Children should only be allowed to use smartphones from the age of 13. This is what a new study from France demands. Access to social media channels such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok should only be permitted from the age of 18. The backgrounds.

Children should only be allowed to use smartphones from the age of 13. This emerges from a current French study. In addition, minors should also be prohibited from accessing social media such as TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.

Smartphone access for children: Macron calls for new guidelines

According to media reports, President Emmanuel Macron commissioned the study from relevant experts in order to develop new guidelines. He wrote about this in one X-Post: “Determining the correct use of screens for our children at home and in the classroom: that is the aim of the report […]“.

The study strikes a harsh tone. It says that children must be protected from the profit-oriented strategy of the tech world. The industry aims to capture the attention of young people and exploit all forms of cognitive distortion. The intention: to keep children glued to screens, to control them and to monetize them.

In the technology market, children are equated with goods, the report continues. “We want that [die Industrie] knows we've seen what they're doing and we won't let them get away with it.”

No smartphones for children: social media only for ages 18 and up

The study looked at screen use at all ages. It also contains recommendations for the use of telephones and screens in maternity wards. Children under the age of three should also not come into contact with screens – this also applies to television.

The researchers also recommend severely limiting the use of all types of screens for children aged six. From the age of eleven, children could use cell phones, but without internet access. This should only be allowed from the age of 13.

At the same time, the experts recommend that young people only consume “ethical” social media such as Mastodon. Traditional, mass-marketed, profit-driven social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat should only be accessible to those over 18 years old. In this context, teenagers also need to be better informed about why sufficient sleep is scientifically necessary.

Conscious screen use for parents too

The scientists don't want to blame the parents, reports for example The Guardian. They themselves are victims of a powerful tech industry. Instead, they want to help them concentrate on their children, talk to them, eat and play. Adults who scroll on their cell phones while feeding their little ones are also damaging the emotional development of young people. This applies overall to households in which a television is constantly running in the background.

Screens also have negative effects on kids’ eyesight, metabolism, intelligence, concentration and cognitive processes. Parental controls on mobile devices are not enough to protect children. It is currently unclear how the French government will deal with the new findings. Macron said in January 2024 that there could be bans and restrictions.

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