Life Style

From 2 years old, children far too present in front of the screens



“No screen for 3 years”. This rule, shared by the Academies of Science, Medicine, Arcom or even National Education is undermined by the results of an unpublished study by Insee. Published Tuesday, November 22, it testifies to the strong presence of television, computers and tablets in the daily life of the little ones.

The study carried out on a panel of 18,000 children born in 2011 reveals that only 12% of 2-year-old children are kept away from screens, and that, from this age, television is part of their lives. almost all of them (83%).

Television remains central

Consumption of a single screen (that of television) decreases over the ages in favor of a multi-screen world. Thus, 27% of 2-year-old children use computers and tablets, and 20% a smartphone. At the age of 5 and a half, they are respectively 54% and 26% to be users.

Television remains central, and is introduced more quickly than other screens. Five-and-a-half-year-old children watch it for an average of 62 minutes a day, compared to 23 minutes for tablets and computers and 7 minutes for smartphones. In total, they spend an average of 92 minutes a day on screens, compared to 53 minutes at 2 years old.

The use of screens depends on the social characteristics of families, in particular their economic and cultural resources, the place of siblings but also the practices of parents. Children whose mothers or fathers never or rarely use digital screens for their leisure time will turn to screens less than the others.

Trajectories diverge according to economic or cultural capital

The social and cultural context in which children live also affects how the use of digital screens evolves. The more educated mothers are, the less children will watch smartphones, tablets or televisions, and the more the use is controlled.

The trajectories also diverge depending on whether economic or cultural capital dominates. Children from the “upper class intellectual fraction” are more inclined to maintain their distance from screens (40%) than those from the “economic fraction” (33%), who are distinguished by a very present consumption from the age of 2 years.

At this age, the children of the intellectual fractions of the upper classes are thus three times more numerous than those of the working classes not to use screens. At 2 and 5 and a half years old, there are still four to five times more non-user children among children in the upper categories than among children in the least privileged categories.

Link between overexposure to screens and the development of various pathologies

On the importance of the place in the siblings, the youngest are more inclined than the eldest to use the screens. This can be explained in particular by the ripple effect, or even by the greater attention paid by parents to the first-born, due to greater availability.

The study recalls that many studies in medicine, public health and cognitive science have shown links between overexposure to screens and the development of various pathologies. Among them, less good motor skills at school entry, weaker social skills, less language development, poor control of one’s emotions and sleep problems.

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