Irish parents take action on smartphones amid growing concern over children’s mental health

Parents in a town just 45 minutes from Dublin have banded together to enforce a smartphone ban for children until they finish primary school.

“It was just the surprising results of increased anxiety, depression and everything that we noticed… from having a cell phone, especially among young children,” he told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “The support he received “This city was incredible.”

Parents’ associations at eight schools in the County Wicklow town of Greystones decided earlier this summer to restrict their children’s access to smartphones amid concerns about rising anxiety and possible exposure to material for adults, The Guardian reported.

The agreement, signed jointly by all groups in a rare show of unity among so many groups, would restrict children’s access to phones at home, at school and elsewhere until they reach middle and high school.

Schools had already banned or restricted the use of devices on their premises, but parents decided to go a step further.

“I think the access that children have to the Internet, or our children’s access to the Internet, we don’t know what’s going on there,” Flynn explained, saying he hopes the restriction will extend to middle and high school as well.

“The brain is not developed [for children] …your phone use is associated with anxiety, depression, obesity, sleep disorders and many other health problems,” he added.

Parents in a Dublin suburb have banded together to impose a smartphone ban on children until they finish primary school. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Reports released earlier this year by the United Nations found that smartphones “distract students from learning while increasing risks to their privacy,” the BBC reported.

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Additionally, the report found that students performed better academically once smartphones were removed from schools.

Smartphones provide “distraction, disruption, intimidation and abuse and can be harmful to learning,” according to the British Department for Education, which suggested that teachers “consider restricting or banning mobile phones to reduce these risks.”

Justyna Flynn“It was just the amazing results of the increased anxiety, depression and everything that we notice… of having a mobile phone, especially among young children,” Justyna Flynn said. FOX

Manos Antoninis, author of the Global Education Monitor 2023 report, insisted that “only technology that supports learning has a place in school.”

He suggested that parents do not “completely” protect their children from technology, but that a discussion about the types of technology in a learning environment is necessary.

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, who lives near Greystones, supports the policy and has called for its national implementation.

In an opinion piece published in The Irish Times, Donnelly argued that the country must “consider some form of this approach at a national level in terms of safeguarding the mental health of young people”.

A general view of the Greystones Harbor development area as seen from the Bray-Greystones cliff walk.  On Thursday February 15, 2018, Dublin, Ireland. The report found that students performed better academically once smartphones were removed from schools. NurPhoto via Getty Images

He cited discussions with students, teachers, computer scientists and mental health experts to support the policy.

Donnelly says those conversations made him aware of “some common themes,” such as “harmful” content that children and teens can access on their smartphones, such as pornography and “extreme content,” but also severe anxiety. psychological derived from related content. to eating disorders, body dysmorphia and suicidal ideation.

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He noted that smartphones also have a positive effect by allowing students to coordinate activities and stay connected even when they return home for the day, but while he acknowledged that “there were certainly positives,” he considered it akin to regulating streaming and television. printed media.

“We regulate food, drink and medicine,” Donnelly wrote. “We have extensive child protections in many areas of our society. Now we are starting to do it in the digital space.”

“The issues I have raised here are being experienced around the world,” he added. “Ireland can and must be a global leader in ensuring that children and young people are not targeted or harmed by their interactions with the digital world.”

The Greystones Municipal District did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital by press time.

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