Midlands TD Calls For Smartphones Ban In Primary Schools

It is after parents in one primary school decided to hold off on the purchase of a phone.

A midlands TD has called for smartphones to be banned from primary schools.

This has come following a decision from parents in St Kevin's NS, Greystones, who have decided to hold off on buying their children a smartphone. 

Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín says: "new technology can be a great addition to the lives of citizens throughout the state and we want our children to be able to be able to develop skills in how to use that new technology safely in their lives. However, putting the power of a smart phone, full access to the all internet and social media into the hands of the very young children and sending them to school with their peers is a significant challenge to any 10 or 11-year old child.

 He believes communication is one of the most important skills that any person can learn and that it's invaluable in our family, social and work lives.

The Meath West Deputy says "when we see children in class, on school buses, school yards and eating their lunch while glued to their smart phones, it is clear that there is a cost to their developing communication skills. We also hear regularly that children’s ability to concentration at school is reduced when mobile phones and social media sites are pinging the arrival of new messages and likes. In an education sphere where concentration is already under pressure smart phones are a cost to learning. A study in Britain in 2015 showed that smart phone bans in school was equivalent to an extra weeks tuition a year."

 He says "we also know that social media is phenomenally powerful. Even for adults, its addictive qualities can be profound. Social networks are physically addictive and psychologically addictive. Self-disclosure, likes, engagements etc stimulates parts of the brain that experience pleasure.  The need for validation and fear of missing out are especially strong motivations in young children.Social media is addictive by design and calls have been made for companies such as Facebook to be regulated in a similar manner to cigarette companies and yet many children are plugged into this powerful technology even at school."

Deputy Toibin says there has been a significant rise in anxiety and depression among children in recent years, which can develop from online bullying and many children spend up to 25 hours a week on smart phones often into the early hours of the morning, and on average children spent twice the length of time on their phones than talking to their parents.

He says it's time for action to be taken and wants the Government to ban the use of smart phones among children in primary school.

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