01.04.2015 – 31.03.2018
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
German Association for Company Health Insurance BKK
University of Education of Freiburg (Prof. Eva-Maria Bitzer)
Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Prof. Paula Bleckmann)
The MEDIA PROTECT research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of the national Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence (HLCA) Consortium. The aim of HLCA is the development, trialling and transfer into practice of target group-specific, evidence-based, high-quality health promotion and primary prevention measures in children and adolescents.
To maximise the chances of developing the skills to manage media use and minimise the risks and dangers to children, MEDIA PROTECT uses counselling of children’s adult caregivers to prevent the proven negative long-term effects of excessive childhood screen media use. Children with a lesser socioeconomic status are more severely affected. Primary prevention of problem screen use is a neglected field of research and practice, even though younger and younger age groups spend ever-increasing portions of their time with screen media. Promising models based on a universal preventive approach are few and far between in Germany. The only evaluated intervention in Germany showed a short-run reduction in the prevalence of bedroom screen equipment, a reduction in dysfunctional use and an improvement in school performance.
MEDIA PROTECT aims to promote age-appropriate screen media use in children aged four to seven. In the process, it focuses on the development of individual health literacy among parents and small children, most of all from socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Further aims include highlighting alternative leisure options, reducing screen use, minimising equipment ownership among children, and supporting screen use under parental supervision. The prevention programme is implemented by a non-profit association, Media Protect e.V., and funded by BKK Dachverband, the German association of company health insurers. The effectiveness of MEDIA PROTECT is being evaluated by Freiburg University of Education (Professor Eva-Maria Bitzer) in a randomised control group study. The Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) is supporting Freiburg University of Education in carrying out the evaluation.