"It's cold and in the village there are no more children, what do I do without my 'Fortnite?" | Society


There is a lot of snow in the 300 meters that separate the house of Alejandro Arche, 13 years old, from the ship where his chickens live. "I sell every dozen eggs for two euros," he says. Among his clients are his parents and other people from his town, Salduero (Soria, 144 inhabitants). It took a few months to save the money that, with another part that his parents gave him, he used to buy a Play Station 4.

[[GROW CONNECTED | Why do we do this project? ]

What he likes most to do with his new videogame console, and with his mobile, is play Fortnite. "In winter, at seven in the evening it's dark, it's cold, you do not feel like leaving the house and in the village there are no more children my age. What am I going to do? "He says. It is true. The only residents of Salduero who, like him, are of school age are Carmen Hernández, 17, and Ana de Diego, 14. They are very friendly. "When we are left, we watch videos on YouTube with the cell phone of one of the two," says Carmen. Three years apart they look like a world in adolescence, but they are not when there is no one else in town. Neither of them has Facebook, but they have Instagram.

"It's cold and in the village there are no more children, what do I do without my 'Fortnite?"

These three teenagers go to the institute in Covaleda, capital of the region, on a bus that passes through several towns. Before arriving at Salduero, go through Molinos de Duero, of 171 inhabitants. "When we see that it takes, we warn those of Salduero for WhatsApp so that they are not waiting for cold ice cream", explains Sergio Terrazas, 14 years old. He speaks at home, in the highest area of ​​Molinos, in the heat of a new stove. His mother, Mercedes Cuesta, bought it on the Internet: "We arrived by Amazon without problem. I've always been reluctant to this type of shopping, but it has been great for me. " Sergio's sister, Paula Terrazas, 18, points to the data. He likes clothes and usually looks through stores on-line, since there is no physics in his town. She also loves watching series, for what Netflix uses: "I'm hooked on Vis a vis ".

The other teenager from Molinos is Leyre Arribas, 13 years old. One of your favorite plans is to go to the telecentre and connect to the wifi with your mobile. It is a free connection, enabled by the City Council. "It's a way to hang out," says this teenager. "If it were not for the technology, I imagine that it would be quite boring," says her mother, Sonia Lafuente. She also grew up in Molinos: "When I was little, the town was full of kids, now there are very few." There's no library or kiosk, there's no bar, only open on weekends.

Technology makes life easier for the teenagers of Molinos and Salduero, towns located in the Picos de Urbión, one of the highest mountain ranges of the Meseta. If it is key for any kid, for them it is even more important: mobile phones, computers and tablets are a basic element to interact with other teenagers. After all, each of them is the only one of his age in his town. And between them and the nearest city, Soria, there are 40 kilometers away.

"Access to the Internet is not going to stop the depopulation, but surely without it many more people would leave"

Gerardo García, director of the Covaleda Institute

The area where these teenagers live is located within the Serrania Celtibérica, a geographic term coined by experts in depopulation to group the territory of Spain with less population density. It occupies, mainly, Teruel, Guadalajara and Soria. "People leave this area because there is no work. Before there were several furniture factories, people lived on wood, but that went down with the crisis, "says Gerardo García, the director of the Covaleda institute attended by the six teenagers from Salduero and Molinos, the IES Picos de Urbión. While Garcia speaks, through the window you can see several students enjoying half an hour of recess: they are throwing snowballs.

The mountain that gives name to the institute animates the tourist interest of the zone. "We also have the Laguna Negra, but tourism is very difficult to live. It's something complementary, "adds Garcia, who has led the institute for 20 years. When it was released there were 240 students. Now there are 140. "Internet access in this area is much better than in other parts of the province. That service is not going to stop the depopulation, but surely without it many more people would leave, "he adds.

In the institute they have more than 30 laptops, a projector in each class and several electronic slates. "The truth is that we can not complain," says the director. The duties of some subjects are carried out almost exclusively by Internet. "I like it a lot more when they send them to us like this," says Sergio. The reason is muttered by others with a small mouth: "It's that way you do not have to copy them by hand". Without a network in their villages, these adolescents could not do much of their school work.

From left to right and from top to bottom: Leyre Arribas, Ana de Diego, Paula Terrazas, Carmen Hernandez and Sergio Terrazas.
From left to right and from top to bottom: Leyre Arribas, Ana de Diego, Paula Terrazas, Carmen Hernandez and Sergio Terrazas. THE COUNTRY

The mayor of Molinos, Miguel Bonilla, is quite critical of the municipality's connection: "It could be a lot better. It gives many problems, but at the moment it is what we have. When we connect several at a time it slows down, "says Bonilla, in the position for 12 years with the Popular Party.

Many villagers are among 86% of households that, according to the data of the National Institute of Statistics, they have access to the Internet in Spain, but Molinos does not arrive with the speed at which they are accustomed in the cities and in rural areas that are better communicated. "We do not have optical fiber. I think it will reach Molinos throughout 2019, but it's not safe, "Bonilla adds. The fiber optic guarantees that the connection is faster, above 100 megabytes. As detailed by the Ministry of Industry in a report of 2017, 28% of the national territory does not have connections above those 100 megawatts.

The connection is not perfect, but it is enough for Leyre to be able to talk with her friends in Ireland, who she met during a summer learning English. "We talk about Snapchat because they do not use WhatsApp," he says. It is also enough to download books to read in your ebook: "Now I'm with Shadowhunters". And it's also enough for Paula to see her chapters of Vis a vis on Netflix and for Alejandro to play games of Fortnite.

The parents of these teenagers hardly complain about the time they spend on technology. They also use it. "I use Facebook a lot. I like it because I hear about the news before it's told on television. My husband tells me that I am up to date, "says Cuesta. In addition, like the other teenagers of Molinos y Salduero, their children pay less attention to mobile phones, tablets or computers in the summer. "When my friends come from Madrid and Soria, and my cousins ​​also, I spend all day in the street," says Alejandro. There is a lot of talk about the addiction to technology suffered by some children and adolescents, but the use they give it in Molinos y Salduero shows its most positive effects. It replaces, in part, the void of people of your age in the remaining months of the year.

"If my daughter's friends lived in Molinos, they would be in the pediment to tell each other their things, instead of talking so much about WhatsApp. Come on, what I did when I was little "

Mercedes, mother of Paula

Alejandro's summers are very similar to those of Leyre: "In August I do not look almost at the cell phone. The town fills with people. " What's more, there are so many people that, according to the mayor of Molinos, the connection is overloaded and stops working. Something similar to what happens in a concert or a large demonstration.

"I know that if my daughter's friends lived in Molinos, they would spend the afternoon in the pediment to tell each other their things, instead of talking so much about WhatsApp. Come on, what I did when I was little, "says Mercedes, Paula's mother. "I think that right now there is much less difference between the life of my daughter and that of a city girl than between mine when I was her age and that of a girl from a city back then," concludes Leyre's mother.

When she was the age of her daughter there were no cell phones, but there were many more children and teenagers. Between the first and the second, the kids from Molinos and Salduero stay with the company. But looking at the phone from time to time.

About this project

This report is the second installment of Grow Connected, a series of articles that explore the lives of children and adolescents in a digital world. The codes have changed, the kids learn, play and interact through networks and screens, surrounded by algorithms and big data, natives in environments in which their elders move with bewilderment. Grow Connected reflects on the challenges they face and the possibilities that are open for these generations. What do technology do, where are they and how do they use it? They are between 3 and 18 years old: they will be our guides. [Volver arriba]

.



Source link