France has a love-hate relationship with its digital devices

Jan 24, 2013
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lovehateThere’s always a vigorous debate about whether digital devices and technology in general are a net-positive or net-negative for society. Obviously at the Rude Baguette, we fall firmly in the net-positive camp, however, it’s worth taking a look at the concerns of the other camp. In particular, France’s psychology community, which has grown more concerned in recent years about the effect of digital devices on society.  France’s Psychologies magazine conducted a study in conjunction with the IFOP examining the impact of digital devices on the French.  What they found was that there’s an increasingly complicated love-hate relationship between the French and their devices.

It’s evident in the study that the French are highly concerned about the increasing presence of digital devices in their daily lives as approximately 71% believe that too much exposure can have a detrimental impact on human interaction.  France’s psychology community apparently agrees with this thinking as 50 of its leading psychological health experts are working to raise awareness about the risks of digital device overuse.  The risks the group have highlighted include fatigue and stress resulting from a permanent ‘hyper-socialization’.  They stress that the mind needs time to rest and relax, and that overexposure to too much technology prevents people from getting this much needed downtime.  As a result, the psychology community is calling on manufacturers, French citizens, and politicians to work together to develop some guiding principles on ‘good usage’ of new technologies.

While the French worry about the effects of their own use, they’re particularly concerned about the all-important role digital devices play in the lives of their kids.  We’ve discussed this topic before and although it appears that they may have some cause to worry, a recent report by France’s Academy of Sciences “L’Enfants et les écrans” (‘children and ‘screens’) did conclude that exposure to digital devices can benefit children as long as their use is properly managed by their parent(s) or another adult.

At the same time, the survey also found that the majority, roughly 59%, of the French find themselves more and more dependent on their digital devices.  So, though they may be worried, as with many other nationalities on the planet, the French too seem incapable of putting those pesky little devices down.