Embracing a Tech-Wise Approach: The Movement to Ban Smartphones in Primary Schools

Yet, with these advancements come challenges, especially for our youngest members of society. 

Last week, a significant development unfolded as the government proposed guidelines for primary schools across the country to potentially ban smartphones, a move aimed at fostering a healthier, more balanced approach to technology use among children.

At the core of this initiative is the concern for our children’s well-being. 

The statistics are telling; in Ireland, a staggering 95% of children aged 8 to 12 own a smartphone, with a significant number having unfettered access to the internet and social media. This level of engagement is not without consequences, linking to disrupted sleep, diminished physical activity, and even an increased risk of obesity.

The proposed government guidelines encourage schools to engage with parents, seeking a collective agreement on the non-purchase of smartphones for their children during the primary years. This approach, inspired by the collaborative efforts of parents in Greystones, Co Wicklow, underscores the importance of community in navigating the complexities of technology and its impact on our children.

The Parents Plus Healthy Families Programme is an evidence-based programme that has been specifically designed to support families in improving their relationships, communication, and overall well-being including setting up rules around technology use at home.

Attending the training for this programme can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively support families in your community as it covers a wide range of topics important to parents. 

The Parents Plus Healthy Families Programme is an all-encompassing professional programme designed not only to guide families in establishing firm boundaries around technology use but also to enrich the family unit in multiple facets of health and well-being. 

By engaging with this program, professionals gain the tools and knowledge to help families navigate the digital realm responsibly, advocating for healthier habits and more meaningful interactions away from screens. Moreover, the programme delves into promoting balanced diets and shared mealtimes, encourages the integration of active play and physical activities, and underscores the importance of maintaining positive mental health and self-esteem. It offers strategies to establish nurturing routines for restful sleep, and it emphasises the value of building and sustaining positive family relationships.

Dr Eileen Brosnan – Head of Practice and Implementation at Parents Plus holding the Parents Plus Healthy Families Programme parent book.

The Healthy Families Programme facilitator training is suitable for a range of professionals, including:

  • Primary Care Teams such as Psychologists and Public Health Nurses
  • HSE Sláintecare Healthy Communities 
  • Children’s Hospitals
  • Dieticians
  • Health Promotion Officers
  • Family Resource Centres
  • Regional Parent support networks
  • TUSLA Parenting Support Champions Project
  • Area Based Childhood Programme (ABC)

The Healthy Families Programme facilitator training is practical and solution-focused and will provide you with the essential skills and learning to achieve the best outcomes for the parents and families who attend your service.

  • Developing an in-depth understanding of this programme
  • Delivering the programme via face-to-face and online sessions to groups and individual families
  • Providing opportunities to observe and practise the skills to become a solution-focused facilitator
  • Building on parents strengths as a basis for ongoing change
  • Strengthening inter-agency and community partnerships

In our commitment to raising resilient and connected children, we must recognise the value of face-to-face interactions and the beauty of the world beyond screens. Encouraging outdoor play, fostering open communication, and nurturing genuine connections are pivotal.

The journey towards a balanced digital life for our children is not without its challenges. However, with informed guidance, collaborative efforts, and professional resources like the Parents Plus Healthy Families Programme, we can navigate this terrain with confidence, ensuring our children thrive in both the real and digital worlds.

To learn more about how the Healthy Families Programme can support your service, visit – https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents-plus-programmes/the-healthy-families-programme-training-for-professionals/