The two researchers come from different disciplines and have just as different perspectives on the topic: Kira Thiel is a social scientist who focuses on how adolescents act on the internet and how they deal with negative experiences. Sünje Andresen is concerned with the legal question of what tools the law has at its disposal to ensure that internet use is as risk-free as possible.
Cyberbullying and hate speech are the most common risks that children and young people encounter on the internet. This means verbal attacks in class chats, during online games or for all to see in social media. But cybergrooming (as the targeted manipulation of minors with the aim of sexual abuse via online chat is called) poses also a serious danger. How can these dangers be addressed?
Simply keeping children and adolescents away from the internet would be absolutely unproductive, the researchers agree. "The internet is an important part of young people's lives. They use it to communicate with friends or to get important information. We should not deprive adolescents of this, but rather enable them to use the internet as responsibly as possible," says Kira Thiel.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also obliges us as a society to enable children to participate in society, says Sünje Andresen. And that includes the use of the internet.
Parents should not monitor all their children's online communication in the hope that this will protect them from all risks. "First of all, that doesn't work," says Sünje Andresen. "Secondly, children also have a right to privacy and private communication." Rather, she says, internet use must be adapted to the age of the child. The older the child gets, the more you have to trust it and enable it to participate.
According to Kira Thiel, it is also important for parents to take the needs and life worlds of their own children seriously. This also means showing genuine interest in their children's online activities: Tell me, which apps do you like to use and why? What happens there? One should not look at new media with a pessimistic finger pointing at them, but rather exchange ideas with the child as openly as possible.
Die beiden Forscherinnen kommen aus unterschiedlichen Fachgebieten und genauso unterschiedlich blicken sie auch auf das Thema: Kira Thiel beschäftigt sich sozialwissenschaftlich damit, wie Heranwachsende im Netz agieren und wie sie mit negativen Erfahrungen umgehen. Sünje Andresen treibt die juristische Frage um, was das Recht an Werkzeugen bereithält, um eine möglichst gefahrenfreie Internet-Nutzung zu gewährleisten.