The Spott Center of the Barcelona Provincial Council, which offers a free care service to minors with drug and screen addiction problems, has developed a model contract to be signed between parents and children to facilitate proper use of mobile phones and reduce both the risk of abuse and family conflict around the use of these devices.

The document, available online, details a series of commitments for each of the parties. In the case of adults, they must make agreements such as calling when necessary but not in an invasive way, being a good example in the use of technology, trusting that the child will use it responsibly and not spying on them secretly; That is, they undertake that if they decide to install parental control tools, they will explain why and what content they will block, and also to listen to and support them in the event of any incident and to review the agreements if they see it necessary.

In the case of children, they must make agreements such as answering calls politely and silencing the cell phone in certain places or when with other people, parking it during meals and disconnecting it and leaving it outside the room when going to sleep, not sharing photos or videos of others without permission, inform parents if an unknown adult contacts them, do not enter porn or gambling pages and do not make any online purchases or payments.

In addition, the document commits them to give the parents their cell phone so that they can check it if they ask, to notify them if they detect harassment or suffer threats on the networks or to do their homework in a space free of cell phones, among other agreements.

The contract model also includes a space to detail a specific time for turning the mobile phone on and off, as well as the maximum time that it can be used when returning from school and finishing homework.

And finally, the document calls for specifying what will happen if the minor fails to comply with any of the agreements established in it before signing it.

The Spott center’s initiative aims to raise awareness and give families tools to promote good use of screens because the number of minors with addiction problems or problematic mobile phone use continues to grow. Last year, the center treated 15% more cases of this type than in 2022.

The majority profile is that of a boy (82% of cases), 15 years old, who abuses video games. In the case of girls, the main reason they come to the center is problematic use of social networks. Three out of four minors attended had difficulties in school performance and suffered from some type of psychiatric disorder such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, an autism spectrum disorder or obsessive disorder. Since the start of the screens program in 2016, Spott has served 216 youth.

The contract model for good family use of the mobile phone is included in the Connecta-hi! collection, a set of videos and materials with recommendations for families and professionals to promote healthy use of screens.