, by speaking, drawing, reading, printing, labeling and so on." not all media content is equally valuable.

"When children have fun with knowledge or learning content, that's great," says Professor Neuss. "In order for learning content for children to contribute as much as possible to their development, it is important that they connect to existing prior knowledge and can be processed as information, "says the pedagogue." Regardless of whether it is about digital or analog learning content. Children have to be able to process the information! "

That is why it is especially important for elementary school children that the online learning program designed for children is to keep the students motivated. In addition, the Ad-free learning environment his - various seals indicate the quality of the offer.

Media time used sensibly? Simply learn with scoyo:

Tip 3: Pay attention to a protected environment (filter software and family computers)

Differentiate between online and offline media

The survey on computer use by forsa and scoyo showed that many parents are unsettled when it comes to their children's computer use. "It also depends on whether the computer is used online or offline," says Prof. Neuss. In the Offline use whether the parents usually know which games or applications the child is using. "This makes it easier for the child to use it independently," says the educationalist.

Once the internet comes into play, things get more complicated. "If the computer is used to surf the Internet, it can easily happen that children are on Development-impairing sides reach. To prevent this, parents can install filter software, "recommends Prof. Neuss. The program then only allows certain calls to be made on this computer.

Suitable filters:

  1. The free filter software JuSProg, which can be downloaded free of charge from
  2. The software from the provider t-online, which allows you to set a child profile and set up a surf time budget.

"Both filter programs were recognized by the Commission for Youth Media Protection of the State Media Authorities (KJM) as youth protection programs in accordance with Section 11 of the State Treaty on Youth Media Protection (JMStV)," said the expert. So they are considered safe and can guarantee compliance with the protection of minors.

Neuss advises sharing a family computer

"Children shouldn't have their own computer for as long as possible," advises the professor. Experience shows that, for example, having your own television in a child's room is a shame. "Having your own television has three questionable consequences: the usage times are extended considerably, the children use the device at later times of the day and uncontrollably," summarizes Prof. Neuss. His conclusion: "This is also to be expected with computers and should be avoided."

Tip 4: Point out dangers

"Most parents are very aware of their responsibility to accompany children when using computers," summarizes Prof. Neuss. In addition to the temporal usage limits and the shared use of the computer, he sees two important tasks in family media education:

"It is important that parents make various rules and dangers clear to their children when using the Internet, such as when chatting or in social networks," says Prof. Neuss. "I would recommend parents go through the profile settings in social networks with your child. My advice: Make your personal profile accessible only to your closest circle of friends and store as little personal data and photos as possible in your profile! "Says Prof. Neuss.

Tip 5: Be a good role model yourself

In times of Facebook and the Internet, the topic of media time at home is increasingly causing controversy. So what does an expert like Professor Neuss advise today's parents? "As a recent study showed, there is some Media addictive potential", reports the media expert." The potential for addiction increases when children come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, where there is a negative family atmosphere and when children without rules have their own laptops, game consoles and smartphones at an early age.

Dealing with the media is an important part of upbringing nowadays: "As with other questions about upbringing, it is about being on the basis of a trusting relationship mutual appointments to meet and clear rules ", says Prof. Neuss." But this can only succeed if the parents themselves also maintain a controlled use of the media, "he emphasizes." True to the motto: "When the parents stare right into the dolls, that's what the children want." also."

The best path to healthy and beneficial media use is therefore in the hands of the entire family. This was also shown by a FACT survey among 1,014 children and adolescents between six and 14 years on behalf of scoyo in cooperation with the children's magazine ZEIT LEO. 89 percent of those surveyed think that media time rules are perfectly fine - if they apply to all family members.

Further tips & information on media time and usage

Prof. Dr. Norbert Neuss | © F. TilemannProf. Dr. Norbert Neuss recommends the following information for parents and families:

TV shows for children:

Information on children's and youth literature and children's and youth media:

Child-friendly use of the, and

Media Education Advice:

Prof. Dr. Norbert Neuss:Professor Neuss' personal tip for parents and teachers: "Perhaps it makes sense to organize an information evening on this topic in kindergarten or elementary school. I recommend a speaker from our media education association" Blickwechsel "("

* The figures are the result of representative surveys that forsa carried out on behalf of scoyo. 1001 people between the ages of 25 and 59 with children under 18 in the household were surveyed.

**With over 2 million hours of learning completed, Germany’s most popular online learning offer for children.