Close

Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter




Premium access provided by ENSTA

Your premium access provided by ENSTA

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by NRC Q

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to NRC Q.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by EM-LYON

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to EM-LYON.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Goldsmiths

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Goldsmiths.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Worldcrunch HQ

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Worldcrunch HQ.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MINES Alès Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to MINES Alès Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by ESCP Europe Alumni

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to ESCP Europe Alumni.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by IONIS Education Group

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to IONIS Education Group.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MinnPost

You have been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 6 months thanks to MinnPost.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin

Worldcrunch

Tips To Regulate "Screen Time" For Your Kids, From Infants To Teens

Article illustrative image Partner logo Six weeks old, and already hooked...

PARIS - Temptations for children take many forms: video games, computers, TV, tablets. According to French audience measurement company Mediametrie, children between four and 14 spend more than two hours in front of the TV every day.

On Jan. 22, the French Academy of Sciences issued a warning about children watching television or movies from too young an age. The Academy targets screens, not mothers and fathers. It advises parents to teach their children responsibility in regard to screen time from an early age.

This is particularly important because of how fast digital platforms are evolving. They are becoming more interactive and their content is changing as well, with more and more educational programs.

Serge Tisseron, psychiatrist, and Olivier Houdé, psychology professor, issued the following recommendations on behalf of the Academy of Sciences:

0 to 2 - Only tablets
Every study shows that non-interactive mediums (TV and DVDs) have no positive effects. DVDs for babies might even have negative effects: weight gain, slow speech development as well as a poor focus and attention span.

However, tablets with touch screens can play a role – with the help of adults – in the initiation to the digital world. “It’s the format that is best-suited to their intelligence level,” according to the Academy. Stimulus must be diversified, though, and must comprise both digital and non-digital formats. It should be noted that seeing violence on TV can create sleeping difficulties and psychological insecurity for very young children.

2 to 6 - No personal video game consoles 
Between two and three years of age, passive and prolonged exposure to TV without a human interactive and educational presence is not advised.

After three years old, intelligence becomes symbolic and representative: a child is capable of “deferred imitation” – reenacting a scene after seeing it – and is capable of playing pretend. Screens can help children to understand the difference between what’s real and what’s virtual. At the same time, children must be also invited to talk about what they see.

From the age of four, computers and video game consoles can be used occasionally for family playtime, but at this age, playing on a console alone can quickly become repetitive and compulsive. “Before six, owning a console or a personal tablet comprises more disadvantages than advantages,” said the Academy. Obviously, every child is different and this advice should be heeded according to each child’s personality, however time spent on computers and consoles should be strictly regulated

6 to 10 - Learning self-regulation
Primary school is the best place to start educating children about screens and screen time. Teaching children about self-regulating from an early age is essential. According to Serge Tisseron, it’s always better to give children a fixed amount of daily screen time, and teach them to use this time responsibly. At home, parental control software on computers is necessary but insufficient. Children and parents must trust each other. Using screens and digital tools at home or at school can be a valuable education tool – for example with reading and math programs.

12 and above - Beware of nighttime sessions
“Digital tools are known to efficiently put the brain in a hypothetico-deductive mode,” said the Academy. A teenager can rapidly explore all the possibilities open to him or her – especially on the Internet – and practice his or her deduction skills. In other words, making good use of screens can help teenagers learn how to control their emotions, thoughts, actions and help their decision-making abilities.

On another level, an over-exclusive use of the Internet turns teenagers into “zapping” machines – where the thinking process becomes too quick, superficial, fluid and it hinders their memory and synthetic skills. An inability to focus, a child that always feels sleepy and starts to fall behind at school might be the first signs of nocturnal use of electronic devices. Clear ground rules must be established. It is important to talk to teenagers about what he sees and does in front of the screen, to help them develop critical thinking. Since they haven’t reached brain maturation yet, education and parental control are essential.

In regard to video games, a distinction must be made between excessive use and clever use of consoles. It is necessary to pick the right games. An “interesting” game associates sensorial and motor interactions with cognitive and narrative interactions. Social networks can also be a problem for teenagers, especially in a context of loneliness and low self-esteem.

Sign up for our weekly Global Life newsletter now


Be a part of the conversation. Click to show comments
About this article source Website: http://www.lemonde.fr/

This leading French daily newspaper Le Monde ("The World") was founded in December 1944 in the aftermath of World War II. Today, it is distributed in 120 countries. In late 2010, a trio formed by Pierre Berge, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse took a controlling 64.5% stake in the newspaper.

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin


By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.