An adolescent is a person aged between 14 and below 18 years of age.
An adult is a person aged 18 years or older.
Video cassettes or other types of data media and computer games may be handed over to minors only in line with the age ratings established by the self-regulation organisation for the cinema (FSK) and for entertainment software (USK) respectively; the same requirement applies for the access of minors to public cinema performances. Age rating systems exist only for offline media. The age ratings set by the FSK form the basis for scheduling air times of cinema films on television (see also watersheds):
1. no age restriction
2. released for minors aged 6 years or older
3. released for minors aged 12 years or older
4. released for minors aged 16 years or older
5. no release for minors (corresponds to a release for persons aged 18 years or older)
The proper functioning of closed user groups is ensured via age verification systems. The KJM prescribes a two-step procedure for reliable age verification: First, it has to be verified that a person wishing to join a closed user group is of age. This is done via a personal contact (face-to-face control). Secondly, the user must authenticate himself or herself every time he or she wants to enter the closed user group.
Article 7 of the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV) specifies that providers of national television services and providers of telemedia content which can impair minors must appoint an appointee for the protection of minors. The appointee provides advice to the persons responsible for programme content. He or she shall be involved by the provider concerning issues relating to the purchase, production, planning and concept of content. The KJM has developed further details regarding the expertise and work of the appointee for the protection of minors; they are contained in its legal interpretation regarding the appointee for the protection of minors. Under certain conditions telemedia providers may commission a self-regulation organisation with this task.
An avatar is a graphic presentation of an internet user or player of computer games which can be chosen for distinguishing oneself from other participants in a chat forum or for appearing in a self-determined guise.
A blacklist (negative list) is a list updated in a computer programme which prevents the titles included in the list from being performed. The opposite is a white list.
Broadcasting comprises the traditional media television and radio.
Online games played using a browser: Browsers are special programmes for accessing and navigating websites merging images, music and animation into a single unit. The best-known browsers are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox (see also: online games)
A chat is a conversation taking place in real time via the internet. Chats with other users can be held by communicating with the aid of the keyboard; the message will then appear of the screens of the other participants of the chat.
Chat rooms can be abused for building up sexual contacts to minors or for selling drugs. There are also fora in which racist actions are prepared or the possibilities for committing suicide are discussed.
A child is a person below the age of 14 years.
Closed user groups allow the distribution of specific content which is otherwise illegal (e.g. certain content which is harmful for minors, or soft-core pornography) provided that there are safeguards barring access for children and adolescents. This is ensured through age verification systems (AVS). Closed user groups exist in the internet only.
Since April 2003, the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM) has acted as the central supervisory body dealing with the protection of minors in commercial broadcasting and telemedia services.
Content which is rated harmful to minors may be distributed in the internet within closed user groups only; transmission on TV is prohibited. An example of such content is pornographic material.
Content impairing development is classified as not yet harmful to minors but suited to impair the development of children and minors into self-responsible members of society. Impairment means frightening or social or ethic disorientation of minors depending on their age which can be caused by depictions of violence, unsuitable sexual or other problematic content. Media providers must ensure that children or adolescents cannot see such content under normal circumstances by employing technical measures or by appropriate scheduling.
Controls regarding the protection of minors are conducted by the authorities in charge to establish whether the provisions for the protection of minors are adhered to in situ or in public.
Cyber-bullying means embarrassing, defaming or damaging someone in his or her reputation, but also mobbing or psychological terror by deliberately distributing statements, photos and videos in the internet. Another form of cyber-bullying is directly molesting a victim by threatening or obscene e-mails (so-called "cyber-stalking").
A data carrier is a physical object used for storing data. The data stored can vary; they are read or replayed using electronic devices. In the Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG), the term data carrier relates to film or games programmes only (so-called image carriers).
Data media are all physical media which can be passed on and which are intended for direct reception or are integrated in a presentation or game system. They include in particular printed media (e.g. books, magazines, leaflets, advertising posters), sound carriers (CDs, LPs, MCs), image carriers (e.g. films on DVDs, videos, Blue-Ray-Discs and computer games and games consoles).
The departments in charge of public order are the city or district administrations or the local community departments.
The BPjM ("Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien") is in charge of listing media or media content in line with the provisions of the Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG). In this process, a media content – be it a video film, a computer game or an internet site – is classified as harmful for minors and therefore included in the list (“index”). Listed media are not per se prohibited, but are subject to certain restrictions regarding their distribution or advertising. They must not be made accessible for minors, must not be sold at newspaper kiosks or via mail order and must not be broadcast. Advertising for indexed video films and computer games is prohibited; they may be rented out or sold only in shops to which minors have no access. The police or the local respective authorities are in charge of supervising that these provisions are adhered to. The BPjM was set up as a Federal body in 1954. Its committees include representatives from the arts, literature, the book trade, publishers, representatives of the voluntary and the public youth support organisations, teachers, the churches and observers from the German states.
he voluntary self-regulation organisation of the film industry (FSK) rates films, video cassettes and comparable image carriers (DVD, CD-ROM, Laser-Disc etc.) which are intended for public presentation and distribution in Germany regarding their age suitability. It is not obligatory to present such material to the FSK; however, the organisations which form the umbrella organisation of the German film industry (Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft, SPIO) require their members to present only those products to the public which have been given a rating by the FSK.
The FSK was set up in 1949 and originally dealt with the assessment of cinema films regarding any National-Socialist content. On a voluntary basis, age ratings were soon established for cinema films. With the Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG) entering into force, age ratings for cinema films became obligatory. Products intended for general public distribution which have not been presented to the FSK may be accessible to adults only. Since 1985, videos, video disks and various types of image carriers are also presented to the FSK for assessment.
The FSF is a non-profit organisation of the German commercial television broadcasters which on the one hand seeks to ensure that the standards concerning the protection of minors in television are upheld on commercial television, and on the other hand engages in activities, publications and support of research into media literacy to promote the better-educated use of television. The examination groups of the FSF include independent experts from the areas of (media) education, psychology or youth support; they act in an honorary capacity. The examiners decide on the appropriate scheduling of content prior to their transmission on TV.
The FSM is a registered association set up in 1997 by media associations and e-commerce alliances. Anyone can contact it with a complaints regarding content in the internet which is illegal or harmful to minors or with questions on the issue of the protection of minors in the internet. The FSM provides advice to members as well as non-members regarding the protection of minors. In addition, the association acts as the appointee for the protection of minors on behalf of its members.
There is no legal definition of the term glorification of violence; Article 131 of the German Criminal Code only refers to "depictions of violence". Making depictions accessible which "present cruel or otherwise inhuman acts of violence against a person in a manner devised to glorify or trivialise such acts of violence or devised to present the cruel or inhuman nature of the act in a manner which violates human dignity", constitutes a criminal offence.
instant forwarding of news in private chat rooms.
In interactive television services, viewers can contact the content provider using the return channel, and can pro-actively react to a specific content on TV. In this way, films can be down-loaded via the pay-per-view system using the remote control. Other types of interactivity include home banking, teleshopping with direct-order facilities or the participation in games and games broadcasts.
jugendschutz.net was set up in 1997 and supports the supreme youth authorities of the German states (youth ministries of the states) in the implementation of the provisions for the protection of minors in the internet. When the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV) entered into force, the KJM was put in charge of the control of the internet and jugendschutz.net was organisationally linked to the KJM. Since then, jugendschutz.net has supported the KJM in its work, providing training and advice regarding telemedia and informing on developments and problems in internet services which are relevant for the protection of minors. In the event of infringements of the provisions of the JMStV regarding the protection of minors, jugendschutz.net draws the attention of the respective provider and the respective certified self-regulation organisations to this fact and informs the KJM accordingly.
The list of media harmful to minors includes written publications, films, video games and computer games as well as internet content which could harm minors. This includes in particular media which are immoral, brutal or incite to violence, crimes or racial hatred. Listed media (media “put on the index”) are subject to extensive restrictions concerning their distribution; advertising for such media is prohibited. The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) is in charge of listing harmful content.
A minor is a person below the age of 18 years.
= Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game: computer role-playing game genre in which a large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world. Examples include "Everquest" and "World of Warcraft". As a typical characteristic, players are organised in guilds within which the tasks of the game are jointly solved.
Online games are computer games played exclusively in the internet. They include games requiring some software installation as well as games which are available directly through an internet browser (see also: browser games). To play online, a user account must normally be set up which often causes costs.
The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has given the following definition of pornography:
A presentation has to be rated pornographic if it – while excluding all other human relationships – puts sexual processes in the forefront in a crudely obtrusive and provocative manner and in its overall tendency aims exclusively or predominantly at the lascivious interest of the observer in sexual acts." A distinction is made between "hard-core pornography" (generic term for pornography involving children, animals or violence) and "soft-core" pornography.
Taking the key criteria on age verification developed by the KJM as a basis, the post ident procedure allows for the verification of the age of a user through a personal contact. Identification which has to take place at least once must be made through personal contact. A face-to-face control must be carried out comparing the person with an official document of identification (passport, ID card). The data required for identification can be gathered in various locations (e.g., post office counter, various sales outlets, e.g. shops of mobile operators, lottery shops, banks and building societies etc.). A location can only be rated suitable for gathering data if it provides a professional service by reliable staff which is qualified and sufficiently trained for this task. Under certain conditions it is also possible to resort to a face-to-face control that has already been carried out. The control of ID card numbers (so-called perso-check procedure) or the presentation of a certified copy of an ID card is not sufficient as this will only confirm the identity of the document but not the identity of a person.
The protection of minors in the media means the measures taken to protect children and adolescents from any harm exerted by media content.
computer game genre in which the player figure kills a large number of virtual enemies using a virtual weapon. Ego shooters present the events from the perspective of the player.
The state media authorities are the bodies in charge of regulating commercial broadcasting in Germany. They are bodies under public law and are independent from the state. Regarding matters of principle, the 14 media authorities cooperate in their umbrella organisation (ALM). Their remit includes licensing commercial broadcasting providers, monitoring and controlling broadcasting content as well as conducting research and promoting media literacy. The KJM is a body of the media authorities. With the JMStV entering into force on 01 April 2003, the media authorities were also given the task of executing the protection of minors in telemedia.
The supreme youth authority at state level represents the ministry in charge of the issues relating to minors and the protection of minors. The supreme youth authorities of all German states are listed under www.bmfsfi.de.
Technical measures are access barriers which internet providers or television providers can employ as an alternative to the traditional watersheds if they wish to distribute problematic content which could impair children or adolescents. Such content can include presentations of violence or sexuality which could convey misleading ideals or values, frighten or demand too much of children or adolescents, depending on their age and state of development. Technical measures for the protection of minors are particularly suitable for the internet and digital television. The legislator has not given any concrete guidance in the JMStV regarding their concept, but merely specifies the level of protection to be achieved. Practical examples include the blocking system for the protection of minors employed by Sky Deutschland (formerly Premiere) which requires a special PIN to be keyed in before a content can be accessed, or the so-called "perso-check” (or verification of the numbers on an ID card) in the internet in which the number of the ID card is the key with which content can be accessed.
Technical measures do not have to fulfil the strict level of protection required for closed user groups which allow access for adults only. As a yardstick, the watersheds applied in traditional TV are applied. The JMStV does not require technical measures to be certified by the KJM. To offer advice as well as legal and planning security to providers, the KJM has developed a procedure for positive assessment similar to that adopted in connection with the closed user groups. The KJM cannot officially testify that a technical measure is adequate, but the positive assessment can be published in a press release by the KJM. Furthermore, providers using measures that have been positively rated can rely on thus meeting the requirements for the protection of minors in this field if they apply the technical measures accordingly in practice.
The JMStV introduced specific instruments for the protection of minors in the form of technical systems regarding telemedia content which could impair the development of minors. These systems can either be fitted by the provider or can be installed upstream of the respective content. They must allow access to the internet in a fashion which differentiates according to age groups. Technical systems for the protection of minors must be certified by the KJM. They are often confused with filtering programmes which are developed and offered by filter producers as a protective system to families, schools, internet cafes or youth centres.
The KJM has developed key criteria which put the legal provisions in more concrete terms. It has further developed the conditions under which trials can be carried out, has drawn up benchmarks for their duration and has authorised three trials to date. The KJM could not yet certify any technical system for the protection of minors since none of the systems presented meets the criteria which have to be met. As the provisions of the JMStV regarding technical systems for the protection of minors could not be implemented in practice or proved ineffective, the KJM participates in the "Round Table on Technical Systems for the Protection of Minors" organised by the Culture and Media Representative of the German Federal Government. The Round Table aims at producing an overall solution concerning technical systems for the protection of minors involving players from politics, the industry and media regulation. The solution is to be built on the basis of a modular concept as has been recommended by the KJM from the start, since the KJM holds the view that technical systems for the protection of minors can be most effective through the combination of various modules including blacklists and white lists as well as an interface for internet content providers through which they can themselves classify the content they provide.
The term "telemedia" was coined to facilitate the differentiation between tele services as specified in the Information and Communications Services Act (IuKDG), and media services as specified in the Interstate Treaty on Media Services (MDStV). The term relates predominantly to internet content, but also includes teletext; control of such content with a view to the protection of minors was allocated to the Commission for the Protection of Minors (KJM) in April 2003 under the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV). Following the reform of the provisions for the protection of minors, broadcasting, telemedia and data media are dealt with separately. Data media are regulated under the Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG); they are handled by the BPjM and the supreme youth authorities of the states.
A trailer is a short film consisting of individual scenes which draws attention to a cinema film or a computer game.
The self-regulation organisation for entertainment software (USK) which is located in Berlin on application checks video and computer games and other games programmes which are to be made publicly accessible or presented in Germany. It acts on behalf of the entertainment software industry.
Watersheds must be observed by TV broadcasters for the transmission of films which could impair the development of minors. Films which have been rated suitable for minors aged 16 years or older by the voluntary self-regulation organisation of the film industry (FSK) may be shown only after 22.00 hours. Films rated 18 years by the FSK must not be shown before 23.00 hours. Watersheds can also be used in the internet as an alternative to technical measures or technical systems for the protection of minors.
The term "Web 2.0" relates to an altered use and perception of the internet. Users generate, process and distribute content to a large degree. They thus not only access information in the internet but design content themselves.
A white list (positive list) is a list updated in a computer programme which allows only the titles included in the list to be accessed or performed. The opposite of the white list is the blacklist.