It is echoed repeatedly that parents need to be alert when it comes to the matter of children using cell phones and other tech gadgets. The warning is however ignored most of the time and is challenged by a section of scientists. It is also less publicized by the media, or not well understood by the parents.
In very simple words, these devices should be used sparingly and not in the same manner done by adults. The ultimate goal is to safeguard the well-being of children as they undergo childhood development milestones.
So how do adults use cell phones?
We talk endlessly through them, pocket them and sleep with them under the pillow with obvious disregard. We worship them as if our lives depend on them, and are utterly at a loss when they are kept away from us. This borders addiction, something we do not want to accept.
Now, this is not good for little kids who stand to lose out on so many fronts. For starters, they are introduced to cell phones so early in life, and secondly, are vulnerable to lots of health-related side-effects.
So what are the arguments against children using cell phones?
Uncontrolled exposure to cell phone radiation may lead to a number of medical complications. Some of them are listed below:
- brain cancer
- skin cancer
- negative effects on the fetus
- birth defects
- high blood pressure
Keith Black, MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurological Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and a specialist in brain tumors says;
The problem that we have is that about half of the studies have shown that there is no correlation to brain cancer and cell phone use, and half of the studies that have been done have shown a correlation… The problem we have is that we know that most environmental agents that cause cancer don’t cause cancer after a month or a year or two years of exposure. The best example I can give to illustrate this is that, if one was to start smoking cigarettes when they were 12, we don’t expect them to develop lung cancer when they’re 22. We expect them to develop lung cancer when they’re 42 or 52, three or four decades of exposure. We just don’t have that long period of study with people that have used cell phones.
1. Duration of Exposure
First, children are vulnerable the most because they are introduced to cell phones and other EMF emitting devices quite early. Actually, from day one. We parents take countless photos of children the moment they are delivered. On the contrary, we adults began using cell phones later in life.
For contemporary children, it is a condemnation of sort for life.
According to Dariusz Leszczyński, a research Professor (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Helsinki, Finland) and, Adjunct Professor (University of Helsinki), says
There are studies showing that this [radiofrequency] radiation is causing some biological effects. However, we have no any idea what the long-term-use consequences will be – will there be any health effects or not? So, kids getting their first phones at the age of 6-7 years have some 70-80 years ahead of them during which they will be exposed to this radiation. We have no slightest idea what exposures over such a long period can cause.
2. The Tenderness
Second, children are vulnerable to EMF side-effects more than adults because they have thinner skulls, tender brains, and smaller body organs, all of which are undergoing immense change and growth.
Their body parts are only taking shape and not yet accustomed to foreign interference. Interactions with phones tend to interfere with the development process. These organs can easily malfunction and become affected in the short and long run. This is made worse if usage is done extensively and for many years.
Cell phones and other wireless devices are known to emit small doses of non-ionizing electric and magnetic fields (EMF) which can affect related organs and alter brain development. The effects of EMF easily break down body cells in the brain and other parts faster than it does adults.
As such, they should not hold cell phones close to sensitive body parts. These include the head, chest, stomach, and genitalia.
3. The Curious Lot
Third, because children are a curious lot, they tend to want to interact more with EMF emitting devices than parents. Such devices include wireless baby monitors, Wi-Fi installations and gaming consoles, in addition to cell phones. It is reminiscent of us parents sitting close to television sets back in the days.
Fortunately, we were not hugging these TVs, and neither were we shoving them in pockets or placing on the bed. This probably saved us.
This proximity is what everyone is yapping about. There is no subtle formula by which these modern playthings can be detached from kids, that easily.
4. Little Know-How
Fourth, children wade through the EMF puzzle with limited knowledge and know-how. They embrace digital stuff as their toys and cannot understand the whole excitement some of their parents are yapping about.
Kids are not at all wired to understand medical complications and the consequences of misusing any equipment whatsoever.
The situation is worse when their parents too, are ignorant about EMF related facts!
5. Even More EMF
Finally and to top it all, the amount of emissions is only growing exponentially every other passing day. The evolution of Bluetooth, cellular and wireless connectivity is only amplifying the amount of radiofrequency waves in the air all around us.
The expansion of broadband connectivity from 2G to 5G also requires that more transmitters are installed in close proximity to humans than ever before. As of 2018, the life-threatening 5G implementation is taking shape around the globe. It adds to an already congested EMF smog enveloping the universe.
As 5G is slowly taking shape and growing, so will the quantity of radiofrequency in the air, and the related side effects.
Of course, we cannot absolutely keep cell phones away from children. It is next to impossible. Instead, we should focus on making usability safe. First is the need to educate them about the true dangers that come with misuse of technology, and cell phones in particular, second is how they can stay safe.
Below are a few practical measures parents can consider implementing to safeguard the health of children.
Parents should advise and help children not to do the following:
- Not place cell phones close to the body
- Use headsets or speakerphones
- Talk less and chat more
- Turn airplane mode ON when playing games
- Not allow cell phones to consume all their time