We’re all guilty of scrolling on our phones when waiting for our coffee to be made at a cafe or waiting to cross the road at a street light, but a tiny French town has had enough of people using their smartphones in public.
Seine-Port is a tiny town made up of fewer than 2,000 people in the Seine-et-Marne area south of Paris, has voted yes in a referendum to restrict smartphone use in public. Adults and children are no longer able to scroll on their phones while walking down the street, sitting with others on a park bench, in shops, cafes, eating in restaurants, or while parents wait for their children at school gates.
What happens if you get lost and want to use your phone’s map app to direct you? Locals are encouraged to ask someone nearby for directions.
Red signs with a cross over an image of a phone are placed in businesses that involve social interaction, like hairdressers and cafes, as more locals are keen to put their phones down and prioritise human contact. Of course, this is at the discretion of business owners.
A total of 277 people attended the vote, which makes up 20% of the electoral register, and 54% voted in favour for screens being banned in public spaces. This first-of-its-kind municipal decree in France will not be enforceable by police, but will act as more of guidance for limiting phone use.
So if you’re looking for a digital detox, but don’t want to have to check into a health retreat, pop Seine-Port on your list of must-visit spots when in Paris next.
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