Spanish neuropsychologist: Complete ban on school phones 

Should phones be banned altogether in Schools?

Image of children using mobile phones. Credit: Ground Picture/

The ban on phones in school has been going on for some time, but one expert has also highlighted the threat of health issues for younger ones.

At a recent discussion entitled ‘Digital Health and Education: Challenges and Opportunities in the Child and Youth Population’, held at the Universitat Abat Oliba CEU (UAO CEU), a bold stance was taken against the use of mobile devices in education.

The impact of screen time on development

Marina Fernandez, a neuropsychologist and professor at the UAO CEU, along with being a spokesperson for the Mobile-Free Adolescence (ALM) movement, has vehemently advocated for a ‘total restriction’ on mobile phones within Secondary Education (students aged 12 to 16).

Her recommendations were made during an event at the UAO, emphasising the postponement of digital device usage ‘until cognitive functions are fully developed.’

She notes that screen exposure hinders the development of the frontal lobe—the brain’s last to mature area critical for higher executive functions like attention, decision-making, inhibition, self-control, and emotional regulation.

Fernandez further advises against any screen use until the age of eight to protect developing attentional control, which matures around six or seven years old, as complex information processing doesn’t commence until the age of ten.

Digital devices in education

The debate extends to digital devices’ role in educational settings, which, according to Fernandez, are primarily designed to captivate attention rather than facilitate learning.

She argues for their extremely limited use in schools, advocating for their application only when ‘the how and why are very justified.’

Supporting this view is Francisco Villar, a psychologist specialising in suicidal behaviour from the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital in Barcelona, he too welcomes the Generalitat’s Education Department’s initiative to ban mobile phones in schools.

‘The department’s already done his part,’ he remarks, suggesting that families now need to take the discussion forward, proposing that the best approach is to withhold mobile phones from children until they reach the age of 18.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • John Parkinson

      04 February 2024 • 12:25

      Spain does,the U.K. just talks and sets up another committee to investigate mobile phones in schools .
      Let’s not forget the parents who shove a phone in children’s hands ,even when pushing in the pram ,just to keep them quiet.
      Perhaps it’s just Spanish parents prefer to talk to children and find time for them and value their childhood.

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