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Montreal, September 16, 2019 – With an Internet connection rate that increased from 56% to 98% between 2004 and 2017, it is not surprising that screen use is a topic of concern (and tension) in many Quebec households. Even though the attention is often focused on young people and their relationships with screens, a Léger¹ survey conducted in collaboration with the PAUSE team reveals that 75% of parents of adolescents acknowledge that their own Internet use has negative effects on at least one aspect of their lives (physical health, sports and leisure activities, relationships and work).
Putting words into actions
Parents, although often critical of or concerned by the time their teens spend online, would also benefit from taking stock of their own digital habits. Indeed, still according to the survey, they spend on average 3 hours a day online for entertainment purposes. An amount of time which is, surprisingly, not that different from the time their offspring spend online. “Parents have a big influence on their children. To reach a more balanced connectivity at home, there are several concrete steps that can be taken. Setting an example is undoubtedly the most important. Other key strategies to adopt include establishing clear rules, broaching the topic with your children, and adopting an open attitude regarding screens.” says Carolanne Campeau, M.I.T., PAUSE campaign coordinator.
Perception of the effects on health: a double standard
Even though parents are aware of the negative consequences of their Internet use on their daily lives, they seem to be much stricter when it comes to judging the effects of screens on the health of their children. In fact, more than 90% of them believe that their teens’ Internet use has a negative impact on them, a 15% gap compared to the perception of the consequences on their own well-being. Yet, it is important to remember that, although many studies show that young people are more at risk of being affected by the harmful effects associated with hyperconnectivity, the misuse of screens has an impact on everyone’s well-being.
A willingness to change and the tools to succeed
The good news is that 65% of parents would like to reduce the time they spend online and 85% want to improve their digital habits to set a positive example. It is in part to support these parents that the Pauseyourscreen.com site provides information, practical tips and advice to better manage screens while rediscovering the benefits of offline moments. Moreover, it features a fun quiz for youth, which allows them to assess their Internet and screen use. Why not take it as a family? A great opportunity to jumpstart the conversation at home!
PAUSE promotes a balanced use of the Internet in order to prevent the risks associated with hyperconnectivity while still enjoying the benefits of technology. This campaign, developed for young adults, teens and their parents, is an initiative of Capsana made possible with the support of the Quebec government's Secrétariat à la jeunesse and the collaboration of a committee of experts and a support network. To find out more, visit Pauseyourscreen.com.
Capsana is a social enterprise owned by the ÉPIC Foundation, which is associated with the Montreal Heart Institute, and the Fondation PSI. Probably best known to the general public through the annual Health Challenge campaign, its mission is to help individuals take an active role in their health. To find out more, visit capsana.ca.
1. Léger-Capsana survey (2019). Pauseyourscreen.com campaign. Analysis of a post-campaign survey conducted among Quebec parents of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.