The Government has approved plans to provide resources to parents, to limit smartphone access for children.
Earlier this year, parents of primary school pupils in Wicklow collectively decided not to buy their children smartphones until they moved on to secondary school.
The decision was made in an effort to limit the access these kids have to social media and technology, which has been proven to be harmful for a number of reasons, including bullying, access to harmful information and lack of sleep at night.
Today, the Government has agreed on plans to roll out resources to support parents and parent associations who want to follow in these footsteps.
The Department of Education has introduced new guidelines for parents which are now available online and will be issued to all primary schools.
Minister for Education, Norma Foley, said the use of smartphones by young children was one of the main issues that was always raised with her during visits to schools.
"That is why I am today launching these guidelines, which provide a framework for parents and the school community to have these conversations with their children and with each other.”
As part of a wider package of supports for parents, Minister Foley said that she was providing additional funding to Webwise, an internet safety initiative funded by the Department of Education and the EU, to deliver new web safety lectures for parents.
She added that there were clear benefits to owning a smartphone but the risks they posed to children had to be managed.
“Principals tell me that online bullying using smartphones happens outside school hours. They can't control it. It happens outside of school. Children can be exposed to violence and sexual content that no parent would want them to see via their smartphone.”
These new resources will encourage the development of voluntary codes regarding smartphone use, and would see the schools survey parents to find out how open they are to introducing a smartphone ban.
Image: A box in a classroom filled with smartphones. Image: Lbeddoe / Alamy Stock Photo