Town Banishes Smartphones For Children Under 12 and Discovers a New Way of Life

Negotiating smartphone use in the family is an explosive issue, and for parents it can feel like an all-consuming battle. In one town in Ireland, children under 12 are not permitted to have a smartphone. In fact, 95% of the 22,000-strong community in Greystones has agreed to withhold phones from their children, meaning the vast majority of the area's 3,500 primary school students are phone-free today. Even for those over the age of 12, there are no phones allowed in classrooms. Research has shown that smartphones in the hands of children opens them up to the emotional pressures inflicted by cyber-bullying and social media, exposing them to unpoliced adult content as well. Unesco Global Education Monitoring reports show that phone use impacts concentration and that children can take up to 20 minutes to concentrate once they’re disturbed by a notification on their phone. Parents in Greystones want people to know that they’re not anti-technology and that they recognize the benefits of it in their lives. However, they’re also trying to protect their children because the age at which they get mobile phones seems to be getting younger and younger. The benefits the town has seen can’t be denied. Now, instead of sitting in the playground talking about what they’ve seen on TikTok or having their faces buried in their phones, the children are actually exchanging ideas, engaging in more physical exercise, and generally using their imaginations more. It's a win-win for both parents and children.