This age classification system is an offer of the Association for Voluntary Self-Regulation of Digital Media Service Providers (FSM). The FSM is a non-profit organisation concerned with the protection of young people in online media and a publically certified self-regulation organisation in the telemedia sector.

The FSM is doing important work to strengthen youth media protection and to fight online content that is illegal or harmful to young persons or may impair their development. The FSM also operates a Hotline which receives reports about illegal or harmful online content. The FSM’s other core functions include extensive educational work and promoting media literacy in children and adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I think the calculated age rating is wrong. Can I change it manually?

    You may always change the calculated age level to a higher or lower rating before generating your label. The documentation, which is available at the end of the classification process, will mention this change.

  • Which content may be classified by using this system?

    The system is suitable for all kinds of online content: static websites, dynamic content, clips, browser games, or user generated content. Please bear in mind that you may not use the age classification system to apply age labels to harmful content (e.g. adult pornography), even if the questionnaire may contain answers you find fitting to such content. Harmful content may only be made available inside closed user groups (cf. sect. 4 para 2 JMStV). Illegal content (e.g. pornography with minors, xenophobia or glorification of war or violence, or other criminal content) must not be made available at all.

    Further reference:
    More Information on content relevant to youth media protection

    Legal background:
    Youth Media Protection in Germany
    Laws on Youth Media Protection

    Information on closed user groups

  • How long does it take to go through the questionnaire?

    It depends on what kind of content you are classifying. The age classification system will display detailed questions only when the respective general questions have been answered with yes. In general, the questionnaire can be completed within a few minutes.

  • What if I change my online content: Do I have to reclassify it?

    A new age rating is will become necessary if you change your content in a way that is relevant with regard to child protection: A website which used to deal with PC hardware and now features erotic images will probably require a new age rating; adding a new article about hardware to your harware-related website will not.

  • What if I make a mistake when using the classification system?

    You can always discard your answers or return to previous questions. Since the system is availabe free of charge and may be used for as many classifications as you like, you can still start over again after having downloaded the results.

  • My website has many pages. Do I have to rate each of them individually?

    No, although you could: You decide on the level of detail of you classification, and, consequentially, you electronic age label. You can use one label for the whole website, apply different labels for individual paths or folders, or assign an age rating for each HTML file.

  • Do I have to be a child protection expert to use the system properly?

    No, the questionnaire may be used by everybody irrespective of their knowledge regarding online child protection. Were we think it's nevessary, we provide in-line help and explain what certain questions or answers mean.

  • What is and what can I do with it?

    The FSM's age classification system contains three different services. You may use it to

    • find the appropriate age rating for your online content
    • generate an electronic age label or
    • verify if an age label is using the correct syntax.

    Read more about why age labelling of online content is helpful:

  • How do I find the right age rating?

    This system contains a questionnaire which calculates an age rating according to your answers. You don't have to be a child protection professional to use it. The system can be used free of charge and for as many classifications as you need. Use it to age rate singe HTML documents, folders or complete websites and sub-domains.

  • What is this documentation which is mentioned everywhere?

    Once you have finished the classification process you can download a set of files: the electronic age label, instructions on how to implement it on your server and a file that contains your answers to the questionnaire. Both the label and the documentation contain a hash value to prove the label is the result of using the classification system. None of these files will be stored on our servers. You should keep it for future reference.

  • I know the appropriate age rating already. Can I get the electronic label without going through the questionnaire?

    The questionnaire and the label generator are linked with one another. However, they can always be used individually: generate the electronic label with an age rating you already know; fill out the questionnaire because you are interested in the resulting age level but do not need the label. Simply choose the respective icon at the start page.

  • How can I validate an existing age label?

    This age classification system can create and validate age labels in "age-de.xml" format. To check whether a label is conform to this standard, choose "Verify an age label". There are three options:

    1. Copy and paste a full age-de.xml file.
    2. Upload an age-de.xml file from your computer or mobile device.
    3. Enter a URL to check if an age label exists and if it is coform with the standard.