Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: YAMIL LAGE / AFP 17:39 p.m., November 28, 2023

In Catalonia, parents of students gathered a few weeks ago to denounce the ubiquity of smartphones in the hands of young Spaniards, as part of the "Adolescence without a Mobile" movement. This movement has spread so much in the country that the issue has become political in Spain.

To paraphrase a song by Claude François, "the phone is crying" in schools in Catalonia, Spain. A movement dubbed by the Spanish press "Adolescència lliure de mòbil" ("Adolescence without a mobile phone", in English) quickly became known throughout the country. Europe 1 takes stock of what is becoming a social phenomenon on the other side of the Pyrenees.

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Where does this movement come from?

Parents of Barcelona pupils are behind the "Adolescence without a mobile phone" movement in Catalonia, as reported by Courrier international. In conversations on WhatsApp and Telegram, these parents said they were worried about "the growth of uncontrolled use of social networks and the internet".

They came together last September to denounce an unspoken rule in Spain: teenagers receive a mobile phone when they enter middle school, around the age of 12, according to Libération. The Spanish Institute of Statistics reports that almost 70% of minors own a smartphone, the daily points out.

To what extent?

According to Franceinfo, this citizens' movement spread in a few days throughout Spain. So much so that the subject has become political. The regional parliament of Barcelona has taken up the matter and could vote for a law against addictions, including smartphone addiction. This collective has also received support from the Spanish Data Protection Agency and the Madrid Medical Association. At the same time, parents have organised demonstrations to get MPs to tackle the issue head-on.

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What is its purpose?

Parents believe that the age of 12, which is equivalent to entering secondary school for young Spaniards, is too early to offer a smartphone. Instead, they recommend waiting until the teenager is 16 years old to grant this precious sesame, which could therefore become the subject of many political debates in Spain.