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French town says non to scrolling

by on23 February 2024

Phone users are empty-headed food trough wipers

The French town of Seine-Port, in the Seine-et-Marne area south of Paris, with fewer than 2,000 people, has voted for a Phonexit.

The referendum restricts smartphone use in public, banning adults and children from scrolling on their devices while walking down the street, sitting with others on a park bench, in shops, cafes or eating in restaurants and while parents wait for their children in front of the school gates.

The village has approved a charter for families on children’s use of screens: no screens in the morning, no screens in bedrooms, no screens before bed or during meals. If parents of teenagers sign a written agreement not to give their child a smartphone before age 15, the town hall will provide the child with an old-fashioned handset for calls only.

A total of 277 people turned out to vote – about 20 per cent of the electoral register – with 54 per cent in favour of the charter.

Seine-Port mayor Vincent Paul-Petit of the rightwing party Les Républicains will now write a municipal decree on smartphone use, the first of its kind in France.

“I want to preserve public spaces from the smartphone invasion. It’s not about banning all phones; it’s about proposing that people abstain from getting out their smartphones to scroll social media, play a game or watch videos in public places, which we want to preserve for social life,” he said.

 “Teenagers walking down the street almost all have their phone in their hand … I understand that the word ‘ban’ can offend some people. But what is important is opening up a debate,” Paul-Petit said.


Last modified on 23 February 2024
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