Storks and bees are long gone. The way babies are “made” is often explained to young children when they have a sibling. For many, the first anatomically explicit porn rushes to a smartphone in the schoolyard shortly after elementary school. Sometimes you feel like we live in a coherent way …

Storks and bees are long gone. The way babies are “made” is often explained to young children when they have a sibling. For many, the first anatomically explicit porn rushes to a smartphone in the schoolyard shortly after elementary school. We sometimes have the impression of living in a time totally sexualized and without taboos. So, can you spare yourself all that is called enlightenment, a term that traditionally sounds like embarrassing discussions with parents and biology classes for singles?

In short: no. The explanations of sex and contraception are just the tip of the educational iceberg. Questions about the body, gender, feelings and sexuality are still some of the most important challenges facing adolescents and their parents. And even if you don’t always ask them out loud: children have questions and need answers! Hence the question of knowing if the enlightenment is not to be discussed, only the how. Body, gender and emotional issues have long since arrived in child-friendly ways in the show with the mouse, in formats such as “Schloss Einstein” or “Drei !!!”.

The age of sexual maturity has declined over the past 100 years and is now often well before the legal limit. What to do when the 13 year old girl asks for condoms? On the one hand, the protection of minors puts a clear brake on before the age of 14, on the other hand, there is no ban on strong feelings and youthful impulses, and wondering about contraception is always better. than not to.

Difficult or embarrassing questions are asked where you feel safe, in a relationship of trust. It’s not always the parental home in 2021 either. This is where contemporary formats come into play, far from the lesson and the kitchen table. The goal: not to talk about young people, but with them. The “Clarify Me!” Book Series by Katharina von der Gathen and Anke Kuhl, for example, collects real questions from children on the subject and answers them in a precise and informative way. In recent months, however, public law formats have also taken place where young people are most likely to orient themselves today: on social media. Thanks to the online service “funk” of young ARD and ZDF, there are “girls’ nights” on Instagram, which the platform, often criticized as superficial, consciously uses it to present young women with “well-sought content with an attitude”. RBB’s “Safespace” on Tik-Tok is no less enlightening, but more fun: mainly for girls between 14 and 16 years old, physical and mental health issues are dealt with in a simple and fun way by a diverse team of moderators .

And as for many young people Instagram is now almost the new Facebook, namely hard out, the MDR has also found its way to Tik-Tok. The short video portal is currently the most popular social media channel, especially among the 13+ educational target group. With the series of videos “Probably embarrassing”, the MDR is aimed at those who have just passed the youth channel and cannot yet find themselves in more sophisticated formats. In the clips, which are a maximum of one minute long, young animators Viktoria Schackow and Philipp Dubbert act like trusted big brothers and sisters and give answers and advice. The training format is implemented by volunteers as part of a development station accompanying training as well as MDR knowledge. In addition to the mechanics of Tik-Tok, the creators treated their target group upstream and found that knowledge and experience at this age sometimes differ greatly and of course there are things that are “probably embarrassing” for them. youth. Here, the taboo must be lifted, underlines Schackow. And it’s not just subjects like masturbation and contraception that are in demand, explains volunteer Hanna Lohoff: “First of all, it turns out that we have to start relatively far with sex education: bodily issues. and puberty issues that happen right at the start, every ‘first time’: falling in love, crazy hormones, my period, when do I have armpit hair and so on. “Of course, different sexualities and questions of identity are also discussed, but we must not fall in the door, as Lohoff emphasizes about the selection of moderators: “It’s a balancing act for us because we discovered beforehand: the girls rather want to be enlightened by a woman and guys tend to trust a man. women in basic terms first, but at the same time try to cover as diverse a subject as possible. “

From the book “Klär mich auf” to Instagram via Tik-Tok, all the new formats have in common that they always accompany the theme of education with humor. On the one hand, it lowers the threshold of inhibition to cope with it and prevents the informative character; on the other hand, we also run the risk of making fun of important issues. The creators of “Probably Embarrassing” are aware of this, precisely because they are moving on a platform that offers mostly light entertainment. And while “safespace” videos, despite their significant content, often remain clearly in joke mode, they attempt to balance entertainment and knowledge transmission. The feedback seems to prove them right: a good 1,700 comments can accumulate over a weekend after a new video. This is where an effect that has also been criticized comes in: the ability to be able to communicate easily and anonymously through comments if necessary. But: “Based on the comments, we can see what the format is for: similar to ‘safespace’, it’s a space where you can ask questions without shame,” says MDR-Wissen editor-in-chief Daniel Vogelsberg. Ultimately, however, even the most innovative format cannot replace its own experience or home education. Vogelsberg: “We cannot deal with parent education. Our task is to be a component of education.