French village wages war on smartphones as locals vote to ban scrolling in public

12 February 2024, 21:05

French village wages war on smartphones as locals vote to ban scrolling in public
French village wages war on smartphones as locals vote to ban scrolling in public. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

A French village has waged a war on smartphones by banning the act of scrolling in public.

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Villagers in Seine-Porte, in Seine-et-Marne, located south of Paris, will now be unable to scroll on their smartphones in public as part of the mobile crackdown.

The new rules ban everyone within the village limits from walking and scrolling at the same time, as well as browsing while eating in restaurants, cafes, shops and whilst sitting on benches in local parks.

The ban even extends to parents waiting outside the school gates.

The village, whose population amounts to fewer than 2,000 people, went to the polls last week as part of the referendum.

The village of Seine-Porte, south of Paris, has waged a war on smartphones by banning scrolling in public
The village of Seine-Porte, south of Paris, has waged a war on smartphones by banning scrolling in public. Picture: Alamy

Around 277 turned out to vote on referendum day, with 54 percent voting in favour of the new anti-tech measures.

Signs depicting a smartphone with a red line through them can now be seen in the windows of local shops and services, including the village hairdressers, The Guardian reports.

Speaking with the paper on the subject, mother of two Ludivine, 34, who lives in the area, said: “I’m totally in favour of this.”

“Some say it’s an attack on freedoms but I don’t think so. It’s about raising awareness of the impact of phones in our lives.“My one-year-old has zero screens," continued Ludivine.

"My four-year-old has no screens on a school day, and only ever for a short moment while the youngest is napping.

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As part of the vote, villagers also approved a charter for families which restricts children’s screentime.

Those who sign the agreement agree to no screens of any kind in the morning, no screens in bedrooms, as well as no screens before bed or during meals.

If parents sign the agreement, their child, if under the age of 15, will be provide with an old-fashioned handset that allows them access to calls only.

The handsets are set to be handed out by the local town hall.

The smartphone ban in the French town even extends to parents waiting outside the school gates.
The smartphone ban in the French town even extends to parents waiting outside the school gates. Picture: Alamy

"A lot of children and adults are intoxicated by screens – even babies in pushchairs scroll phones.

"This is about replacing that with more human contact. Before I had children, my TV was always on in the background; now I never switch it on.”

Individuals who require directions are encouraged to now ask for directions in place of browsing Google Maps on their smartphone.

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