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The question of children using cell phones and other electronic gadgets rubs us all differently. At the end of the day, we choose to either listen and conform or remain accomplices in abetting the practice. Our choices stem from the fear of the unknown because of ignorance, or lack of knowledge simply because of insufficient data.

Experts too remain divided over the issue of radio-frequency emissions, with some linking poor use to health consequences, while others have chosen to shrug off any side effects.

The fact is, cell phones and other mobile devices are meant to be used sparingly and not in close proximity to the body. Even more important they should not be used by children in the same manner adults do. The ultimate goal is to safeguard their well-being as they undergo childhood development milestones.

So how are adults misusing cell phones?

  • They talk endlessly through our cell phones
  • They pocket and hold phones too close to the body
  • They sleep with phones under the pillow

Adults, therefore, worship cell phones as if their lives depend on them, and are at a loss when the shiny pieces of hardware are kept away from them. This borders careless addiction, something we should no tolerate in children.

Here are the arguments against children using cell phones

1. The Medical Concerns

Unlike many agents that induce illnesses almost immediately, consequences due to cell phone misuse take time to manifest. In the meantime, they are nice to use, make our lives look admirable, and don’t look suspicious at all.

Following a few or many years of uncontrolled exposure to cell phone use, the following medical complications may occur:

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.

2.  Extended Durations of Exposure!

Children using cellular phones are vulnerable the most because they are introduced to EMF emitting devices quite early. Actually, from day one, when cell phones are used to capture photos of newborn babies. It does not stop there as our gadgets stay close to them through childhood.

For the modern day child 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.

3.  The Tender Body Organs!

Children are more vulnerable to EMF side-effects due to the nature and makeup of their fragile body parts. They have thinner skulls, tender brains, and smaller body organs, all of which are undergoing immense growth and changes in the early years.

The body parts are not accustomed to foreign interference, especially electromagnetic beams streaming from electronic devices that are always placed close to them. The body organs become affected in the short and long run. The EMF from electronics easily breaks down the brain and other cells faster in infants.

children have proportionally smaller heads and brains, yet receive the same levels of cell phone radiation as adults

Is Phone Radiation Risky for Kids?

4.  The Curious & Innocent Lot

Children interact more with EMF emitting devices than parents because of curiosity. It is inborn that children will want to hold and ‘eat’ everything in their paths starting in the first year of life. Aside from cell phones, they will play and ‘eat’ tablets, laptops, baby monitors, laptops, W-Fi installations, gaming consoles, etc.

Maybe this is reminiscent of older generations sitting close to television sets back in the days. Fortunately, we were not ‘eating’ or hugging these TVs, and neither were we shoving them in our pockets. The fact that TVs are bulky saved us from the kind of interactions kids today have with mobile electronics.

Children also wade through the EMF world with zero knowledge and know-how. They embrace digital stuff as their toys and cannot understand the whole excitement a few parents are yapping about.

Kids are not at all wired to understand medical complications and the consequences of misusing toys and electronic equipment whatsoever.

The situation is only made worse when the bulk of the parents knowingly or unknowingly choose to stay ignorant about EMF!

5. Battered Social Lifestyle

More than half of children around the world own or have access to mobile phones. This is a staggering figure especially when viewed from the social point of view. When children indulge in excess phone use (phubbing), which they do in the company of friends and family, their social lives get a real beating.

Children who are always buried in their smartphones have little time to socialize with family and friends. At the end of the day, over-indulgence;

  • makes them less connected
  • makes them rude to peers
  • interferes with real-life relationship
  • leads to unnecessary anxiety, depression, and stress
  • exposes them to cyber-bullying

6.  Even More EMF as 5G Takes Shape!

Finally and to top it all, the amount of EMF emissions is only expected to grow every other passing day as technology continues to evolve. The road towards the 4th Industrial Revolution means that cellular and wireless connectivity will only become bigger and will amplify the amount of radiofrequency waves in the air.

The expansion of broadband connectivity from 2G to 5G connectivity requires that more transmitters are installed in close proximity inside communities, and ultra-high frequency of up to 90GHz will become commonplace. 5G is only adding up to an already congested EMF smog enveloping the universe.

Neutralize the Effects of Cell Phone Radiation in Children

children using cell phones
Children using cell phones in a sporting arena. Photo by PHOUNIUS on Unsplash

Of course, we cannot absolutely keep cell phones away from children, because it is next to impossible in the 21st Century. Instead, we can focus on making usability safe by educating them about the consequences of misusing technology.

Below are only a few practical measures to safeguard children and their health.

  • Educate them about the big picture of digital citizenship
  • Cell phones should not be placed close to the body
  • Headsets or speakerphone should be used when making extended phone calls
  • Chatting through apps is preferable to extended voice calls
  • Airplane Mode should be turned ON when playing games
  • Cell phones should not be substitutes to other activities at school and at home

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