Education Minister Norma Foley is set to introduce a plan for a ban in schools in the coming weeks.
Minister Foley wants to see a “collective decision” among parents not to purchase smart phones for children of primary school age.
She is due to bring a memo on the issue to Cabinet on Tuesday.
Minister Foley said she believes that schools are in favour of a ban on smartphones for children.
“One of the top three items raised with me every time when I visit schools and it’s raised with me by school leadership, or by parents, it’s the question of smartphones and children, in particular primary school children and their use of smartphones,” she told the 81st Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.
Minister Foley said it’s important to achieve a balance.
“There are clear benefits to owning a smartphone. There’s no doubt about that. But there are also risks, and risks must always be managed. Principals tell me that online bullying using smartphones happens outside school hours. They can’t control it. It happens outside of school.
“Children can be exposed to violence and sexual content that no parent would want them to see via their smartphone. “
She added that Irish people are famous for having the gift of the gab, and that is lost with technology.
“But you only get that gift when you do engage with other people. And you won’t get us if you spend your time engaging with Siri or with Alexa. They have their uses, but they also have their limitations. “
She said she was impressed by a “no smartphone” pledge adopted by across eight primary schools in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Parents of primary school children agreed collectively not to buy smartphones for their children whilst in primary school.
“I would really like to see a similar model being rolled out across other schools,” the Minister said.