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Dissabte, 20 abril 2024
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Mobile-free zones – How a parent initiative led to the restriction of phones in Catalan schools

In January 2024, the Catalan government joined other European countries in the fight to regulate the use of mobile phones by children and teenagers.

A new set of regulations restricting the use of mobile phones in Catalan primary and secondary schools starting from the 2024/2025 academic year saw the light of day.

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But the idea behind the regulations didn’t come from the Catalan politicians themselves, but from the parent initiative Adolescència Lliure de Mòbil, A Phone-free Adolescence, which started in the Barcelona neighborhood of Poblenou in November 2023, and soon spread to other parts of the Catalan capital, then the rest of Catalonia, and then all of Spain.

Parents and experts alike are concerned that the early use of cell phones and the easy access to social media could affect children’s mental health and cognitive development.

The new rules will mean that the use of mobile phones will be completely banned for school children in Catalan public primary schools, while older children in secondary school will still be able use them in certain circumstances, with permission of teachers.

Lea Beliaeva Bander is joined by reporter Oriol Escudé Macià to talk about what the new regulations mean and why some experts are discouraging children from using smartphones.

We will hear from Lluna Porta, one of the spokespeople for Adolescència Lliure de Mòbil about how the group got started.

José Ramón Ubieto, a clinical psychologist and author of ¿Adictos o amantes? (Addicts or Lovers?), offers advice on how to reduce phone time for children and adults alike.

This week’s Catalan phrase is ‘bufar i fer ampolles’. Literally, ‘to blow and make bottles’, it’s used to express something that’s easy to do, similar to the English phrase ‘piece of cake’.

Get in touch with the podcast team: [email protected].

Listen to more episodes of Filling the Sink below or find out more here.

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