Fiona O'Loughlin has called on parents to introduce the ban to safeguard youth mental health
There's calls on schools and parents across Kildare to follow the lead of a group of Wicklow parents who made a pact - while their children were in primary school, there would be no mobile phones, according to Local Fianna Fáil Senator, Fiona O'Loughlin.
Senator O'Loughlin commented: "This initiative by a group of parents in Greystones is to be commended and I believe, as do my party colleagues, that we should look at some form of this approach nationally in terms of safeguarding youth mental health.
"There are undoubtedly some positives to smartphones and social media but anyone who spends time on certain social media platforms knows how toxic they can be.
"More and more reports are being published on the damage being done to children and teenagers by certain types of mobile phone use, social media use and internet content.
"Children and teenagers can be exposed to content that is damaging their mental health and often parents can be left feeling powerless.
"I understand that the feedback has been positive from the schools, parents and surprisingly the students in Wicklow where a mobile phone ban on school grounds has been implemented.
"I would urge all principals across Kildare, both in our primary and secondary schools, to reach out to parents to suggest a similar approach.
"We have extensive child protections in place in so many areas of our society and we’re now beginning to do it in the digital space.
"The new Media Commission was established in recent months and our first Online Safety Commissioner, Niamh Hodnett, has rightly decided to target the online risks to youth mental health.
"We must make it easier for parents to limit the content their children are exposed to and social media companies undoubtedly have a vital role to play.
"It is my priority and the priority of Fianna Fáil in Government to continue to explore ways to improve supports and ensure that children and young people are not targeted and are not harmed by their interactions with the digital world," she added.