Social networks prohibited before 16 years old? | A special commission before deciding, tempers the CAQ

(Saint-Hyacinthe) TikTok and other Instragrams are “virtual pushers” which harm the mental health of young people, according to François Legault. But it leaves it up to a special parliamentary committee to determine whether it is necessary to set a minimum age for access to social networks.

Posted at 1:36 p.m.

Rather than resolving the issue, CAQ activists meeting in general council on Saturday qualified a proposal from the youth wing, limiting themselves to calling for a parliamentary commission to study the establishment of a numerical majority.

Immediately after the adoption of a proposal to this effect, François Legault sent a letter to the leaders of the opposition parties to suggest “the creation of a special transpartisan parliamentary commission on the impacts of screens and social networks on youth health and development. Like the Dying with Dignity commission which focused on end-of-life care and medical assistance in dying.

“We have a huge social problem on our hands” with social networks causing mental health problems among young people. “It’s worrying and it’s scary,” declared François Legault in his closing speech to the general council.

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François Legault

“Of course parents have a responsibility. But society as a whole must do more. We need to do a big thought exercise. I am reaching out to all opposition parties so that we can organize a special, transpartisan parliamentary commission on social networks and screens. »

In a message broadcast on XPQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon recalled that he had unsuccessfully proposed to the government earlier this month the holding of a parliamentary commission on the issue of screen time among young people.

During a press scrum earlier in the day, François Legault said he was “open to taking important actions for social networks”. “The way social media works is to get readers addicted. So it’s a bit like they’re virtual pushers, like drugs and other substances,” he said. He was careful to point out that there are pros and cons to the establishment of a numerical majority.

CAQ activists have also diluted the proposal submitted by the party’s succession commission on the subject. The latter wanted the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) to come out in favor of “the establishment of a digital majority at 16 years of age for opening an account on social networks, as well as rigorous verification to access reserved sites to adults”.

Among the people who spoke, MP Isabelle Lecours spoke out against the proposal, recalling that “people can go see a doctor from the age of 14 without the approval of their parents”. Also opposed to the proposal, an activist from Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré argued that “the government has always said that we will not interfere in what happens in bedrooms” and that “first education » had to be done at home. “There is a responsibility of parents which is being lost and the State is taking a lot of it,” lamented another CAQ member, believing that the issue “is a matter for families”.

A supporter of the proposal said a numerical majority was necessary to “minimize harassment” which affects the mental health of young people. A representative of the Commission de la succession argued that “social networks have many more negative consequences than positive consequences”. “The data shows that distress is increasing among young people,” she added. “It’s time to take back control. »

The proposal was subsequently amended so that the party instead called for the holding of a parliamentary commission on this issue. “We are not completely putting in place the idea of ​​a numerical majority, it would be studied beforehand,” argued an activist.

This amended proposal, which was widely supported, reads as follows: “The Coalition Avenir Québec proposes to ask the government to study in a parliamentary committee the establishment of a numerical majority for minors at an age to be determined for the opening an account on social networks, as well as rigorous verification to access sites reserved for adults. »

The young CAQ members were satisfied with the adoption of this proposal even if it is more nuanced than the one they had proposed.

“I am extremely proud of the next generation of the party, of having made the most debated proposals that I have ever seen at the CAQ,” said the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, during an intervention at the microphone just before the final vote. “Here, we have something that will feed into our next strategy” on the use of screens and the health of young people. This strategy is expected in 2025. The minister wishes to know the conclusions of the commission before presenting it.

CAQ activists also adopted a proposal demanding that screens in schools be used only for educational reasons. Cell phones have been banned in primary and secondary classrooms since 1er January. The government is considering banning them from schools everywhere.



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