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Kids and smartphones: ‘I made my sons wait until after their Junior Cert — and I got a lot of stick from other parents’

The average age for a child to have their first phone in Ireland is 12. But when is the ideal time to introduce them into their lives? We asked the experts 

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Ollwyn Moran with her sons Alex (14) and Matthew (16), who were not allowed their first mobile phones until after their Junior Cert. Photo: Tony Gavin

Ollwyn Moran with her sons Alex (14) and Matthew (16), who were not allowed their first mobile phones until after their Junior Cert. Photo: Tony Gavin

Finlay O'Riordan got his first phone at age nine

Finlay O'Riordan got his first phone at age nine

Psychotherapist Stella O’Malley advises parents maintain control over their child’s phone

Psychotherapist Stella O’Malley advises parents maintain control over their child’s phone

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Ollwyn Moran with her sons Alex (14) and Matthew (16), who were not allowed their first mobile phones until after their Junior Cert. Photo: Tony Gavin

When I was a child, the phone sat on a table in the hall (or in a phone box on the street). I had little interest in it until I became a teenager and was then regularly chastised for spending too much time on it (half an hour in a day was deemed a shocking amount).

Today, phones are a whole other entity — no one is ever without one, more frequently looking at it than talking into it — and no age is exempt from its temptations, from elderly grannies conversing through WhatsApp to young children using it to play Minecraft.


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