Children, screens and social networks: what parents should know￼
Smartphones, computers, smartwatches: screens are part of our lives, and they are becoming a growing problem for our children. At the last meeting of the Parents’ Coffee Club, LIFV health specialists presented the challenges related to the use of smart devices in childhood.
Dangers of screens at an early age
It is not always easy to be a parent in the age of intense and hyper-connected life. Sometimes the screens become an easy way to keep children occupied. But the earlier children start using screens, the more they are exposed to health risks: attention and concentration problems, reduced sleep quality and the risk of language delay. A study by Public Health England points out that other health problems appear: children are less happy and much more stressed. They lose self-confidence and develop emotional problems (irritability, aggressiveness, lack of interest in other activities, etc.). In the long term, the excessive use of screens reduces the time spent on physical activities and sports, exposing children to the risk of obesity.
How to protect them?
French psychiatrist Serge Tisseron developed the “3-6-9-12” system. He recommends how to use screens wisely for children from 3 years old: setting limits (time of use, not using screens at the table, etc.), taking an interest in their activities in the digital space, encouraging creative use of smart devices, etc. More information here.
It is true that social networks can facilitate social exchanges and strengthen confidence and self-esteem. However, they can also reduce social life, harm school performance and divert young people from their usual leisure activities.
What should parents know?
We invite you to take a look at the recommendations of the organization “National online safety” on the risks that can be linked to each social network (in English):
Important: If you see signs of cyberbullying involving LIFV pupils, it is important that you inform the school. Relationship problems between children can develop within the school and then continue at home via social networks.
At LIFV, all the teams are mobilized to ensure the moral and emotional safety of the pupils at our school.
Measures taken at school
At LIFV, apart from the screens used for lessons, smartphones and smartwatches are not allowed during school time.
This is a way of putting pupils back at the heart of social interaction, raising their awareness of the excessive use of screens and even combating cyberbullying.
Educational support is provided by our teacher-librarian to help young people learn to use the Internet with caution. Students at Lycée learn to analyze news on the Internet and social networks, to distinguish between different types of fake news and develop constructive critical thinking.
LIFV nurses are working this year on the implementation of psychosocial skills, a fun educational course, to maintain a pleasant school climate, promote self-esteem and success of students.
At LIFV, we teach students how to use smart devices in a way that benefits their development.