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The PQ wants to limit screen time among young people

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Overexposure to screens has a demonstrated impact on the development of cognitive abilities, on health, particularly vision problems, and on attention and behavior problems in young people, according to the PQ.

Caroline Plante – The Canadian Press in Quebec

March 28, 2024

  • Quebec

The government of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) rejected by 70 votes to 30, Thursday, the motion of the Parti Québécois (PQ) on the overexposure of young people to screens calling for the tabling of a digital action plan by the government of by June, for implementation from the next school year. The CAQ recalls that there already exists a Quebec strategy on the use of screens 2022-2025.

The troops of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (PSPP) invited parliamentarians to take note of a new Australian study which confirms the harmful effect of screens on the development of young children.< /p>

The party also highlighted that a longitudinal study by the Institut de la tourisme du Québec demonstrated a correlation between exposure to screens at a young age and academic performance in primary school.

Overexposure to screens has a demonstrated impact on the development of cognitive abilities, on health, particularly vision problems, and on attention and behavior problems in young people, according to the PQ .

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He asked that the National Assembly note that many countries have taken action, including France, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, to correct this problem.

The motion affirmed that the overexposure of young people to screens represents a public health issue, and that the Digital Action Plan in education and higher education, expired in 2023, is insufficient.

Consequently, she asked the government to submit a new and improved action plan “to better regulate the exposure of young people to screens before the end of the current period of parliamentary work”.

After the vote, Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon deplored the attitude of the CAQ which accepts, according to him, that Quebec remains in “wait-and-see mode while a bunch of other countries [ …] take responsibility.”

He recognized that there is a Quebec Strategy on the use of screens and the health of young people, but argued that it refers to the education action plan, which expired in 2023.

“For me, it’s a subject that saddens me and that appeals to me more because these are children whose development and health are really affected,” he said. he declared.

Ontario is suing, Quebec should do the same, according to PSPP.

“Learning Crisis”

Along the same lines, the PQ leader encouraged the Quebec government to imitate the four Ontario school boards which are suing the parent companies of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

The lawsuits claim that the platforms were designed for compulsive use, and that they have changed the way children think, behave and learn, leaving teachers and schools to deal with the consequences.

They add that students are experiencing an attention, learning and mental health crisis due to the prolific and compulsive use of social media.

“The impact of compulsive social media use among students is placing significant strain on the limited resources of all four school boards,” the school boards said in a news release Thursday.

They are seeking damages of more than $4 billion for disruption to student learning and the education system.

The allegations contained in the lawsuits filed in the Ontario Superior Court have not been proven. Tonya Johnson, a spokesperson for Snap, told The Canadian Press that Snapchat helps its users stay in touch with their friends.

“This morning, Ontario school boards are suing Meta, Snapchat and TikTok for exactly the reasons that I named yesterday in the House,” declared Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon at a press briefing. .

According to him, the Quebec government should follow in the footsteps of the Ontario school boards.

“We should go there,” he said. It reminds me strangely of the first lawsuits against tobacco companies, when we woke up to the fact that it was habituation through nicotine that led to people's deaths.

“There, we have a very very addictive product, which targets young people who should be protected, […] and which leads to mental health problems, physical health problems, anxiety and problems very serious problems of democracy in our society. So yes, we should consider continuing. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116