The relationship with the screen: a chance for young people during confinement?

Monday 26th of April 2021

As the young people return to distance learning this week, educators are concerned about the repercussions of such a situation, both on the morale of the young people and on their attitude towards screens. Meet Don Adrien, an educator who has been to the Pontlevoy boarding school.

Seminarians also spend time in front of screens

How have the young people you work with experienced the year 2020, marked in particular by total confinement and the suppression of many extra-curricular activities?

The situation is complicated! Beyond the impact of this situation in terms of social fracture and sometimes school desertion for some young people, the many successive confinements have also revealed our addictions. Netflix, social networks, pornography… so many elements which, when we are deprived of sports, social and extra-curricular activities, force us to recreate a semblance of social life in front of our screen. We can’t go to the cinema anymore? No problem, let’s watch Netflix! We can’t go out with our friends? Let’s join them on Tik-Tok or Snapchat or Facebook! We can no longer go out for a drink on the terrace? let’s organise Zoom aperitifs… And by doing this, we think we are escaping from the real world, the real world of our fundamental solitude, for which the screen is a utopian palliative.

Students are increasingly mobilised to learn at a distance thanks to their screens. What are the consequences for them?

Digital learning is certainly an asset for their future integration into society. But the difficulties linked to the over-consumption of screens create new problems, among which I have noticed that :

– Our young people are not as comfortable as we think with digital tools and do not know how to use them properly.

– They are unable to hand in a correctly typed work.

– Large families have not been able to provide access to a computer for as much time as the school requires.

– Many parents have given up on the use of the telephone in the family.

Finally, we are discovering that school is important because it allows real relationships with friends and teachers and that a screen is only an intermediary between two realities that must one day meet because man is a “social animal”!

What solutions do you recommend to find the right balance?

It is important for our young people to maintain the practice of sport, as well as to build relationships of real proximity. We also need to get to the root of the screen problem. It seems to me to be quite simple and no doubt a little humiliating for us adults: we are the first to have a problem with screens and quite unconsciously we transmit this problem to our young people by our bad example. But how can a blind man guide another blind man? Won’t they both fall into a hole?

The issue of screens in particular must become a family effort. It is not because we are adults that we can use our phones all the time. We must have moments of disconnection. Setting an example is essential in education and teenagers are very sensitive to the issue of justice! Finally, and this is fundamental, in all the moments when screens are allowed, we must trust. This is the stumbling block because without trust, there is no education.

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