What we offer
The FSM offers a wide range of services for companies. We help them meet the requirements of the law and grade their content into age brackets, with tools including an easy-to-use age classification system. The FSM also helps its clients evaluate legal, technical and educational issues, providing them with custom-tailored advice and access to new developments and opportunities in the field of youth protection. We also offer an expert evaluation service and issue seals of approval. The FSM can be used as a Youth Protection Officer. Rounding out our portfolio is a broad spectrum of advanced training and event services.
With the help of the FSM, companies can make a key contribution to their corporate social responsibility activities and, for example, support our countless projects promoting media literacy among children, adults and teachers.
Aiming to make your content available only to specific age groups, but unsure which criteria you should apply when selecting an age verification system? Maybe your colleagues in product development want to present a new feature but don’t know the legal youth protection requirements? Or maybe you’re a small company and want to meet your legal obligation to engage a Youth Protection Officer, but don’t know whom you should appoint? In every area of youth media protection, the FSM is a capable contact and always at its members’ disposal. We can advise you on meeting the requirements of national and international youth protection provisions, on product development and on structuring your content. More information about membership or contact the office directly.
Self-regulation and legal privilege
One major advantage of FSM membership is that in the event of disputes with the federal authorities, first the FSM is engaged as an intermediary, thereby legally ruling out direct sanctions. The FSM has been an officially recognised voluntary self-regulation association since 2005 and as such is part of the regulated self-regulation system that operates in Germany. Recognised self-regulation associations function as a buffer between the state authorities and their member companies. All regular FSM members benefit from this “privilege” effect. More information about membership
EU & international
Which age brackets are pertinent in Denmark? Who is responsible for the certification and supervision of video-on-demand offers in Great Britain? How can adult entertainment be offered online in Poland without breaking the law? What restrictions are there on advertising in Austria? How can youth protection criteria for films in the USA be reconciled with those in Germany?
We aim to advise our members comprehensively and precisely on specialist questions relating to youth media protection outside Germany, and to put them in touch directly with specialist experts for each respective market. To this end, we have access to a broad network of experts – both academics and those in practice – with whom we have, in some cases, maintained an intensive cooperation based on mutual trust for many years.
Since the FSM was founded, we have worked closely with state authorities and private commercial bodies from all around the world – as part of the INHOPE reporting hotline, as partners in international projects such as MIRACLE or as experts in online self-regulation and youth protection in initiatives like the ICT Coalition and the CEO Coalition to Make the Internet a Better Place for Children.
We offer FSM members access to current topics and results from international conferences and studies, answers to legal, technical and education-related questions of relevance to youth protection and relating to other countries, and opportunities for discussion with contacts around the world.
Expert Evaluator Commission / Seal of approval
Expert Evaluator Commission
The Expert Evaluator Commission is a service provided to FSM members for clarifying legal, technical or media studies issues. The legal youth media protection provisions are complex, and it will often hardly be possible to answer any questions related to these provisions without considering a technical component or issues relating to media impact research. Providing answers to such interdisciplinary questions in the form of an expert evaluation can be costly and time-consuming, assuming the company is able to find a suitable expert evaluator at all. This is why FSM members can avail themselves of a unique service. The Commission comprises a large pool of experts, selected in tailored constellations to cover every individual case. You will receive a written evaluation specifically addressing the individual requirements of the commissioning agent. The basis for this evaluation is the association documents of the FSM, together with the German Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV) and the rules and guidelines set out in Article 19 Para. 2 JMStV.
Depending on the nature and scope of the evaluation, it will be carried out either online or in person. The cost of taking advantage of the Expert Evaluator Commission is as follows:
|Online consultation||700 Euro|
|In-person consultation||from 2.500 €|
Seal of approval
If the subject matter of an evaluation by the Expert Evaluator Commission has consisted of clearly definable content (web content, technical system), and if the content examined is fully in accordance with the FSM’s association documents and with the legal requirements, a seal of approval may be issued, enabling the company to demonstrate clearly that it is in compliance with the law. This means Internet users can see at a glance whether the FSM has judged a website or age verification system to be in accordance with the provisions of German youth media protection law and the FSM association documents, thereby strengthening their trust in the Internet content provided.
If the member company receives a seal of approval, it will publish the logo in direct proximity to the subject matter of the evaluation, thus documenting the quality of its content in relation to the issue of youth media protection. Meanwhile, the logo for the seal of approval will link directly to a supplementary text providing the user with a clear account of the nature and scope of the evaluation.
In principle, every complaint received by the FSM will first be reviewed by the hotline staff. In some instances, the complaint will be submitted to the FSM Complaints Committee. This will happen in the following circumstances:
The Complaints Committee will always decide in respect of complaints against a member of the FSM, provided the company in question has not already remedied the complaint itself beforehand. However, the Committee will always decide in respect of any complaint that has been referred to the FSM by the German Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM).
If there has been a breach of the legal youth media protection provisions, and if the respondent is not a member of the FSM, the respondent will in principle first be given the opportunity to take remedial action itself. If such action is not taken, the FSM hotline can convene the Complaints Committee.
The FSM Complaints Committee comprises around 30 members who come together to decide cases by turns, according to a schedule of responsibilities, in individual complaints case committees consisting of three members each. The members of the Complaints Committee are drawn from diverse areas of society, including legal experts, media educators and communication scientists.
A complaints case committee consists of at least three examiners, who then select one of their number as the chairperson. A complaints case committee is not a fixed body, but is appointed in each instance by the director of the hotline in accordance with the rules of assignment and schedule of responsibilities and subject to the selection criteria laid down in the Articles of Association.
Membership in the Complaints Committee is an honorary post. The Committee members are independent and are not bound by any instructions. They are subject in their work to the Articles of Association, Code of Conduct and Complaint Rules of the FSM.
When evaluating whether Internet content offers comply with youth protection requirements, the members of the Complaints Committee follow the provisions of the FSM Testing Principles.
Youth protection officer
Commercial providers of generally accessible telemedia that includes content that may impair development or be harmful to the young as well as providers of search engines must appoint a Youth Protection Officer (further information about appointing a Youth Protection Officer).
Providers with fewer than 50 employers, or a verifiable monthly average of fewer than ten million site visits over the course of a year, need not appoint a Youth Protection Officer if they join a voluntary self-regulation association and engage it to carry out the duties of one.
The FSM offers its members this option. Membership entitles them to use us as their Youth Protection Officer. More information on membership