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Mum from Sutton, near Woodbridge, calls for ban on mobile phones for under-16s and sparks national movement





A mum’s call for a ban on mobile phones for primary school children has sparked a national movement.

On Saturday, Daisy Greenwell, 40, of Sutton, near Woodbridge, took to social media to express her concerns over the usage of mobile phones in children under the age of 16.

In the post, she invited others to join a WhatsApp group, which she started with two other friends the night before.

Daisy Greenwell, of Sutton, near Woodbridge, calls for a ban on smartphones for children under the age of 16. Pictured: Daisy with her husband. Picture: Daisy Greenwell
Daisy Greenwell, of Sutton, near Woodbridge, calls for a ban on smartphones for children under the age of 16. Pictured: Daisy with her husband. Picture: Daisy Greenwell

Within a matter of days, the group gained a national traction from thousands of concerned parents and it is now bursting with 2,000 members – with many on a waiting list.

The movement also attracted attention from national news outlets, including BBC Radio 5 Live and Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.

Daisy, who wanted to challenge the ‘norm’ of giving primary school children a mobile phone, said she was filled with joy to find other parents feeling the same.

Daisy's concerns on mobile usage in young children has sparked a national movement
Daisy's concerns on mobile usage in young children has sparked a national movement

She said: “It’s amazing this has happened. We did an Instagram post and it just snowballed.

“I thought it might be 10 or 20 of us on a WhatsApp group. I had no idea it would get so big.

“It’s parents’ love for their children – that’s the reason why everyone is here.

“I feel massively uplifted and full of hope for what we might achieve with all these people and the momentum.”

Daisy's WhatsApp group has gained traction within days. Picture: iStock
Daisy's WhatsApp group has gained traction within days. Picture: iStock

The movement follows a call from the mum of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey, who said smartphones for under-16s should be made without social media apps.

She is also campaigning for searches for inappropriate material to be flagged to parents.

Similarly, Daisy believes young children should not be given a smartphone until the age of 16.

She said: “We don’t let people drive or vote until a certain age, but we give children a phone which gives them access to bullying, porn and self-harming content.

She is worried about young children being exposed to harmful content. Picture: iStock
She is worried about young children being exposed to harmful content. Picture: iStock

“Their brains are still developing and technology can be hugely addictive.

“It’s not just the attention grabbing part of it which is taking their time away from things such as spending time with family, playing games or the piano, but studies now are very clear that it’s extremely damaging for our brains.

“We’ve parents who got lots of horror stories about what happened to their children after they’ve given them a mobile phone.”

According to Ofcom’s latest report, more than 50 per cent of children aged three-17 used a mobile phone to access online content.

Daisy said primary-aged children should be given a brick phone, which has no access to the internet.

According to Ofcom, over 50 per cent of children aged 3-17 use a smartphone to access online content. Picture: iStock
According to Ofcom, over 50 per cent of children aged 3-17 use a smartphone to access online content. Picture: iStock

She added: “I’m a mum of three kids and an eight-year-old child and it suddenly feels like the decision about getting phones is just around the corner.

“Children in her class will start getting phones soon, which feels completely crazy for me. I guess I’m driven by fear of what that would do to her.

“As soon as other children get phones in the class, it’s always impossible to hold out against that peer pressure.

“I think parents don’t want to give their child a phone, but because all the other parents are doing it, you feel like you have to.”

Currently, Daisy is planning what to do with what the movement she has created, but a website for the mission is under way.

When asked what the Government was doing to help reduce the mental health impact mobile phones were having on children, it said it was focused on implementing an online safety act.

The act is aimed at protecting young children from illegal, harmful and disturbing content and activity.

A spokesperson for the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology added: “We will always look at ways that children and other internet users can be kept safe online.”