Child Hyperconnectivity in France: What Lessons for Africa?

Child Hyperconnectivity in France: What Lessons for Africa?
Node read time
2 minutes

In France, the hyperconnectivity of children has become a major concern for parents, educators, and policymakers. In response to this phenomenon, a commission specially appointed by President Emmanuel Macron has delivered a comprehensive report recommending strict measures to regulate young people's use of screens. This hundred-page report highlights the harmful effects of screens, particularly on sleep, sedentary behavior, and even myopia in children.

The commission's experts underscore the dangers of social media, which they identify as risk factors for depression and anxiety, especially among youths with pre-existing vulnerabilities. They also point out the alarming level of children's exposure to inappropriate content, such as pornography and violence.

Given these findings, the report recommends a total ban on screen use for children under three years and very limited and supervised access up until six years of age. For mobile phones, it is suggested to prohibit their use until the age of 11, and to only allow non-internet-capable phones until the age of 13. Beyond this age, use should be strictly regulated, with a gradual opening to "ethical" social networks.

These recommendations are particularly relevant as they come at a time when the impact of screens on children's neurological development does not have consensus within the scientific community. However, they raise the question of the transferability of such measures to the African context, where the technological and social dynamics may differ significantly.

In Africa, access to digital technologies is rapidly growing, and with it, the challenges related to the hyperconnectivity of the youth. Although infrastructures and socio-economic contexts vary widely from one country to another, the lessons from the French report could inspire similar policies tailored to local African realities. It becomes crucial for African countries to consider tailored strategies to regulate screen use among the youth, taking into account both the benefits of technology for education and its potential risks to children's well-being.

Thus, while drawing inspiration from French initiatives, African policymakers might consider contextual approaches that integrate awareness, regulation, and education of families on the judicious use of digital technologies.

Authored by
Simon Adjatan

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