Fighting the smartphone ‘invasion’: the French village that voted to ban scrolling in public

Seine-Port is introducing restrictions on phone use in streets, shops and parks – but young people say there’s little else to do

A picture of a smartphone with a red line through it serves as a warning in the window of a hairdresser’s shop in a French village that has voted to ban people scrolling on their phones in public. “Everyone is struggling with too much screen time,” said Ludivine, a cardiology nurse, as she had her hair cut into a bob, leaving her phone out of sight in her bag. “I voted in favour, this could be a solution.”

Seine-Port, in the Seine-et-Marne area south of Paris, with a population of fewer than 2,000 people, last weekend voted yes in a referendum to restrict smartphone use in public, banning adults and children from scrolling on their devices while walking down the street, while sitting with others on a park bench, while in shops, cafes or eating in restaurants and while parents wait for their children in front of the school gates. Those who might check their phone’s map when lost are instead being encouraged to ask for directions.

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