Youth and media

Protecting young people

Today’s children are growing up in a digital world. This presents opportunities, but also risks. On the one hand, UPC wants to make people aware of the dangers of material which is illegal or harmful to children and young people. On the other hand, parents and teachers need to be supported in protecting children and young people.

Industry initiative to protect young people from harmful media

UPC supports the new industry initiative for protecting young people from harmful media published by asut. Together with its competitors, the company promotes measures to protect young people when using digital media.

The flyer is also available in our Shops or can be ordered by writing to jugendmedienschutz@upc.ch.

Industry initiative to protect young people from harmful media

Tips for using child protection settings on UPC products

As well as advice on how parents and educators can improve children’s and young people’s media literacy, in the following guide you will also find information about how UPC products can be made childproof.

Age-appropriate consumption of digital media

Children and TV

Television plays an important role in children’s lives. The tips and advice on these pages will tell you about the positive and negative impact of television on children.

Children and TV

Small children (under the age of 6)

Television can play a necessary role in the lives of young children. Find out which television programmes are suitable for your child’s age group and level of development and watch these together. Avoid programmes in which characters resolve conflicts through violence and limit television time, so that your child does not miss out on other activities. Use the musical aspects of a programme to encourage your child to dance, jump and clap.

If your child imitates things that a character on television does, you should remind them that even if cartoon characters simply get up and walk away after accidents, jumping from a tree can result in serious injury.

Primary school children

At the age of six or seven years, children begin to understand that people have different opinions. At around eight or nine years, they begin to discover that people have an “inner life”. Ask your child questions about what they see and hear on television. Talk to your child about why they like particular characters and don’t like others. Avoid programmes in which characters solve problems by using violence.

Make your child aware that films and series are created by people and explain how these are produced. Come full circle by explaining that they can create their own pictures and tell stories using pictures from their own imagination. Help your child to find other activities, such as crafts and physical activities, which provide a good balance.

School children under the age of 13

When it comes to television, the most useful skill you can teach your child at this age is to ask questions. Children should learn that films and series are created by people and do not present the objective truth. Discuss TV content together and ask how realistic it is. Point out unrealistic aspects to your child.

Use simple film vocabulary for when characters are talking (speech is called “dialogue”), where they live (houses, schools and workplaces are “film sets”) and how they act (“main storyline, sub-plot, etc.”).

Put the television in a family room such as the living room, and not in your child’s bedroom. This is the only way you will be able to monitor what your child is watching, how often and for how long. If your child starts flicking between channels because it is bored, suggest other activities away from the television. Physical activity should not be neglected. Define clear TV breaks for the whole family.

Teenagers

Transform your child from a couch potato into a film lover by teaching them the technical language of film and television. Point out recurring elements: canned laughter or a live audience in sitcoms; sub-plots which are spun out into dramas lasting several hours; unrealistic elements in “reality” shows or a dominant point of view in a documentary film. Instead of flicking between channels in the commercial breaks, switch off the sound and talk to your child. Discuss unrealistic content and watch relevant scenes again.

Find out whether television influences your child’s self-image. Pop culture can determine what is cool and what it means to be accepted. Talk to your child about media messages. Talk about how media coverage influences our beliefs, how bias can influence journalism and about which commercial aspects are behind adverts on TV (e.g. product placement).

 

Children and Internet

Today, children grow up with the Internet – whether on a computer at home or on the go via their smartphone. The following tips and advice are intended to help you give your child the best introduction to the world of the Internet.

Children and Internet

Small children (under the age of 6)

Small children often experience their first contact with the Internet and computers through computer games. Look out for games that have a discovery element and that allow your child to play with others and not against others. Encourage your child to play with friends and siblings. Even simple decisions – choosing a character, choosing a game – are good opportunities for your child.

Find time to watch your child playing and talk about the game. Do not allow time in front of the computer to replace physical activity.

Primary school children

If your child has an idea, they will want to follow it through. This exploration plays a crucial role in your child’s development. A computer can encourage them to do this. While your child is using the Internet for homework, you can help them form good habits – such as asking critical questions. Instead of copying and simply accepting information, teach your child to question it and supplement it with further sources.

Help your child become a skilled Internet user. Show him or her sources of information about Internet security, such as CyberSmart. When you talk about the importance of personal information, warn your child not to disclose their name, address, telephone number or other details from which someone could identify them on the Internet. Show them how to select and use a user name – and never to disclose their real name.

School children under the age of 13

Children between nine and 13 years have become a lucrative target audience for advertising in recent years – including online advertising. Make your child aware of increasingly aggressive advertising. Encourage your child to think for themselves and to decode the goals behind advertising.

Talk to your child about sites that look appealing, but which do not clearly show where the information originates from. Look for more detailed background information on the web and follow the “About” and other “Who we are” links to find out who created this website and whether they are trustworthy. Show your child where the paid rankings appear in search engines such as Google and explain that these may not always include relevant information for the entered search string.

Whenever possible, find time to discover the Internet with your child and talk to him or her about the online content your have seen together. Internet filters block access to sites that are unsuitable for children. No Internet filter is foolproof, however. Let your child know that they can always talk to you about something disturbing that they have seen online.

Teenagers

Your challenge is to get your child to understand that websites may be misleading or unreliable. Ultimately, your child should see that there is not just one source of information and that to really understand a topic, they will have to comb through numerous sources.

Encourage your child to challenge all websites, even if they look appealing: a professionally designed website is no guarantee for reliable information. Ask your child: “Where does this information come from?”, “How does the information on this website (text, images, overall impression) influence your opinion?”, “Which standpoint is presented?”, “What information is missing?”, “Are particular people and opinions not presented?”, “Is someone trying to sell you something?”