Primary schools which ban smartphones should be rewarded by Government, a Senator has said. Seanad spokesperson on Children and Equality, Mary Seery-Kearney, who has repeatedly called for a primary school ban on mobile phones nationwide, said the sooner it occurs, the better it will be for pupils, teachers and parents. A report recently indicates Education Minister Norma Foley is in favour of supporting schools which ban smartphones. “I really welcome Minister Norma Foley’s support for the ban on mobile phones in primary schools,” Senator Seery-Kearney said.
“Children need to be supported in the preservation of their childhoods and the restoration of imagination, creative play and social interaction. Having their heads in mobile phones is not good for their social development and their natural psychological growth,” she said. The Senator recently said any school which puts in place a mobile phone ban for their pupils should be recognised and rewarded by Government. “I have worked with parents and school principals throughout the summer since I first called for this ban, and it has been overwhelmingly supported.
“Parents who want their child to be phone free and have a play filled childhood need to be supported by Government. The marketing to children via phones all driven by private enterprise for shareholder profit needs to be stopped by decisive Government action. “The minister needs to establish a school awards scheme that supports schools who take an action in support of play, social development and mental health in childhood by the creation of a flag award, where schools can fly the flag of hope and childhood,” she said.
An initiative in Greystones, Co Wicklow encourages parents and guardians to collectively agree to postpone the purchase of smart devices for their children until they go to secondary school. This includes smartphones, smart pads, and access to age-inappropriate apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, and Discord. “It is time we take back childhood for our children and stop the gallop towards commodifying them via phones until they are old enough to be able to discern such things for themselves,” Senator Seery-Kearney said.