A guide for parents of children addicted to screens

News 31 March, 2018
  • Photo Jean-François Desgagnés
    The director of the centre Cyber-Aide, Cathy Tetreault, often meet young people in a school environment. Seen here in the company of students of the primary school, the Riverbank, Quebec city. With her book, she gives the bases to govern the use of screens.

    Daphnée Dion-Viens

    Saturday, 31 march 2018, 00:00

    Saturday, 31 march 2018, 00:00

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    How much time can my child spend in front of a screen ? How do I make my teen plays less video games ? The speaker Cathy Tetreault publishes a guide to help parents better manage the use of screens in the lives of their children, by focusing on the dialogue rather than confrontation.

    Director of the centre Cyber-Aide, Cathy Tetreault has met over the years many poor parents, who do not know how to manage the use of their children’s video games or social networks. “With this book, I give them bases, and I tell them how to apply them, depending on the context,” says the author of the book Young people connected, parents informed, which will be launched in the coming days.

    For parents who are wondering how many hours a child can spend in front of a screen each day, Ms. Tétreault indicates that the response… is not so simple. It all depends on the impact of video games or social networks in a young person’s life.

    Some kids can’t “gamer” on week nights because video games are so exciting to them that they will not be able to sleep well, ” she says. In contrast, others could play every night, but only after homework and other activities are made, if there is no negative impact in their daily routine.

    Balanced life

    The important thing is to have a balanced life, ” said Ms. Tetreault. “The objective, this is not a ban or demonize the screens. Yes, it’s fun to play video games or go on social networks. But it also requires that young people learn social skills, which develop only in real life. We can’t do it all the time living in the virtual ; we must learn how to interact well with people, ” she says. At home, the parents, but also brothers and sisters, elders should be role models for the little ones, ” adds the speaker.

    Without falling necessarily into the cyberdépendance, youth may develop problem behaviors to force to have the nose riveted to their screen. If your teen is moving away from his friends, succeeds less well at school, lack of sleep or is more irritable, it is probably that it is time to tighten the rules surrounding the use of screens in his life every day.

    In addition to putting limits on the time spent online, parents must also consider what makes their child in front of a screen. Applications or video games he uses are appropriate for his age ? Is it that my child knows the safe behaviours to adopt online ? Share there intimate pictures or personal information ? “The level of security, there are basic rules to abide by,” says dr. Tétreault.


    This guide also includes guides to intervene in cases of cyberbullying, and a whole section on sexuality on the internet, which deals with cyberagressions, sexting and pornography.

    These issues are present in the lives of young people, and the best thing to do to counteract the negative impacts is to talk with his child, recalls Cathy Tetreault.


    • Use the timer to manage the time spent in front of screens.
    • Ask the older children (brothers and sisters) to set boundaries and play the role model to the little ones.
    • Accept the crisis that you made your child when you remove the screens.
    • Avoid screens at the table or in the bedroom. The television should be turned off when no one is listening.

    Source : Young, connected, parents informed, author Cathy Tetreault, editions Noon thirty.