Parents in the Irish town Greystones have united to tell their children that they cannot have smartphones until they graduate from middle school. It is reported by The Guardian.
The parent associations of the city’s eight elementary schools have adopted a smartphone-free code to present a united front in this initiative.
“If everyone does it across the board you don’t feel like you’re the odd one out. It makes it so much easier to say no,” said Laura Bourne, who has a child in junior infants. “The longer we can preserve their innocence the better.”
Schools and parents have come up with the idea amid concerns that smartphones are fueling anxiety and giving children access to adult materials. This is a rare example of an entire city taking joint action to solve such a problem. The voluntary agreement is to not allow children to use smartphones until they are in middle school.
“Childhoods are getting shorter and shorter,” said Rachel Harper, the principal of St Patrick’s school who led the initiative.
According to her, a citywide policy reduces the likelihood that a child will have a peer with a smartphone, and parents can present this code as a school rule.
The initiative has attracted interest from parents’ associations in Ireland and abroad and prompted Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to recommend it as a national policy.
“Ireland can be, and must be, a world leader in ensuring that children and young people are not targeted and are not harmed by their interactions with the digital world,” he wrote in the Irish Times this week. “We must make it easier for parents to limit the content their children are exposed to.”
Previously, it was informed that YouTube recommendations can lead children to videos about school shootings and other gun-related content. This is according to the nonprofit watchdog group Tech Transparency Project (TTP).