FEATURE | 24 Mar 2022

Ukraine-war: Children and young people are increasingly worried

We answer their questions on our website frieden-fragen.de

Die Internetplattform frieden-fragen.de Die Internetplattform frieden-fragen.de | Berghof Foundation

Since the attack on Ukraine, children and young people are increasingly afraid of war. But adults are also visiting our platform frieden-fragen.de more frequently.


 

"What is the best thing I can do when I am afraid that the Russia-Ukraine war might turn into a third world war?", Leon (14 years old) asked the editors of the website www.frieden-fragen.de a few days ago. He is not alone with this concern. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, children and young people, but also adults, are thinking more frequently about why there is war and how we can create peace. However, it is often not easy to find straightforward answers to these questions. The Berghof Foundation's portal frieden-fragen.de helps young people with these worries and fears.

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the frieden-fragen portal has been in high demand. We are already recording three quarters of the page views we had over the whole of last year, and children and young people in particular, but also adults, are writing to us with their fears and questions about the war in Ukraine.Nicole Rieber, editor of frieden-fragen.de

With the idea of offering children and young people a portal on the internet that addresses these questions and provides individual answers, the Berghof Foundation launched the website www.frieden-fragen.de back in 2005. Since then, young people have been able to find age-appropriate information on topics relating to war and peace, but also to ask their personal questions about disputes, violence and peaceful coexistence, for example at school or even at home, and have them answered individually.

"Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the portal frieden-fragen has been in high demand", reports Nicole Rieber. "We are already recording three quarters of the page views we had over the whole of last year. Children and young people in particular, but also adults, are writing to us with their fears and questions about the war in Ukraine." Some of the questions that reach the team inquire whether there will soon be a third world war, or ask why Putin is attacking Ukraine. Answering these questions is not always easy, but remains very important. In addition, one can find background information about the war in Ukraine and the current situation on the website.

The service, which was awarded 2nd prize in the Children's Online Award by the MDR Broadcasting Council in 2018, follows closely the state of the scientific debate and adheres to values such as peace, human rights and non-violence since the beginning. The team formulates the answers as factually as possible in order to allay children's and young people's fears and to explain political contexts in a responsible manner. Nicole Rieber and Daniela Bold, who are in charge of the site, consider the peace education approach to be important, to provide a positive outlook and to show that it is worthwhile to work for peace. By sharing stories of various people who are working for peace all over the world the team aims to provide role models. The website also features stories and videos about peace and a section for parents, teachers and educational staff on how to help deal with children's issues, specific fears and media consumption.

And Leon, asking about a possible Third World War, got an answer to his question, too. The editorial team had asked peace researcher Hans-Joachim Gießmann what he thought of the situation, and he replied that Russian President Putin himself knew what catastrophe a third world war would trigger. Therefore, he said, Putin mainly threatens to use nuclear weapons to spread fear. "That alone is bad in itself, but he knows equally well that the people of Russia would not survive a Third World War and the use of nuclear weapons either," says Gießmann, concluding that a Third World War remains very unlikely. In addition, the frieden-fragen.de editorial team responds to Leon's question, "It's okay if the news is too much for you right now. It's perfectly fine to keep yourself busy with nice things – meeting friends, playing outside, etc. – even in difficult times. There are many people and politicians who are working for peace in the world. Right now, there are peace demonstrations in many countries around the world. People come together there and they make it clear that they want peace in the world. They are against war."

More about frieden-fragen.de

The website frieden-fragen.de is a project of the Berghof Foundation and is supported by the initiative "Ein Netz für Kinder" of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Thus, frieden-fragen.de is part of an association of children's sites that adhere to certain standards and criteria for children's sites. That is why frieden-fragen.de is also included in the so-called whitelist of the children's search engine www.fragfinn.de. Since 2018, frieden-fragen.de has been a member of Seitenstark.

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Florian Lüdtke
Media and Communications Manager
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