By G9ija

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.

But experts have warned that too much time spent on mobile phones can cause problems for children, with the HSE citing poor sleep patterns, obesity and issues with language development as some of the reasons why parents should limit their children’s exposure to phones.