New law could ban selling internet-enabled phones to children

New law could ban selling internet-enabled phones to children

It could soon become illegal for shops to sell internet enabled mobiles to children under the age of 14.

Fine Gael's Jim Daly is working on a new Bill which would also prevent parents from allowing their children to own a device that has access to the internet on.

The West Cork TD, who chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, sees it as a way of preventing children from accessing unsuitable content.

New law could ban selling internet-enabled phones to children

“The proposed regulation will also force parents to take responsibility for their children’s access to internet,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It’s not about unsupervised access, we do need to regulate. Essentially you are allowing a child of seven or eight years of age to have a mobile device that allows them to access unlimited pornography of every type, they can go gambling, cyber bullying.

“We protect our children from things like sunbeds by law, just like alcohol [and] tobacco.”

However, cyber safety experts say banning it will not work and has urged parents to concentrate on supervision and education.

“We've spoken to thousands of children, and they absolutely love the technology, by and large,” said CEO of Cyber Safe Ireland Alex Cooney.

“But there are some concerns, around young children in particular, using the technology and putting themselves in harm's way, especially if their parents are not supervising what they're doing.

“We need to get parents on board as well, because we've found that there is a big gap between what parents know about what their children are doing online, and what their kids are actually doing online.”

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