Primary schools that ban smartphones should be rewarded, says SenatorMike Finnerty 04 Sep 2023
Primary schools that ban smartphones should be rewarded by Government, a Fine Gael Senator has proposed.
Mary Seery-Kearney, Seanad spokesperson on Children and Equality, has re-upped her calls for primary schools across Ireland to ban mobile phones.
“The sooner it occurs, the better it will be for pupils, teachers and parents,” she said.
The Sunday Independent reported that Education Minister Norma Foley is in favour of supporting schools that 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 claimed.
The Fine Gael Senator said any school that introduces 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,” she said.
“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 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.”
The Senator pointed to the initiative in Greystones, Co Wicklow which encouraged parents and guardians to collectively agree to postpone the purchase of smart devices for their children until they go to secondary school
“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,” she said.