Youth Protection Solutions
Youth Protection Programs
A youth protection program is autonomous software that, for example, reads the voluntary age classifications on websites and only loads the websites that are classified for the user’s age group.
Using one is simple: Parents or legal guardians install the software on the home computer and set the developmental stage of the child. They themselves determine which age range is appropriate for their child and which Internet content, as a result, should be shown. Parents or guardians can also input additional Internet addresses, which can either be unlocked (whitelist) or blocked (blacklist).
When they want to use the computer themselves, parents or guardians can switch off the youth protection program – or can simply generate different user accounts for children and adults.
There are many youth protection programs on the market. Currently, only one solution is approved by the German Commission for Youth Media Protection (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz – KJM) in accordance with § 11 of the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors (Jugendmedienstaatsvertrag – JMStV). This means that it fulfills the quality criteria prescribed in the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors. There is no obligation to submit a youth protection program to the KJM for approval. As a result, there are a range of non-approved youth protection programs.
The approved youth protection program currently only runs on Windows PCs; further platforms are expected to follow.
Approved youth protection programs
Information for Telemedia Providers
If a telemedia provider, e.g. the operator of a website, has developmentally-impairing content in their offer (e.g. anorexia forums), the provider must ensure that children and minors of the specified age groups generally cannot take advantage of these offers (§ 5 (1) JMStV).
The provider can meet this obligation by giving the website a youth protection label, which can be read by approved youth protection programs. This process makes use of an age-de.xml file, in which the corresponding age classification is inputted directly. As is already known from the classification of films, the age classifications are: from age 0, 6 years and older, 12 years and older, 16 years and older, and 18 years and older. Currently, however, content classified as “18 years and older” still requires further technical protection – the label alone is not yet sufficient.
Further information and help for the generation of the label can be obtained from, e.g., JusProg e.V.