Quebec launches a screen break campaign | CTV News

Quebecers are invited to put away their cell phones, tablets and other screens on Sunday to participate in the 24 hour break for disconnection.

The objective, for this fourth year, is to become aware of the place that screens take in our lives and to rebalance our digital habits.

Young people aged 16 to 29 are particularly concerned and a competition with a $1,000 scholarship is offered.

They can choose to go 24 hours without screens for leisure or only without social networks, video games or streaming.

Pause’s youth coordinator, Carolanne Campeau, explains that the purpose of the project is to prevent the risks associated with hyperconnectivity.

“We can see it as a social context we live in that pushes us to connect more, as much as possible, at all times,” she said. “And that has its benefits, but also its risks and possible negative impacts.”

Consequences of hyperconnectivity include vision problems, postural pain, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess weight.

“But the psychological aspect, I think, is what is very present in young people,” said Campeau, who is also a lecturer at the University of Sherbrooke.

For example, a person may have to compare themselves through the use of social networks, which can have an impact on their psychological health, especially with stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.

According to a Léger survey of 752 Quebecers aged 18 to 24, 89% of respondents would like to reduce the time they spend on the Internet.

“They themselves see the impact on their physical and psychological health, as well as on their performance in school and the quality of their sleep,” Campeau said.

Additionally, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say they log in automatically.

“It’s no coincidence,” the coordinator said. “There are people behind the screens, developers, who study human behavior and make sure that we develop this kind of reflex. The time we spend online is money for them.”

According to a study by the Direction régionale de la santé publique de Montréal in 2019, using screens for more than four hours a day for leisure is associated with higher levels of psychological distress, poorer physical health, sleep disturbances as well as higher levels of dissatisfaction in several areas of life, such as relationships and finances.

The purpose of the 24-hour break is to regain control of screen use.

“We only have 24 hours in a day, so if we spend most of that time on screen activities, we end up displacing other types of interests or passions that we might have,” said Campeau.

On Sundays, she suggests planning an activity, something you haven’t done in a while, like a hike or a board game night.

“It’s about trying to see what we’ve put aside that we can put back into our lives,” she said.

Anyone can sign up for the 24-hour screen-free challenge on the site, an initiative of the social organization Capsana, funded by the Quebec government.

The website also has resources for parents on hyperconnectivity.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on November 19, 2022.

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