Olga R. Sanmartín Madrid


Updated Wednesday, February 21, 2024-19:21

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More than 100 personalities from the world of business, universities or science have signed a humanist manifesto where, among other measures, they call for establishing "a moratorium" on the "indiscriminate introduction of technology in schools below of a certain age", as well as limiting the use of mobile phones by children and adolescents.

The signatories of the so-called

OFF Manifesto

warn of "a profound deterioration in both the attention capacity and the mental health of the population in general, and more especially of young people, which is accompanied by an increase in the feeling of loneliness and isolation."

That is why they also demand training actions aimed at teachers and parents to "make them aware of the risks to which young people are exposed", more courses on programming and the operation of algorithms and reinforcement of research that analyzes the cognitive effects of screens. .

The text, presented this Wednesday, advocates "regaining control" over the machines. Its promoter, the entrepreneur

Daniel Hidalgo

, author of

Anestesiados. Humanity under the rule of technology

and a master's degree in Sociology from the University of Cambridge, explains that "the objective of the manifesto is to draw the attention of the authorities and citizens regarding the critical point we are reaching in our relationship with technology digital".

"We are not technophobes, but, in the end, if clear limits are not established, digital technology ultimately becomes our enemy. It is the human being who uses the technology, not the technology that the human being uses," he emphasizes.

The new 'no smoking'

And he sets the example of young people. "More and more studies establish a direct correlation between the use of


and mental health problems. These problems have skyrocketed around the world, and that is why we call for drastic regulation of access to these devices. What if "Would the ban on


and social networks for minors under a certain age become the new

No Smoking

?" he reflects. And it cites a study carried out by the

Sapiens Lab


that indicates that young adults who received their first phone at age 18 have more robust mental health than those who started using it at age 14.

But his proposal does not stop only at delaying the delivery of the first mobile phone, but the manifesto proposes limiting the use of screens in classrooms. "A positive relationship between digitalization and learning has not been established, but enormous amounts of money have been invested in classrooms. Forcing children to go to screens to do tasks that they could do by hand, when we have seen what As beneficial as taking notes on paper is, it contributes to the unlearning of basic cognitive skills, in addition to complicating the lives of students, teachers and parents," he points out.

"I am very much in favor of technology as a tool in schools when it amplifies the abilities of students, but there has to be a basis related to the transmission of knowledge that technology cannot replace. And the way of learning and debating as citizens does not "can be replaced by what requires human interaction, knowledge without devices and a deep understanding of people. There must be spaces where one is able to speak, reflect, think and create knowledge without technology," reflects the EL MUNDO columnist.

José Ignacio Torreblanca

, one of the signatories.

The manifesto is signed at a general level by

Adolescència Lliure de Mòbils

, a Catalan association with 10,000 families in favor of restricting


use in adolescence. Also by the president of the

European Association for the Digital Transition


Ana Caballero

, one of the promoters of the State pact that is being attempted to restrict the use of screens and which has already materialized in an autonomous agreement to restrict mobile phones in schools and institutes throughout Spain.

"The human being must be the center"

"I have signed the manifesto because technology always has to respect human beings, and I am concerned about the conditioning of our choices through predictive models that use our data and the discrimination and biases linked to the application of artificial intelligence. Like the manifesto, I defend regulation for the protection of the individual. The human being must take precedence and be the center of regulation when we talk about technology," says Caballero.

Among the signatories there are many teachers, university professors, educational counselors and representatives of parents' associations, as well as psychologists, neuroscientists and psychiatrists. There are also technologists, such as Professor Juan

José Casares

, founding director of the first supercomputing center in Spain, or the Artificial Intelligence researcher

Arnaud Billion


The former ministers

Jordi Sevilla


Narcis Serra


César Antonio Molina


Tomás de la Quadra-Salcedo

and the former politicians

José María Lasalle


Juan Moscoso del Prado

also support a manifesto that F

ederico Mayor Zaragoza

, former director general of UNESCO, has also signed.

, and which is supported by the financial world, among others, by the CEO of Atresmedia,

Javier Bardají,

and the president of CaixaBank,

José Ignacio Gorigolzarri.

Digital disconnection

The manifesto also claims the right to digital disconnection, demands the introduction of the OFF functionality in technological devices and demands protocols that validate the ethical adequacy of the algorithms used by companies and governments.

It also seeks to prohibit microtargeted advertising, which allows personal data to be used to sell citizens products on demand, and calls for "constitutional and transnational protection of neurorights", understood as "the prohibition of access to our neuronal activity." and collect your data with the possibility of interfering with our mental activity.

"Our individual and collective dependence on digital infrastructures constitutes a vulnerability that can also be exploited for malicious purposes - criminal, terrorist or ideological - paralyzing, destroying or damaging elements critical to our existence," the signatories warn.