March 3, 2021

Children and high-tech: all the answers of Dr. Gilles Vallet, child psychiatrist

Do you get a lot of kids addicted to high tech?

Gilles Vallet : The risk of addiction to new technologies does not occur too much in young children, but more in pre-teens and teens. I receive many young people from their parents or teachers. Teens rarely admit that they have an addiction problem. For them, spending time watching TV or video games is a pleasure and they often have trouble understanding their parents' concerns.

What are the possible risks caused by these new technologies?

GV : The real risk comes from television screens, source of hyper stimulation. In the society in which we live, children are often exposed to television in the morning during breakfast. This stimulation is extremely bad because it saturates the concentration abilities of children. Their attention will be diminished as soon as they arrive at school.
The risk is therefore less to develop all the psychomotor skills.

What are the solutions?

GV : Parents to be vigilant and set limits on the use of screens of any kind. They must be in prevention and have the obligation to regulate the use of these tools. The goal is that they bring a "plus" in the good development of children. Parents, who are of another generation, are often fascinated to see that their children develop a taste for these objects. They believe them early and encourage them, they do not see at all the risks due to these tools.

What advice would you give?

V : I would say that we should not stop the use of these tools because they are interesting and bring positive things but we must insist that children, outside of school, have other physical activities, manual, playful or musical. Today, the school pressure is so strong that it is essential that children have extracurricular activities. They are fundamental for the good development of young people.

Do you have fears for future generations?

GV : No I do not worry because the high-tech is a good, a great technological advance. The whole thing is the use we make of it and the excesses we make of it.

A word about teens, is it more worrying?

GV : Many are worried about the addiction of teens for the internet, including Facebook. Some people think that virtual networks isolate young people. I am personally very nuanced about it. It is important today for young people to be part of these networks. A good teenager in his skin will distinguish the virtual and the concrete, especially if he enjoys next activities that bring him pleasure.

To conclude ...

GV : It is good to use these tools but you just have to know how to weight, regulate things. To parents comes the essential role of putting limits. The main thing is to avoid too much sensory stimulation in the morning so that the child arrives in a "good state" at school, to encourage this virtual stimulation after school, around the time of the snack and to avoid the evening so that the emotional dimension returns to calmness in order to prepare the child for a good night's sleep. sleep

Dr. Gilles Vallet, "The child from 6 to 11 years: the age of reason, a crucial step". Pocket - Larousse.

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