A NUMBER of recommendations are to be presented shortly to government on the regulation of smartphones, after concerns by Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly.
Responding to disclosures that he had written to Leo Varadkar to warn that smart technology is ‘the single biggest threat to our nation’s children,’ the Clonakilty man said that some ‘people say that you are a Luddite if you criticise smart phone technology. I believe you are being smart in openly criticising smart technology.’
He added: ‘A key area of responsibility for me is children’s mental health and I would be failing in my duties if I didn’t express the gravest concern about the consequences of the current free-for-all.’
He said it was ‘astonishing that we regulate to keep children out of pubs after 9pm, and rightly so, and we regulate areas as diverse as creches and sports, but we have no regulation for this key area’ of the internet.
‘Parents are worried we are sleepwalking into a timebomb where their children’s mental well-being is being impacted upon and don’t quite know what to do. Government has a responsibility to respond to what people are saying on the ground.’
Mr Daly had previously proposed a Bill where it would be illegal to provide certain content to minors and sales to those under 14 would be punishable.
The Minister, however, told The Southern Star that ‘building awareness amongst parents about consequences and solutions and developing a culture of corporate social responsibility will play a leading role and may be a more achievable long-term solution. We need also to be consumed by the ambition to ensure Ireland is a leader in doing the right thing.’