By Linda Hall •
Published: 10 Feb 2024 • 11:17
SCREENTIME A French village hopes to wean the young from their smartphones
Photo credit: Pixabay/Nature Addict
If you visit Seine-Port, try not to walk down the street with your nose in your phone.
This picturesque village with a population that barely reaches 2,000 recently voted in a mini-referendum to restrict smartphone use in public places.
It’s time to return to face-to-face communication and reduce the amount of time that people, and particularly Seine-Port’s children, spend on their phones, villagers decided.
Whether the vote entirely represented local thinking is open to doubt, as only 277 people – approximately a fifth of those on the electoral roll – actually voted. Of those, 54 per cent were in favour of the proposed Screen-free Charter.
Seine-Port’s mayor Vincent Paul-Petit is currently setting out the new guidelines, recommending that phones and other devices are not used while waiting at the school gates, inside shops, strolling down the street or at large gatherings.
The police cannot stop or fine people looking at screens in the street as there are no nationwide laws regulating smartphones. The Seine-Port charter is simply guidance for limiting their use and encouragement to scroll less.
Villagers also supported a charter on mobile use for children, with no screen time at all in the morning and none in bedrooms, before bed or at mealtimes.
Meanwhile, the town hall will provide what is now known as a “dumbphone”, used only to make calls, for children whose parents sign a written agreement not to give them a smartphone until they reach 15.
“It’s not about banning all phones,” Paul-Petit told the media. “It’s about proposing that people abstain from getting out their smartphones to scroll through social media, play a game or watch a video in public places, which we want to preserve for social life.”
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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It’s about time someone started waking up to the fact that smartphones and social media are destroying our world.
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