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Last Updated: September 27, 2020

The question of children using cell phones and other mobile devices rubs us all differently. Our answers and choices probably stem from ignorance and the fear of the unknown world of technology.

Ultimately, we choose to either listen and supervise how the little fellows interact with mobile phones or remain complacent.

And we are no alone. Experts too are divided over the dangers posed by incorrect cell phone use. While some link poor use to health consequences, others have chosen to shrug off any valid threats and fears.

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

How do adults misuse cell phones?

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

Adults, therefore, worship cell phones and are at a loss when the shiny pieces of hardware are kept away from them. This borders careless addiction, something we should not tolerate in children.

Here are the arguments against children using cell phones

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

1. The medical fears

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 and make our lives better.

Following a few or many years of uncontrolled exposure to cell phones, 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 to electromagnetic fields (EMF) because they are introduced to EMF emitting devices quite early in life!

It begins with prenatal exposure at 8 to 15 weeks and continues up to the date of birth. During delivery, smartphones are used to capture the historical moment and they stay close to children through the early years of development.

For the modern day kid, the use and exposure to whatever lies inside digital devices 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 MOST vulnerable to the effects of EMF due to the nature and makeup of their body parts. They have smaller heads, thinner skulls, tender brains, and smaller body organs, all of which are undergoing immense development and growth.

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

Is Phone Radiation Risky for Kids?

The organs in kids are not yet accustomed to interferences such as electromagnetic beams streaming from electronic devices. The EMF variants easily break down the makeup of the brain and the nervous system which are experiencing rapid development in the first 3 years of life.

The thickness and density of the head and skull of a child, in comparison to that of an adult is quite thin, making it easy for EMF waves to break through.

when a child is exposed to RF-EMF the compact tissue which is the protective covering is not as thick. This not only exposes the brain to RF-EMF, but it also exposes the vulnerable red bone marrow contained in the diploe in between the trabeculae to these waves

The Effects of RF-EMF on the Child Brain

4.  Children are curious & innocent

Children interact more with EMF emitting devices than parents due to a heightened degree of curiosity. It is inborn that children want to hold and ‘eat’ everything on their way starting in the first early months 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 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 made worse when the bulk of the parents knowingly or unknowingly choose to stay ignorant about EMF!

5. Their social lifestyle gets a battering

More than half of children around the world own or have access to mobile phones which they use to interact with peers and friends through social media apps. The interaction is rarely monitored by parents and caregivers who are equally engaging in their own social explorations online.

Children who are buried in their smartphones have little time to socialize with family and friends receive real beating in real life. Over-indulgence in apps and technology,

  • makes them less connected
  • makes them rude to peers
  • interferes with real-life relationships
  • 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.

Parental responsibility to neutralize the effects of cell phone use in children

Of course, we cannot absolutely keep children away from using their cell phones. It is next to impossible to contemplate such a task in the 21st Century. Instead, we can focus on making usability safe by implementing favorable digital ethics and educating them about the consequences of EMF.

Below are only a few practical measures to safeguard children using cell phones:

  • 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
  • Chatting should be done responsibly
  • Airplane Mode should be turned ON when playing games
  • Cell phones should not substitute other activities at school and at home