Alarmed by his own family experiences and the latest scientific data, Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is proposing to address the excessive screen time faced by young people in Quebec. In his opinion, a “real public health problem”. He announced on Sunday that his party would make it one of the priorities of this parliamentary session.
Posted at 9:22 p.m.
“It's not about feeling guilty or making decisions instead of parents,” Paul St-Pierre Plamondon immediately clarified in an interview with La Presse on Sunday. “But as soon as the statistics confirm it [qu’il y a un problème]I think we can mobilize for this. »
The issue of young people's screen time affects the life of the Parti Québécois (PQ) leader, himself a father of three young children. “My professional life is hectic, so I know that when you run out of time or energy, a Paw Patrol or a Caillou will fill the slot,” he emphasizes. “But when you see the impact on young people’s physical and mental health, it’s alarming. »
The 46-year-old adds that his friends are experiencing the same challenges with their own children. Reading the essay Faut que ça move by Pierre Lavoie and Jean-François Harvey, published last September, convinced Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon of the importance of the topic. His political party has decided to make it a hobbyhorse.
The Parti Québécois will therefore make young people's screen time – “a real public health issue” – one of its priorities during this parliamentary session, the PQ leader announced on Facebook on Sunday.
An “interesting” idea, according to Stéphane Villeneuve, an expert in digital integration in schools and professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). “We need digital hygiene to ensure that young people can regulate themselves,” he believes. And parents need to be educated because young people will imitate their parents, who are often on the phone or at the computer. »
Quebec has already adopted a strategy on the use of screens and the health of young people, but the PQ boss believes we need to go further and, above all, faster.
PHOTO EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon
“We should not pretend to know everything about the subject or to want to replace parents, but when it comes to schools and early childhood centers (CPE), the state should be an example,” says Mr St-Pierre Plamondon. He himself says he is surprised that his daughter spends 30 minutes a day in kindergarten, for example watching cartoons.
Not to mention that expanding the health system – psychologists on the public network – will not always be an answer to this problem, the politician adds.
Stéphane Villeneuve finds it particularly interesting that the PQ is making suggestions to solve the problem. “Young people need to socialize during school breaks,” he gives as an example. That they can communicate. Make sure they rediscover the joy of being together. »
The problem can be compared to cigarette addiction, which was targeted in the 1980s, says Paul St-Pierre Plamondon: “We must dare to imagine a Quebec free of cyber addiction and excessive screen time.” »
Proposals from the Parti Québécois to reduce screen time for young people
- May the state and the education system be exemplary, especially by removing screens from classrooms.
- Include content specific to parent and child screen use in the Birth and Grow Guide. and distinguish content and habits that are more harmful to children from those that are more acceptable.
- Consider banning cell phones and tablets during school breaks.
- Ban on screens in daycare centers, subsidized and unsubsidized private daycare centers and in the family sector.
- Much more visible and audible awareness campaigns about the harmful effects of screen exposure on children.
- Require the supplier of a device to offer parents in Quebec the installation of a child safety lock that allows the duration of exposure to be limited.
- Investigate the possibility of establishing a digital majority and forcing social networks to verify the user's age.
- List health risks for young people on the packaging of cell phones and tablets.