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France Recommends Restrictions on Minors' Technology Use

France has recently joined the ranks of countries considering limitations on children's use of technology. A report from an expert panel recommends that 

  • children under 3 not have any exposure to screens, including television
  • that screens be severely limited until age 6
  • that children under 11 not have cellphones
  • that those under 13 not have smartphones with internet access

The report also proposes banning social media apps for those under 15, with minors over 15 only accessing platforms deemed “ethical.”  The report specifically mentioned Mastodon as an ethical platform, and recommended that TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat not be available to teenagers until they reached 18.

This report is not binding, and it remains uncertain which recommendations lawmakers will implement.  President Macron, who commissioned the panel, has not commented on its report.

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Any phone given to a child aged between 11 and 13 should be a handset without access to the internet, it said, setting the minimum age at which they should be allowed a smartphone connected to the internet at 13. The report said a 15-year-old should be able to access only what it called “ethical” social media, such as Mastodon. Conventional, mass-marketed, profit-driven social media such as TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat should not be available to teenagers until they reached 18, it found. Teenagers should also receive better education on the science behind the need to get enough sleep.


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