what a place for screens in education

On January 16, 2024, Emmanuel Macron announced at a press conference that it is necessary to regulate the use of screens among young children. Among scientists, there is some debate about the actual impact of screens. In order to try to see more clearly, we spoke with Professor Ludovico Gicquel, a specialist in child and juvenile psychiatry.

Are screens dangerous for children?

Ludovic Gicquel: “There are two important parameters to consider. The first is the moment of exposure, and the second is the duration. It is important to properly integrate these two dimensions. Everything depends on the children and their activities. If a fifteen-year-old spends an hour or two on the phone, there's no point in stopping him. On the other hand, obviously we don't put screens in front of a 6-month-old baby. »

Should screens be fully included in the upbringing of minors?

LG: “The big problem is knowing how to manage this medium. We are in a historical situation where children are sometimes more competent than their parents. The real difficulty is to set benchmarks for the general public, to know how to introduce digital technology in education. »

“For the first time, interpersonal relations have a competitor”

Are screens becoming a threat to family relationships?

LG: “For the first time, human relations have a competitor. Her challenge is digital technology. The two do not bring the same things and family conversations are important. From the moment we lose the dialogue, when the screen has replaced the parents, it becomes dangerous. It's all a matter of dosage. »

Are children more exposed to social networks and false information that can be placed there?

LG: ” Of course ! What we have to understand is that children are vulnerable beings. Social media use what is called the attention economy. It's very simple: they capture the available time of the brain, which is about one minute to one and a half minutes, to convey information. Exactly that's what's happening with TikTok for example. They use this format to help kids integrate information.”

Are there any positives to using a screen?

LG: “Used in a balanced way, screens can be completely stimulating. It's the same principle as social networks. Mostly it is something that is positive, that allows us to stay in touch with people who are far away etc. The problem is that the negative sides have taken off a lot, with the development of cyberbullying for example. »

What solutions should be used to regulate children's screen use?

LG: “I think that parents have their responsibility, but that it is the public authorities that must make decisions. If I compare it to cocaine, parents were not asked to regulate their children's consumption. It was forbidden. On screens, you need a lot more control. For example, access to porn sites is a disaster.

Broadly speaking, I think there are positive sides, because children are much more critical, they understand the risks. We all need to protect our children from the influence of digital technology. »

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