Child-oriented media options continuously grow in number and variety. The internet gives your child lots of space to explore the digital world through play and use some free content for online learning and discovery. As an overview for you, we explain which media contents are suitable for children and provide specific recommendations on children’s websites, apps, children’s search engines and learning platforms that are educationally valuable.
Audio media, such as music, audio books and podcasts, are usually the first electronic media that children listen to and use actively by themselves. Particularly young children are therefore keen on these. Your child can use audio media in many ways: as an exciting story to actively listen to, as background music when colouring or for falling asleep. A balanced mix of music, background sounds and different voices stimulates your child to listen carefully which trains concentration and imagination. Especially during early childhood, audio books also stimulate their linguistic development, while they process what they hear and need to connect concepts without the use of illustrations but with language.
Children can listen to radio programmes using either a conventional radio or internet radio. They are like regular radio programmes for adults, but the content is intended for children with child-oriented topics and music. Radio programmes for children run the current news in a format made for young persons. These are easily understood and adapted to the language level of the youngest listeners. The programme also contains a good mix of songs for children of all ages, from children’s songs to current pop songs. At bedtime, radio programmes for children usually play audio stories or calm music to fall asleep.
Recommended age: 7 to 12 years
Recommended age: 8 to 12 years
This audio media segment has many different options. Children can choose from educational podcasts, child-oriented reports, audio storytelling and much more. Normally, a podcast that suits the interests of your child is easily found. However, podcasts often come without any age recommendation, which is why you should always first listen to an episode yourself. This is how you can recognize a podcast suitable for children:
age-appropriate topics and language
no unsettling or scary background sounds or clips
Here you can find a few recommendations for podcasts suitable for children:
Suitable for all ages
Child-oriented news podcast
Recommended age: 8 to 14+ years
The Past & the Curious
Funny, educational podcast
Recommended age: 8 to 14+ years
Little Stories for Tiny People
Recommended age: 2 to 6 years
Screen media transmits information primarily visually. This category includes films and series, but also apps and websites. Children under the age of 3 years perceive TV and other screens mostly as a source of irritation and they tend to concentrate more on the flickering lights rather than the content. Therefore, small children should not be exposed to screen media for longer periods of time and should not use them on their own.
Generally, it is recommended to limit screen times for your child. Films and series may frequently offer educational content, but activities away from digital media should still take up a major part of a day.
The selection of free apps can be overwhelming. For any area of interest, one can find informative, gaming-oriented, and entertainment-focused apps. Similar to podcasts, parents often have a hard time finding appropriate apps for their children to introduce them to tablets and smartphones in a playful way. To give you an overview, we show you how to recognize a good app for kids:
app focusses on good content
games and animations are not overwhelming
playful learning effect for children
adherence to child protection laws
no in-app purchases available
parental control settings with additional set-up options (e.g. time limits)
See our recommendations for child-oriented apps below:
Educational game (math)
Recommended age: 4+ years
Duck Duck Moose Reading
Educational game (reading)
Recommended age: 5+ years
Play and Learn Engineering: Educational STEM Games
Simplified STEM app for kids
Recommended age: 3+ years
Coding app for kids
Recommended age: 6+ years
Khan Academy Kids
Recommended age: 2 to 7 years
Recommended age: all ages
YouTube has become an integral part of today’s entertainment world. Especially teenagers and young adults are keen to watch videos on this platform. With YouTube Kids, the platform now also provides filtered content for children. However, the system is not entirely flawless. Therefore, you should always choose appropriate videos first or put together a selection with your child. This will teach your child how to distinguish legitimate videos from dubious ones. In contrast to TV programmes, YouTube videos are always available and can be paused or repeated as desired.
Below you can see recommendations for channels with child-oriented YouTube content:
Recommended age: preschool
Recommended age: 5 to 10 years
Recommended age: 10+ years
The internet also has much to offer children. As you would with children’s apps, you should also ensure that contents of a webpage are appropriate. Navigating pages on a website for kids should be easy and intuitive without advertising or links to social media. A child-oriented website engages your kid’s curiosity and offers room for exploration.
Here, we have listed a few search engines for kids as well as educational and entertaining websites:
Child-oriented search engines
Educational browser game website
Non-profit educational website
Children’s literacy website
National Geographic Kids
Children love to learn and ask lots of questions that even schoolteachers cannot always answer. Some children want to improve in a certain subject (on their own initiative), revise the material studied once more and practise in an applied or playful context. Modern and frequently updated online learning platforms have many advantages for you and your child:
Up-to-date information: Learning content is updated regularly and therefore always current.
Interactive: Games, music and videos help your child to playfully expand their knowledge.
Flexibility: You can always access available content wherever you are and adjust learning times to fit your child’s routine.
It depends on the learning behaviour and independence of your child, whether he or she requires learning assistance or not. Less motivated pupils or those who have a hard time learning independently should have guidance when learning online. Regular and structured learning sessions may have a positive impact on the pupils’ learning behaviour.
Learning aids and knowledge databases come in many different forms, e.g. online videos, educational games, exercises. What type of learning aid is the right one for your child depends on your child’s learning style and which subject area he or she wants to focus on. Important questions to answer in your decision-making process are:
What does my child need to know/learn/revise?
For how long should an educational platform be accessible?
Does my child prefer learning independently or with assistance? If help is needed, can I answer any questions that may arise by myself or will I need an expert?
Once you have answered these questions, you can start looking for a suitable provider.
From learning platforms to entertainment providers, there are many possibilities to introduce children to using digital media sensibly. When choosing the most appropriate media contents for your child, you should check whether they are age-appropriate. A targeted and conscious approach will help your child to use media properly from early on. The most important facts about media literacy are summarized in our PDF for further reference.
(accessed on 11 February 2022)
(accessed on 11 February 2022)