Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has asked Education Minister Joe McHugh to enable primary schools formulate policies governing the use of mobile phones and other information technology devices among young school goers.
The initiative follows the introduction of an internet and technology policy at Clarecastle National School where 82 per cent of parents agreed that their children will not have sole ownership of a mobile phone while attending the school.
The agreement also includes the use of “age-appropriate technology” at the pupil’s homes for a reasonable time period every week.
Describing the policy introduced by school principal Martin Moloney as a sensible and considered response to a complex issue, Deputy Carey said that he had written to Minister McHugh urging him to adopt the Clarecastle policy as a model that could be replicated in primary schools all over the country.
The policy was drawn up on the advice of forensic psychologist and social media safety expert Maureen Griffin who fully endorsed the Clarecastle school’s ‘no phone’ approach.
In an email to parents Mr Moloney said that issues such as cyberbullying, sending inappropriate pictures, exposure to age-inappropriate content, had all come to light in the school.
“As a school, we want to help ensure our students are happy and safe not only in real-life but also online. We also want to help alleviate the pressure that parents come under and offer resources and assistance with regard to their children’s technology uses.”
“The desired result is for pupils to be able to embrace technology in a safe and age-appropriate environment while leaving plenty of time for physical activity, play and sleep,” the email stated.