Government’s proposed daycare ban on screens is “overkill”, warns blue bloc parties

Devices can be useful, argue politicians and educators’ union, providing they are used in conjunction with healthy activities

Mattias Tesfaye, the children and education minister, yesterday strongly indicated he wants legislation changed to prohibit the use of screens by kids aged zero to six in daycare. 

“Today we have legislation and authorities that promote children’s digitisation and screen use. We need the opposite. As a starting point, I do not believe that children should be exposed to screens in kindergartens and nurseries at all,” he said.

A 2021 study by VIVE revealed that 52 percent of the country’s three-year-olds spend more than an hour a day on TV, computers or tablets – compared to 29 percent in 2009.

Blue bloc: Proposal is “overkill”
Blue bloc parties were quick to condemn the announcement, describing it as “overkill” concerning a problem that doesn’t really exist.

“It is very reasonable to say that small children should not sit with an iPad all day. But they don’t seem to do that either. I have full confidence that they can handle that responsibility well in the daycare institutions,” commented Nye Borgerlige leader Pernille Vermund to DR.

The Opposition Alliance’s blue bloc parties, Konservative and Liberal Alliance, also criticised the minister, claiming that limited exposure prepares children for what is increasingly becoming a digital world.

Are screens a scapegoat?
A report last month carried out by VIVE and EVA claimed that only 13 percent of the country’s daycare institutions could be described as being “good enough”. A further 49 percent were deemed adequate.

And the Konservative children’s spokesperson, Brigitte Klintskov Jerkel, suggested the minister is making screens a scapegoat.

“BUPL and Børns Vilkår do not think there is a problem, so I think that perhaps the minister should address the report that has just come out about the quality of the daycare, rather than perhaps focusing solely on a ban against screens,” she said. 

Usage already limited – 2020 report
Left-bloc parties are in agreement that a reduction in screen time makes sense given the influence of social media over today’s youth.

But according to a 2020 report by VIVE, a co-author of last month’s report, the amount of time spent using iPads and YouTube in daycare institutions is already limited to zero to five minutes a day on average.

Elisa Rimpler, the spokesperson for the BUPL educators union, told TV2 she agrees it would be problematic if “children sat in front of an iPad in daycare, as they should play and make friends and embrace physical activities”.

“But there can be situations – for example in a forest nursery – where they meet an animal and want to find out more about it. On that sort of day, it is natural to use an app and not look it up in a book,” she added.