23 October, 2018

A week ago I did as probably many of you, I looked Bye, Alexandre Taillefer's touching and relevant documentary on youth mental health and cyber-addiction.  I was extremely moved, difficult to do otherwise. In me, mother of 5 young children and professional of education, emotions were jostling. It must be said that here, under our roof, discussions about screens, tablets and phones are frequent. Our couple consists of a college literature teacher with no Facebook account or cell phone, and a business teacher who runs an online store and uses social media to promote it. All around us are young children who love to use tablets to entertain, play or listen to videos. These questions often come up: what place should we give to these electronic devices? Is that adequate? Are we stimulating our children enough? And the most important question in my opinion: are we good role models for our children? Do they too often see us using these electronic objects (for good and bad reasons)? Every time, I tell myself that if it happens at home, it happens in the majority of families. We live in the same era in the same society and inevitably live in similar situations. UNPLUG TO BETTER CONNECT? It is often said that childhood passes too quickly. That we have not seen the last few years pass, that we have not seen our children grow up. Are we really with them when we share time together during the famous 5 to 8, those three little hours (or even only two in some) where everyone is at home? Technology is insidiously introduced into our lives. This little notification alarm during the fist bath to tell us that someone liked this photo published, this e-mail from the office received in the evening that could not wait until tomorrow and that concerns us during the period of lessons, this funny text of our friend who comes to interrupt our child trying to show us his latest drawing, etc. In short, all these distractions that "disconnect" us too often from our children and from family life. Alexandre Taillefer's work is exceptional in my opinion.  This widely publicized documentary will broaden the debate with the general public and raise awareness.  As a mother and an education professional, I want to support Mr. Taillefer by addressing this issue a little further upstream, that is, from an early age. Of course, it is important to address the mental health problems of these adolescents who have become cyber-dependent. Mr. Taillefer even asked Minister Barrette about this.  But let's not forget that education is an incredible weapon against health problems. It is time to realize that the family and the school must take their rightful place in preventing this problem. One of the most worrying findings in this documentary is that young people are no longer communicating in the same way as they used to. The exchanges of ordain stashed gave way to texting and "chat" much less engaging. It is for this reason, we are told in the documentary, that was created Youhou, a more up-to-date "2.0" version of the Tel-Jeune service. This beautiful initiative, on which several volunteers have worked very hard, will certainly allow several young teenagers to be heard in a totally confidential way in a language that resembles them. That said, as parents of young children, let us be aware that it is important to develop the social skills of our little ones and that a pat on the back, a hug, an understanding tone of voice and a few minutes spent listening can sometimes be more beneficial than emoticons. As parents, it is essential to engage with our children to help them develop good social skills. Let's develop the habit of having moments of exchange with them away from screens, tablets, phones or even TV. Let's give them a taste for discussion and above all try to find their interests (science, sports, music, reading, mechanics, drawing, etc.).  This will give our young people a better chance of developing a healthy and balanced relationship with the screens that are now part of our lives. THE DEFI 5-8 WITHOUT CRANS The Beautiful Combines launch the 5-8 Screenless Challenge. Jase and plays; Discusses and draws; Placote and popotte; Chatty and tinkering... Enjoy these screenless moments with your children to live real life! Do it for your child! Let's unplug to better connect with our little ones and give ourselves time to discover them. Their dreams, their ideas, their precious naivety, their passions. They are there to admire us and just want to know us better. To participate in DEFI 5-8 WITHOUT ÉCRANS, visit our Facebook page and encourage your close friends to do the same. This small gesture has the potential to help us, as a society, to help our marmalade to grow with values and behaviors that will make them teenagers and adults fully aware of the benefits and dangers of screens. It's all about balance.