Minister seeks "collective decision" from parents to ban smartphones from under 13s 3 months ago

Minister seeks "collective decision" from parents to ban smartphones from under 13s

She has said that government support will be provided.

Education minister Norma Foley has called for a "collective decision" from parents not to purchase smartphones to children until they leave primary school.

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Speaking at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, Ms Foley said that she will be forwarding a memo to the Cabinet that would involve providing supports to parents as she seeks to have smartphones banned for all children under 13, inside and outside of school.

The comments come after the minister backed a ban on smartphones during school hours after a group of schools in Greystones voluntarily imposed the rules successfully, but is now looking to go further on the issue.

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Minister Foley says smartphone problem lies outside of school hours

The minister said this week that while the "vast majority" of school back a ban, the real problem lies outside of school hours.

"To be quite honest, I think the vast, vast majority of our schools, particularly at primary level, do not support the use of smartphones within the school context," Ms Foley said.

"But I think the real issue is what happens after school and given that we are in education our focus will be on educating parents, supporting parents, to inform them in the first instance as to why it would be a better decision for their young child, particularly at primary school age, not to utilise the smartphone.

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"We’re all very conscious that within the smartphone children can have access to content that no parent would want them to see, whether it’s violent content, whether its online bullying, all of that."

The minister also added that she believed Ireland prides itself on having "the gift of the gab" but we can only get that gift if "you engage with other people and you won’t get it if you spend your time with Siri or Alexa."

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