Young child with a cellphone (illustrative)
Young child with a cellphone (illustrative)iStock

The residents of the town of Greystones in Ireland decided to fight the phenomenon of children's addiction to mobile phones.

The parents of the students in all eight elementary schools in the town met and came to an agreement that their children will not receive and will not be able to use mobile phones until they reach middle school age.

The parents' committee at the local schools said in a statement that the decision to prevent the town's children from using mobile phones was made due to concerns that smartphones cause addiction, anxiety and expose the children to inappropriate content.

Laura Bourne, whose children attend elementary school, welcomed the decision and explained it. "If everyone's doing it, you don't feel like you're the odd one out. It makes it a lot easier to say 'no' to kids. The longer we can keep their innocence, the better."

The person behind the initiative is the principal of a local school, Rachel Harper, who explained what was behind the decision. "Childhood is getting shorter. Nine-year-old children decided to ask for smartphones. It started happening at a younger and younger age, we could see it happening before our eyes."

The new initiative grabbed headlines in Ireland, and Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly decided to recommend it as a national policy and deny the country's children access to mobile phones until middle school age.

"Ireland can and must be a world leader in ensuring that children and young people are not targeted or harmed by their interactions with the digital world. We must make it easier for parents to limit the content their children are exposed to," Donnelly wrote in the Irish Times.