Since 1949 the JFF has been investigating how younger generations deal with media through research and practical experience.
The media usage of adolescents and promoting media competence has been the starting point for JFF activities in the fields of research and pedagogical work for more than 60 years. Combining empirical research and educational practice is characteristic of the work of JFF. Research results form the basis of educational schemes for educational, developmental, and cultural work with children and adolescents. These research activities are reciprocally supplemented by educational practice.
Director: Kathrin Demmler
The JFF is run by the non-profit organization JFF – Jugend Film Fernsehen e.V. The activities of the institute are accompanied by a Board of Trustees with representatives from politics and the media.
Chair: Prof. Dr. Frank Fischer
JFF research investigates media appropriation of children and young people with a focus on media education.
Empirical Studies JFF studies yield results regarding the media use of adolescents, in light of their personal and socio-cultural contexts. Besides the perception, use, and evaluation of media, the studies center on the complex processes of integration through which media play an active role in the individual child’s environment. Aimed at improving our understanding and ability to come to terms with the most significant media phenomena, we combine qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical social research, from intensive case studies to regular surveys of media consumers.
Evaluation We place high value on conducting companion studies and evaluations whose results we can implement into adequate media educational projects and subsequent calls to response from media users. To that end, the institute’s methodical approaches ensure that the research process and the wording of the results are transparent and understandable for all involved.
Expert Reports We prepare expert reports that encompass theoretical and practical specialist knowledge from media education for different topic areas, such as informal learning with and via media, or specific aspects of media usage by particular groups.
The JFF promotes media literacy amongst adolescents through active media work, and develops media educational concepts for all fields of education.
Pilot Projects The JFF is committed to examining current social and media educational issues in the form of pilot projects. Based on an action-oriented, holistic approach to active media work, we draft, test, evaluate, and publish innovative practical concepts as models. In this context, we focus on different target groups from all fields of education, as well as the whole spectrum of the media.
Financial Support and Training Courses Through the facilitation of projects such as In eigener Regie (regarding film, audio and multimedia productions) or Internet and neue Medien (Internet and New Media), the JFF provides expert knowledge, content advice, as well as financial and technical support to children’s and adolescents’ groups and their educational staff. Numerous events designed to train and qualify educational staff and students to facilitate their own media education activities play an especially important role in our outreach to other media initiatives.
Festivals The institute’s regular festivals, such as the Bavarian Youth Film Festival JuFinale, the mobile phone clip competition Ohrenblick Mal!, or the Kinderfotopreis (Children’s Photo Award), provide young people with an audience. These festivals organized by the JFF in cooperation with diverse partners. They allow children and adolescents the opportunity to discuss their craft with experts and gain public recognition of their work.
Networks The JFF is active in regional and Germany-wide media education networks such as Inter@ktiv – a communal framework in Munich – and FRAME, a network of German-speaking media centers. Both share the institute’s dedication to establishing media education structures, concepts, and models in youth work.
Transfer of Knowledge/Results and Consultation
A core task of the JFF is to convey results from media educational research and practice to educational, scientific, and political spheres.
We do so by:
Issuing scientific and practical education publications We publish current research results, guidelines, and background literature in research and practice in media education. Our most regular publication is medien + erziehung (merz), the only independent specialist magazine in Germany.
Designing teaching aids We provide information on media education as well as advice for parents and professional educators on how to work with media.
Specialist events We organize and run conferences and training courses that place results from both research and educational practice in the field at the center of discourse. Through these events, we can pass on new, relevant knowledge to other experts in the field as well as stimulate discussions on related media educational topics.
Consultation The JFF provides expert knowledge for different target groups, e.g. for professionals in the diverse fields of education and research, and, on request, we organize specific events and support educators in dealing with media educational topics.
Among others the Institute publishes two media magazines:
- merz | medien + erziehung (media and education) is a scientific periodical which covers all scientifical and practical subjects in the field of media pedagogy and media education. It is published six times a year: the first five issues are ‘regular’ magazines, whereas the sixth issue every year is merzWissenschaft, a solely scientific, peer-reviewed magazine. You can find all current as well as past subjects online: www.merz-zeitschrift.de
- FLIMMO - watching TV with children's eyes is a guide for parents on TV programmes, published three times a year by the association "Programmberatung für Eltern e.V.". The homepage for this guide is regularly updated as well: www.flimmo.tv
The work objective of the JFF is to understand the media usage of adolescents, to identify opportunities and challenges and to convey options for action to teachers, social workers and parents.
Essential to understanding the media usage of adolescents is comprehension of their environment. Media and their scope, content and structures must be understood as embedded in society; media can only be approached properly when the individual and environmental conditions of the subjects are taken into account. The work of the JFF in research and in practice thus focuses on the concept of contextual understanding. The scientific activities of the JFF always also incorporate the socio-cultural environment of adolescents. In practice, in addition to projects for children and youth, auxiliary programs for social workers, teachers and educators and in support of the family environment are also developed.
Another important reference framework for all work at the JFF is orientation towards the resources and competencies of the adolescent. Even if educational potentials are still much too dependent on social environment, media for children and youth provide considerable development potentials. Adolescents use media for entertainment purposes, for orientation, information, communication and to present themselves. The specific potentials inherent in the media usage for the individual adolescent depend on the one hand on the range of media available, and on the other hand on basic pedagogical parameters. This is the point of departure for the scientific and applied activities of the JFF: Issues of pedagogical practice form the focus as early as the design of the studies. Interpretation of results generates recommendations for activities in various pedagogical fields. In media education, the practical application department of the JFF develops individual concepts for a variety of target groups, characterized by age, interests and socio-cultural parameters.
Theoretical and methodological foundations of applied pedagogical activities at the JFF comprise the concept of active media work with the precepts of project-oriented, active and social learning. Based on lifeworld, resource and competence orientation, the objective here is the promotion of media competence in children and youth by helping them encounter media in an active mode and to utilize them in participation in society.
Work at the JFF focuses on a variety of topics:
Tolerance means recognition and respect for different attitudes, external characteristics and behaviors. The objective of tolerance is living together in harmony. Tolerance can be promoted through openness and communication. These two aspects constitute one of the most important cornerstones of media educational project work. In group work and open dialog, youth confront their own environments, values and aspirations. All of these aspects can be supported through active media work. In this method youths leave the role of the passive consumer and become active producers. The production of media content requires mastering a varied range of challenges. In the project KAJUTO for example, it is essential for the adolescent to be confronted with tolerance and intolerance: Beginning with the youth's own prejudices towards others, the adolescents formulate topics together and realize them in media campaigns promoting tolerance which they develop themselves.
Cooperation in solidarity is an essential prerequisite for a functioning society. Promoting this factor appears more important than ever in the context of the interchange between the generations, all the more so because the generations can profit from one another, as becomes particularly clear in medial contexts: Due to the rapid pace of change in terms of dissemination of information and emergence of technologies, the ability to deal with such change manifests differently in different age groups. Here the approach is to bring the generations to exchange experiences and examine their respective resources in order to meet the challenges of the information age. Thus the project "Generations in Dialog" promotes empathetic, constructive co-existence and a peer-to-peer exchange across age boundaries. Here both adolescents and older participants communicate under media educational instruction regarding and using media. The project has received a number of prizes, including the Evens Prize for Media Education 2011.
The encounter with media has always played an increasingly important role in adolescent identity development. Today Internet platforms such as Facebook and YouTube offer youth a new, expanded framework for action. The self-portrayal and medial articulations they enable provide youth with avenues for expanded self-reflection and self-experience. Furthermore, youth locate themselves in social network services in both social and cultural terms while receiving feedback from other users. However, youth walk a tightrope between privacy and publicity with these forms of identity development. The JFF study "The Internet as a Platform for Reception and Presentation of Youth" is aimed at a comprehensive enlightenment of the media behavior of youth in today's "User-Driven Internet 2.0". The current section of the study is devoted in particular to the identity-relevance of online activities. Here youth participate in qualitative interviews on their use of social networks. The investigation is a part of media convergence studies, a research focus for the JFF since 2001.
Information and Participation
Under the conditions of mediatization and media convergence, individualized patterns of media usage are increasing in significance. In particular the information-oriented use of the Internet offers adolescents a wide range of opportunities while at the same time presenting a number of new challenges. When selecting and receiving information in the Internet, youth utilize a wide variety of journalistic sources and forms of user-generated information. At the same time the range offered by Web 2.0 also represents opportunities for participation in the new information landscape, for example in the context of actively obtaining, creating and disseminating information in the media. In the study "Reception and Production of Information by Youth" the JFF addresses the question of how youth deal with information of social and political relevance in media. Using semi-standardized quantitative procedures as well as qualitative case studies, the study examines information-related media usage by adolescents between twelve and 19 years of age.
Titles such as "MyGames", "MyNews" and "GamesLab" invite school classes and individual youth groups to youth conferences to discuss certain media-related topics from their respective points of view. Films and interactive elements convey important background information. During the conference the youth participants play an active role, their opinions and questions are integrated in lectures and in the course of a panel discussion. The auxiliary activities include continuing education sessions for pedagogical specialists, teachers and educators both within and outside of the school, as well as parent-teacher conferences. The action-oriented concept of the youth conferences is intended to encourage youth to reflect on a given topic, to contribute and publicly discuss their point of view and to deal effectively with the opinions and points of views of others in a constructive manner. As is the case with the youth media festivals of the JFF, the objective here is to offer children and youth a forum for their interests and concerns, to publicly express their attitudes and media contributions and to bring youth into dialog with similarly oriented peers.
Media Education in the Family
Media are a permanent fixture in everyday family life. The cornerstone for media interaction in later life is already set in the pre-school and primarily school years in the context of the family; the first "contact" with media content usually takes place within the family. This means the influence of the parents and other attachment figures in the promotion of media competence is substantial from the earliest stages. The extent of the formative influence of family life on the interaction of children with media depends on family-internal factors. Furthermore, modified societal prerequisites and developments in the media landscape also affect the degree to which parents are able to realize proper media education and the quality of this education. In this context the Research department of the JFF derives empirical fundamentals, concepts and materials in various projects which provide the family with essential support and accompany the media education on a target group-oriented basis. Particularly interesting in this regard are concepts that actively expand parenting skills and enrich the dialog between parents and children, instead of confining themselves to functional information and "tips".
Ansprechpersonen im Sekretariat: Gabriele Fella und Verena Höhme
Ansprechperson Sekretariat: Martina Bloech