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The television is the No. 1 family medium in Germany

FIM study 2011 assessed communication and media use in families


Cover of the study

Cover of the study, © mpfs

The television is the most important medium in families in Germany; nearly three quarters of all children and young people aged between three and 19 years watch TV together with their families, several times a week. 45 percent of the parents regularly listen to the radio together with their children and 13 percent access the internet together. Books are particularly important for younger children: parents read to, or read together with, 82 percent of the children aged three to five years. These are some findings from the recent FIM 2011 study (Families, Interaction & Media) presented by the Media Educational Research Alliance South-West (mpfs) at the conference “Families Today” on February 2nd, 2012.

Mothers are the “book experts” in the family
The television also plays a crucial role regarding communication within the family. Nearly two thirds of the young people reported that they regularly talked about the TV or about what they had watched on the TV in the family. Roles are clear-cut when it comes to who is the media expert in the family. Regarding computers, TV programmes and television sets, the father is generally the family member who is assigned the best know-how. Mothers are often named as the “book specialist” in the family, and the children are the most familiar with computer and play station games.

Harmonious communication in families in Germany
The most important time devoted to communication in the family is the evening. Many talks between parents and children take place at dinner and before bedtime. According to the commonly shared opinions, the climate amongst family members in Germany is generally good. 96 percent of the parents and children agree to the statement that “In our family, everyone has their say regardless of age”. In most cases, the mother is the first person the children turn to.

The FIM study (Families, Interaction & Media) was jointly carried out by the Media Educational Research Alliance South-West and Südwestfunk (South-West Broadcasting Corporation). The study delivers insights into today’s communication and interaction in the families, and representative findings regarding media use in family settings. To this end, all the members of 200 families with children aged between three and 19 years were personally interviewed. The Media Educational Research Alliance South-West is a co-operation between the federal state institute for media, Baden-Württemberg (LFK) and the Federal state media and communication centre Rhineland-Palatinate (LMK). The study was subject to a co-operation with the public south-western broadcasting corporation, Südwestrundfunk (SWR).

Findings from the study are available in pdf format:

Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (Media Educational Research AllianceSouth-West, mpfs)
Ltg.: Peter Behrens (LMK), Thomas Rathgeb (LFK)
c/o Landesanstalt für Kommunikation
Reinsburgstr. 27
70178 Stuttgart
E-Mail: t.rathgeb@lfk.de
Internet: www.mpfs.de

Translated into English by Gwendolyn Schulte (DIPF)



FIM study 2011