The youth wing of the CAQ proposes banning social media for those under 16

The young caquistes propose setting the minimum age at 16 for access to social networks and limiting screen time at school.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) will hold a general council with the theme “Quebec in Change” on May 25 in Saint-Hyacinthe.

Its youth commission will propose imposing a numerical majority. The idea, suggested by the Parti Québécois on May 2, was brushed aside by Prime Minister François Legault.

“Since the advent of the Internet, the preferred approach has been that of laissez-faire. However, we are now aware of the risks,” we can read in the young CAQ members’ proposal book.

“There is growing evidence that social media poses numerous risks to the mental health of young people, particularly pre-teens aged 11 to 15 and young girls. »

“They also present risks in terms of their security, with cases of luring, extortion and dangerous influences online, such as incitement to suicide, regularly making headlines,” we add.

In these circumstances, the young Caquistes propose “the establishment of a digital majority at 16 years old for opening an account on social networks”.

In an interview Thursday, the president of the youth wing, Aurélie Diep, a teaching student, recognizes that this proposal goes further than what is done in France and Florida, for example.

The new Florida law will prohibit those under 14 from opening an account on a social network.

“In Quebec, to have a driving license, it’s 16 years old, to decide whether to continue or drop out of school, it’s 16 years old, so there is a certain maturity that is acquired by people of this age – there,” underlines Ms. Diep.

In an open letter published Thursday, she deplores being part of a “guinea pig” generation.

“It is time that we start treating social media for what they are: addictive products, just like alcohol, cannabis and gambling,” she maintains.

“It has become necessary to set the minimum age at 16 […] and to apply it rigorously, in particular using technologies already used by web giants,” she adds.

A sign that he may have changed his mind, Prime Minister Legault shared Ms. Diep’s open letter on his social networks on Thursday.

Cell phone at school

In addition, the youth wing of the CAQ wishes to better regulate the use of screens at school “so that it is strictly educational in nature”.

“Screens are increasingly omnipresent in Quebec schools,” they note.

“Despite the recent ban on cell phones in class, we see that students still use them in common areas, as well as their tablets and computers in class. »

“This time spent on screens constitutes an obstacle to the socialization of young people, essential to their good development, particularly during adolescence. »

The next generation of the CAQ claims to be witnessing a “questioning of the beneficial role of screens in class, which often constitute a source of distraction and harm concentration”.

She also emphasizes that overexposure to screens at a young age “harms children’s development”.

“Limit screen time at school […] represents a first step in reducing this growing exposure and promoting the educational success of all young people,” we argue.

The youth commission also proposes carrying out “rigorous checks” of the age required to access sites reserved for adults (pornographic sites, games of chance).

She also wishes to “put in place measures to protect the right to image, privacy and reputation of minors online in Quebec”.

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