French president, Emmanuel Macron to support proposed ban on use of smartphones for under 11s and social media for under 15s across France

French President, Emmanuel Macron will support a proposed ban on the use of smartphones for those under the age of 11 and social media for those under the age of 15 across France.

 

 

Macron is said to be backing the proposals made in a report earlier this year by a panel of experts commissioned by the Elysee Palace amid growing concern over the negative effects of tech and social media use on children and teenagers. 

 

 

The president reportedly entered the issue into his presidential agenda at the beginning of the year.

 

 

The expert panel, which was led by neurologist Servane Mouton and psychiatry professor Amine Benyamina, and also included education, law, and tech experts, delivered its findings to Macron in April.

 

 

It recommended that all children under the age of 11 must not be permitted to use a smartphone, and must not be given a smartphone with access to the internet before age 13.

 

 

Social media apps should be forbidden for anyone under 15, they added, and minors over 15 should only have access to platforms deemed ‘ethical’ – though the report did not specify which platforms would be excluded from such restrictions. 

 

 

There is currently no timeline for new legislation and it is unclear to what extent it would follow the experts’ recommendations.

 

 

The group said any future moves should focus on tightening rules for tech companies.

 

 

‘Those are the ones who are primarily responsible,’ Mouton told a news briefing back in April. 

 

 

 

A UCL study published earlier this month found that the addictive nature of social media platforms rewires teenagers’ brains and may make them more likely to engage in other addictive behaviour.

 

 

The findings, published in the journal PLOS Mental Health, indicate that internet addiction is associated with disrupted signaling in the regions of the brain involved in multiple neural networks.

 

 

Their study, which reviewed 12 separate neuroimaging studies of adolescents displaying heavy internet use, found that when internet-addicted tees engaged in activities governed by the brain’s executive control network – such as behaviour requiring attention, planning, decision-making, and especially impulsivity – those brain regions showed a ‘significant’ disruption in their ability to work together.

 

 

Study co-author Max Chang said: ‘These networks play an important role in controlling our attention, in association with intellectual ability, working memory, physical coordination, and emotional processing.

 

 

‘All of which in turn have an impact on mental health.

 

 

‘Given that adolescent brains are more capable of changing than those of adults, understanding the effects of internet addiction on the brain and behaviour is vital for society as a whole.’

 

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