1 December 2023

IScreens are a growing concern. Exposure times have exploded in recent years, from a very young age. The recommended thresholds, although not very demanding, are largely exceeded. The lower the socio-educational level of the parents, the more the child is exposed to screens, which increases the social divide.

Witnesses to the extent of the problem, three bills are included in the calendar of the National Assembly in March. The first relates to the prevention of excessive exposure of children under 6 to screens, the second envisages the prohibition of access to social networks for children under 15., the last, the protection of the image rights of minors.

This will have the merit of drawing attention to these important subjects. However, these texts do not go far enough: they should target all minors, and globally. The latter are in fact very vulnerable: on the one hand, their organism, in particular their brain, is in a phase of maturation and growth; on the other hand, the habits acquired in childhood most often persist into adulthood, it is crucial to ensure their quality.

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The scientific literature continues to grow on the deleterious effects of excessive use of screens on physical and mental health: disturbances in neurological and socio-relational development, sedentary lifestyle and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, sleep disorders with disturbance of rhythms circadians, visual disturbances, exposure to inappropriate content (violence, pornography, incitement to the consumption of products harmful to physical and psychological health: alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes and other drugs, foods and drinks with high sugar content, salt and fat).

The age limit should be set at 6-7 years old

Added to this are the indirect impacts linked to environmental pollution caused by new information and communication technologies (NTIC): endocrine disruptors, radiofrequency radiation, extraction of raw materials, water and energy consumption. , promotion of consumerist tendencies themselves sources of pollution.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “It is by helping families that we will prevent screens from becoming new nannies”

Broad public awareness is essential: poster campaigns in the public space, advertising spots, training of teachers, caregivers and social workers. The information should incorporate the results of the most recent research. In particular, the age limit before exposure should be set at 6-7 years.

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