A hyper-connected generation: decoding
Context and key figures
With an average of 11 screens per household (TV, PCs, consoles, tablets, smartphones), young children and adolescents are increasingly connected, more often than not simultaneously. They experiment and expose themselves in cyberspace. They eagerly adopt new usages, which breed and mutate extremely quickly, such as geolocation, video, and instantaneous exchanges of photos and selfies. So it's up to the adults to alert them to possible abuses and their consequences.
Talk to your child about good practices and how to act and react in cyberspace
Using pseudonyms and not revealing personal info form part of the good practices and the best way of acting and reacting in cyberspace. Establish together with your child the rules to be respected, reflecting the principles you apply in his/her upbringing, such as the timetables that he or she must stick to and the sites, devices and apps allowed, depending on your child's age and usage.
Remind your child that there are rights and obligations that must be respected in the digital world
Children must be reminded that there are rights and obligations that must be respected in the digital world: taking photos/filming videos and then posting them online without the knowledge of the person concerned, illicit downloading of films or music, spying via a webcam, hacking, making defamatory remarks online, threats or discrimination – these are unlawful practices. As the legal guardian of your child, you are responsible for his/her acts and sanctions may be imposed on you. Conversely, if your child is victimised, you should report this and be sure to keep all supporting evidence. Malicious or criminal acts such as cyber-bullying and cyber-violence (so-called "video lynching" or "happy slapping"), paedophilia, sextortion, incitement to racial hatred and terrorism are punishable by law.
Limit the time spent looking at screens, especially in the case of very young children
You can't always be watching over your child, so you need to know that tools exist enabling you to configure the time slots for access to wi-fi in the home. To reassure you that your child is looking only at content suitable for his/her age group, there are also parental control tools that you can activate on all your screens: TV, game console(s), PC, smartphone, tablet.
Adopt good practices
To avoid deleterious effects on the health of your child (visual fatigue, migraines, tendonitis, neck pain or back pain), you should choose an ergonomic device offering an appropriate level of visual and hearing comfort.
When your child is making calls from a mobile phone, make sure that he or she systematically uses a hands-free kit, to limit exposure to radio waves. In addition, if he/she listens to music on his/her mobile, advise him/her to wear headphones and to adjust the volume to a level which does not cause irreversible harm to his/her hearing. This will enable your child to remain more alert to what is going on around him/her, in particular other people coming and going. Lastly, as advised by e-Enfance and the Réseau Morphée, make sure that no lit-up screen is left switched on near to your child's bed at night; this will help him/her to sleep better. And for reasons of hygiene, remember to clean the screens in the household on a regular basis.
Avoid unpleasant surprises when the bill arrives
You will doubtless be aware that it is now possible to buy things online from a social network. To prevent spending limits from being exceeded, youngsters should be encouraged to check their consumption at regular intervals from the customer area, especially when travelling or calling abroad, and to keep an eye on their use of games or apps which are not free of charge. Where necessary, you should activate, from your customer area, the options of capping or blocking certain expenditure, especially the cost of premium services such as Internet+, SMS+, MMS+; and you should install a blocking code for the purchase of apps.