Three months after parents in the Irish town of Greystones adopted a voluntary smartphone ban for their children, they are united in praising the positive effects it has had.
Earlier this year, parents’ associations from all eight primary schools in Greystones agreed to establish a voluntary “no-smartphone code” for children until they’re in secondary school, The Guardian reported.
The Greystones school system had already barred pupils from using smart devices in the classroom, but the parents’ associations decided this wasn’t enough.
The entire parent population committed to the ban, hoping to see an improvement in their children’s mental health.
Now, after having stuck with it for three months, many parents have expressed their satisfaction with the results.
“It gives me another three years for my daughter not to have a smartphone,” Anja Schubert, a Greystones resident of 25 years, told The Sun.
“I suppose the majority of people would feel under pressure to buy a phone for their child because their peers have it,” she said. “So the more kids that don’t have one, the easier it is for us.”
Caroline Nolan, who has two boys in infants school, also discussed the ban: “As a family, we’ve spoken openly about how they wouldn’t have phones until the end of sixth class going into first year. And that’s something that we are quite strict about.”
“But I think collectively in the community, with everyone doing it, it takes the pressure off,” she added.
The push to ban smartphones in Greystones came after two young girls in the area committed suicide as the result of bullying.
“It’s terrifying because it’s something that happens between the social world and your kid — something that you really have no part in, because they don’t want you to see it,” Johnny Hayden, a dad of three girls, told The Sun. “It’s something that scares you, really.”
Cyberbullying was also a major concern of Waterford County, which quickly followed Greystones’ example and asked all parents not to give their children access to smartphones.
“More and more, we are seeing young children experiencing issues around anxiety,” St. Ursula’s Ursuline primary school Principal Triona Daly said, according to the Irish Examiner.
“I have seen first-hand that many of these issues are due to the influence of social media,” Daly said. “Over the last few years, primary school children are presenting with issues that were previously deemed to be more ‘teenage issues.’ Self-harming and cyberbullying are just some of the problematic issues we’re dealing with on a regular basis.”
An initiative to protect children from these harms was recently launched in the U.S. by HGTV’s “Home Town Takeover” hosts Ben and Erin Napier, who seek to keep elementary school-aged children off of smartphones and social media.
Their non-profit group, known as “Osprey” [Old School Parents Raising Engaged Youth], aims to unite parents in the goal to live “social lives without social media.”
Data collected by Pew Research Center suggested that the large majority of parents agree that children under 12 years shouldn’t possess a smartphone.
However, far fewer have actually implemented rules limiting smartphone usage, and most respondents with children under 12 expressed concern that their child spends too much time in front of screens.
The post Entire Town Bans Cellphones for Kids - After Three Months, Residents Have Learned Plenty appeared first on The Western Journal.