Should under-16s have mobile phones?

Calls For Mobile-Free Childhood Gathers Momentum

Photo: Adolescents without mobiles. Credit: Lia_Russy/

Mobile-free adolescents is a parents’ campaign in Spain that aims to stop children getting their first smartphone until they are at least 16 years old.

The group is hoping to banish the mobile phone from early adolescence, joining the initiative of a Catalan family concerned about the impact of the use of phones at an early age.

It started with a message from Laura Moyà and her husband Xim, inviting parents to join a Whatsapp group, set up to, “create a community and try to prevent minors from having access to a mobile phone when they start secondary school”, (at 11 or 12 years of age, when many parents give their children a handset, coinciding with the start of secondary school).

Generation Porn

Laura is the administrator of the group with her husband and explains that her son is, “practically the only one,” in his class who has started school this year without a mobile phone. “The transition to school should not be an excuse,” she says, concerned about the impact that free and uncontrolled access to the internet and various apps can have on children. “We have read different articles and we have seen ‘Generation Porn‘ (a documentary programme that warns about how minors access porn and what impact this has on their way of socialising), which has shown us a reality that we didn’t like at all”.

The mother explains that the group was created as a result of an initiative promoted by a family in the Poble Nou neighbourhood of Barcelona, to, “see what actions could be taken”. From this idea “this group was born”, says Moyá”. The group has already exceeded the maximum number of participants allowed by Whatsapp (1,034 people) and has moved to Telegram.

Mental health report

Dr. María Luisa Mompó, specialist in adolescent mental health at the paediatric department of Quirónsalud Valencia set out a report recently which said: “There is a reality at the moment and that is the appearance of new addictions related to mobiles and new technologies among our children and adolescents. 6 out of every 10 children between the ages of 10 and 15 already have their own mobile phone, with the percentage rising to almost 95% in adolescents over the age of 15”.

The report goes on: “We should not think of mobile phone use only in a negative way but excessive use or abuse of mobile phones generates, although it may seem contradictory, isolation in our children: they relate less with their environment, with their friends and with their relatives, parents and siblings.

What do you think – should children have access to mobile phones? If not, what age do you think is reasonable?

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.