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Germany: Slapping, Bullying, Snuffing!

by Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

A new study has been released in Germany in September by the Medienanstalt Hamburg – Schleswig-Holstein. The study was conducted by Prof. Dr. Petra Grimm, Hochschule der Medien, Stuttgart. Between Spetember 12 and October 15, 2006 804 children and youth aged 12 to 19 years old were asked by phone interview about their use of media with special focus on mobile phones and the content stored on these devices.

The results reveal that 93,5 percent of the young persons are owners of a mobile phone, which is used daily by 68,5 percent. 76,8 percent of the mobile phones owned by youth are equipped with digital camera, 58,7 percent can communicate with a PC or an other mobile phone via infrared interface, 51,8 percent via bluetooth. This means that the devices are ready for download of digital content from the Internet and for exchange of videos and photos.

93,1 percent of the young people have at least heard about violent and or pornographic content on mobile phones, 42,5 percent have already seen it. The number of children and youth that admit to have such content stored on their own mobile phone is only 5,4 percent, but there might be an estimated number of unreported cases.

Most of the parents seem to be not interested in the content their children store on their mobile phones, less then 20 percent of the young respondents reported that they have been asked by their parents about their mobile phone usage and stored content.

The study comes to the conclusion that mobile phone providers should deliver devices with deactivated functionalities as a base model. In addition the authors recommend to enable parents and their children for a responsible use of digital media by teaching digital literacy.

The study is published in German language by Vistas: Slapping, Bullying, Snuffing! Zur Problematik von gewalthaltigen und pornografischen Videoclips auf Mobiltelefonen von Jugendlichen. Berlin: Vistas 2007, 17,00 Euro.

Available on the website since September 28, 2007