Protection of minors

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The term protection of minors summarizes legal regulations for the protection of adolescents and children against health, moral and other dangers. The focal points include: youth in public , protection from media harmful to minors , youth welfare , youth employment protection . In addition, the term refers to practical measures taken by the state through which youth protection standards are implemented. Independent of controls by the authorities, the providers of products and services that are harmful to minors are responsible for ensuring that no minors are among their customers or buyers.

Different ratings

A police operation in the context of youth protection. Several young people here have to dispose of alcoholic beverages that they have just purchased into the sewer system because they have not exceeded the required age limit.

In different countries and cultures there are sometimes very different ideas about

  • What young people need to be protected from in detail,
  • which age limits are to be drawn in different protection areas and
  • what part of the protection the state provides through legal regulations and what part it leaves to the responsibility of the legal guardian.

One problem lies in the implementation of legal regulations in social practice. B. a general alcohol ban for young people (i.e. people under the age of 21), which is also rigorously enforced. In Germany, on the other hand, many regulations on the protection of minors are de facto undermined: Massive alcohol abuse or access by minors to products protected by minors are common. In addition, young people aged 16 and over are permitted to consume certain alcoholic beverages in Germany; it is not systematically prevented in even younger people. Access to pornographic media or media that glorifies violence is forbidden for young people in Germany, but it is no more difficult than in countries without this restriction.

The legal regulations on the minimum age from which self-determined sexuality is allowed are also very different in the various countries . The question of the extent to which such standards are of practical importance has to be answered differently from country to country.

Such differences usually have their roots in traditional patterns of thought and behavior in the respective societies as well as in very different ideas about the relationship between the state and the individual. But historical experiences also play a role (e.g. the notion, which is particularly pronounced in Germany, that the state must do everything to prevent Nazi excesses of violence from recurring ).

A conflict of objectives in the conception of youth protection is that, on the one hand, young people are still minors and some elements of the idea of child protection are also applicable to young people (e.g. the idea that young people must also be protected against age-inappropriate challenges), on the other hand However, compared to children, adolescents can hardly be distinguished from adults in terms of their level of maturity, whose rights and obligations they acquire at their 18th birthday (in Germany and many other countries). If the protection of minors is excessive, there is a risk that young adults will not meet the requirements of their new role.

The differences in the regulations in different countries indicate the difficulty of finding the "right" regulation, although at least in the western pluralistic societies the realities of life of the young people do not differ significantly. On the one hand, there is traditional thinking and historical experience, combined with concern for the well-being of the next generation. On the other hand, children and adolescents develop in many ways more quickly than adults want to admit it ( puberty ), which should actually be encouraged and at most carefully directed, but not slowed down or ignored. However, this development does not proceed equally quickly and in the same way for all young people. In addition, there is the increasing plurality of society and technical progress, which increasingly confront young people with opportunities, freedom and personal responsibility, for example when using the Internet . The differences of opinion and conflicts that arise in this area of ​​tension are emotionally charged and are therefore well suited to political and media populism . It is therefore difficult for the individual to judge what exaggerated extreme cases are, what is a social problem, and what is actually quite normal and okay.

Especially since the assessment changes over time. An example is the sexuality of young people (or of unmarried people in general), which is no longer a hot topic today, whereas it was completely different thirty or even fifty years ago. In this respect, it is actually not possible or useful in any pluralistic society to find a clear consensus and to cast this into laws that are strictly enforced. Rather, the legislature tends to follow what has long been general practice and loosens rules, the violation of which is de facto no longer punishable. Examples from Germany are the deletion of the " Kranzgeld Paragraph" in 1998 or Section 175 of the Criminal Code on the prohibition of homosexuality, which existed in a relaxed form until 1994. Both also affected young people.

Ecclesiastical moral teachings such as the Catholic Catechism , which among other things deal with such questions, are committed to a very traditional educational approach and are not exactly inclined to adapt flexibly to social facts, are hardly taken into account and are therefore no longer suitable as a general guideline.


Regulations can be found in the following laws:

An important instrument of German youth protection is the Bonn- based Federal Testing Office for Media Harmful to Young People (BPjM). Another institution funded by the federal government is .


In Austria, youth protection is the responsibility of the federal states. There are therefore nine youth protection laws in Austria (one for each federal state). In addition, there is the federal pornography law . In urgent cases and emergencies, the Austrian child and youth telephone emergency service 147 - advice on wire offers free advice on the subject of youth protection.


There is no actual youth protection law in Switzerland. The corresponding regulations can be found in other laws such as the Alcohol Act , the Federal Food Ordinance or in cantonal trade laws .

See also


  • Roland Bornemann / Murad Erdemir (eds.): Nomos Commentary Youth Media Protection State Treaty . 1st edition 2017, Nomos, ISBN 978-3-8329-6198-5
  • Marc Liesching / Susanne Schuster (staff): Youth protection law: Youth protection law, youth media protection treaty, provisions of the penal code and the broadcasting treaty. Comment . 5. revised Edition 2011, Verlag CH Beck, ISBN 978-3-406-61196-4
  • Bruno W. Nikles / Sigmar Roll / Dieter Spürck / Murad Erdemir / Sebastian Gutknecht: youth protection law. Commentary on the Youth Protection Act (JuSchG) and the State Treaty on Youth Media Protection (JMStV) with excerpts from the Criminal Code and other provisions on the protection of minors , 3rd revised. and revised Edition 2011, Verlag Luchterhand, ISBN 978-3-472-07978-1
  • Child and youth protection in science and practice (KJug), editor: Bruno W. Nikles for the Federal Working Group Child and Youth Protection eV (BAJ), Berlin. Quarterly trade journal published, ISSN  1865-9330

Web links

Wiktionary: Protection of minors  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Berlin coma drunkards died  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) FTD of March 29, 2007@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  2. Girls with 4.1 per mille in the Hospital Welt Online from March 25, 2007