Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell says phones shouldn't be allowed in classrooms "under any circumstances"

Smartphones should be banned in classrooms, according to the chair of the Oireachtas Children's Committee.

The committee has released a report into protecting children online.

It calls for a digital safety commissioner to be appointed, and mandatory cyber safety education for teachers.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell says there needs to be a conversation about access to smartphones as well.

He observed: "I think there is a decision to be made by boards of managements or indeed principals of schools, to determine whether a mobile phone should be permitted in a classroom - I don't think it should, under any circumstances.

"There are of course technology options that don't involve mobile phones. But when it comes to content, there clearly are certain websites out there that provide all sorts of content - whether it's legal in this jurisdiction, moral or otherwise."

Other recommendations in the report include a new offence of harassment, focused on "harassment by all forms of communication including through digital and online communications".