It is easy, in the most general terms, to support Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín’s call for a ban on smartphones in primary schools.
It is, however, less easy to imagine that such a ban could be successful, no matter how well-intentioned or justified.
Smartphones have, in too many instances, become torturers’ tools and are used as conduits for the most hateful, disturbing, and undermining bullying of schoolchildren.
A school ban, focussed on pre-teen children, also seems to let parents off the hook in an unwise way. A child’s behaviour is usually a mirror of the standards learned in the home environment and if these are poor, then the fault does not lie with the school.
Neither should school communities have to act as phone police; they have other priorities.
The idea of a ban seems quaint, as we will conduct more and more of our lives through smartphones.
This means we should teach our children how to use these wonderful tools and to develop the confidence needed to ignore and close down unwelcome attention, rather than try to ban the future.