The screens(Tabs of Phones or Game consoles) are comfortably installed in the majority of our houses. According to the Observatory of Audiovisual Equipment of Households, in 2017, each home had about 5.5 screens (television, computer, mobile phone, tablet). However, if they are part of the decor, they remain objects to use with caution.
For ten years, the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) hammers it: “no screen before 3 years”. A message recently taken by the Minister of Health. Indeed, for ten years, children are more exposed to a real digital gear. Today, the question is more relevant than ever. According to data tracking more than 18,000 children, one in two children starts watching television before 18 months. Between 20 and 30% of 2 year old even use a tablet every week.
Towards an epidemic of AMD?
If studies are increasing, it is still difficult to assess some of the consequences of the over-exposure of children to screens. However, the risks to the health of the young are now well known. “The very nature of screens is a danger. Blue LED light is a threat to the retina. Indeed, the lens of the smallest is not yet pacified and some ophthalmologists fear an increase in AMD in the coming years (age-related macular degeneration, which corresponds to a deterioration of part of the retina macula, Editor’s note », alert Dr. Serge Tisseron, psychiatrist and author of Taming the screens and growing up(Editions Eres). Exposure to screens also disrupts children’s sleep and falling asleep. But that’s not all: it also alters learning. As Serge Tisseron reminds, before the age of 3, children’s priorities lie in motor skills, language, the development of attention skills and the recognition of emotions. “The screens can not answer these different leanings, because they do not allow to use his body, do not address the child directly, do not interact with him and do not allow him to learn to focus on a fixed target. Children who are victims of too many screens will also have difficulties in identifying emotions, and thus in relational insecurity.
To these consequences on the health of children, Professor Francis Eustache, neuropsychologist and director at Inserm of the “neuropsychology and imaging of human memory” unit at the University of Caen, add one more. Admittedly, he admits, “television should not be demonized, it is part of the world around us. It represents a tool to access new knowledge. Before nuance: “To build his memory, a small needs to focus on certain information. Screens hinder the ability to concentrate. In addition, a child must maintain moments of rest to synthesize the information collected. In our hyperstimulation society, he does not always find these moments of respite. Professor Eustache warns about the repercussions engendered by this new world. “Memory is a balance between the internal memory of each individual and the external memory (screens, Internet, etc.) where it is possible to find answers to questions. The important is to find a balance between all that. ”
Should we permanently ban the screens for homes? For Serge Tisseron, this is not the solution. They must be integrated into an educational process. “As is the case with food, it must be introduced gradually into the daily lives of children. And as for food, screens should not be nibbled all day. Parents are there to guide the use. ”
So, to help the parents, the psychiatrist has developed the method “3-6-9-12” , a program of gradual introduction and reasoned screens in the life of the child. For an intelligent exhibition, the psychiatrist recommends to avoid the screens as much as possible before the age of 3 years. Before this age, pups must focus on interactions with the environment. To help in its development, only the direct relationship with a human is important. And Serge Tisseron says: “A child learns better to play alone when he first has the opportunity to play with someone. A new toy must be shared with an adult. Then, the child will play more easily alone, because he will associate the game with the presence of the parent. ”
Opting for a video library
After 3 years, the time spent in front of the screens must be ritualized, at the same time each day, as for meals. Before 6 years, it is better to avoid buying a personal digital tool for the child because it can no longer be removed. If there is a tablet, it is family. Serge Tisseron also recommends the use of a small video library that allows the child to choose his programs and watch them several times. Obviously avoid the screens in his room. Finally, no surf on the Internet before 9 years old and the game console must be set and the parental control activated. Social networks are to ban before 12 years. Do not forget either, that if the screens can learn a lot of things, they do not learn to express themselves. Parents who talk with the child about what
And who better than parents to lead by example? For this, turn off the television and your smartphone while you give the bottle, and decide to take the evening meal without TV, smartphone or tablet, to make it a moment of shared conviviality. We need to help our children.