The question of children using cell phones and other digital devices rubs us all differently. This is reflected in our mangled responses to when, how, and whether they should use them at all!
Most of our answers probably stem from ignorance, indifference, and many times, the fear of the complex world of technology.
And just like that, we choose to either supervise how the little fellows interact with their mobiles, or like is usually the case, mindlessly shove all kinds of devices in their faces.
Experts too seem noncommittal to the dangers of these devices. While some link over-indulgence to negative health consequences, others are quick to shrug off these concerns.
It is important to note that many wireless and insurance companies are actually skeptical of non-ionizing radiation (the major danger associated with cell phones), which they categorize as a pollutant!
AT&T Mobile Insurance – page 4, and Verizon Total Mobile Protection – page 10, exclude insurance coverage for the following pollutants:
Any solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal irritant or contaminant including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acid, alkalis, chemicals, artificially produced electric fields, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, sound waves, microwaves, and all artificially produced ionizing or non-ionizing radiation and waste.
The fact is, cell phones and other digital devices should be handled with caution, because they are foreign to our bodies.
Further still, children should also not use them in the same manner adults do.
How adults misuse cell phones…
- We talk endlessly through cell phones
- We pocket, hold and place phones too close to our bodies
- We sleep with phones under the pillow
Adults worship cell phones and are at a loss when the shiny little pieces are kept away. This borders careless addiction, something we should not tolerate in children.
The goal is to safeguard their growing body organs and general well-being as they undergo childhood development milestones.
Here are the arguments against children using cell phones
1. The medical fears
Unlike many agents that induce illnesses almost immediately, consequences due to cell phone abuse may take time to manifest.
Following a few or many years of uncontrolled exposure to cell phones, the following medical complications may occur:
- brain tumor due in those predisposed due to genetic reasons
- increased health risks in kids with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- infertility following many years of cell phone storage in pockets
- figural memory loss
- tech neck resulting from slouching of the head
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 that regularly use cellular phones are more vulnerable to electromagnetic fields (EMF) because they start using them early in life!
It begins with prenatal exposure at 8 to 15 weeks and even to delivery. During delivery, smartphones are used to capture the moment, and they stay close to children through the early years of childhood development.
For the modern-day kid, the use and exposure to whatever lies inside digital devices is a condemnation of sorts 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 changes and development.
children have proportionally smaller heads and brains, yet receive the same levels of cell phone radiation as adultsIs Phone Radiation Risky for Kids?
The tender body organs 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 at the same time experiencing rapid development.
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 it down.
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 wavesThe Effects of RF-EMF on the Child Brain
4. Children are a curious lot & quite innocent
Children interact more with EMF emitting devices than parents due to a heightened degree of curiosity. It is inborn that they want to play and interact with everything on their way starting in the 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 cannot understand the whole excitement because they do not understand the medical complications and consequences of misusing toys and electronic equipment.
The situation is made worse when the bulk of the parents knowingly or unknowingly choose to stay ignorant about EMF!
5. Their social outlook gets a battering
More than half of children around the world own or have access to mobile phones that they use to interact with peers and friends through social media. The interaction is rarely monitored by parents and caregivers who are equally active online.
Children that are buried in their smartphones have little time to socialize with family 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, EMF emissions are 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 dictates that additional transmitters are installed in close proximity to communities. This implies that ultra-high frequency of up to 90GHz is becoming commonplace.
5G is only adding up to an already congested EMF smog enveloping the universe.
Parental role in neutralizing 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 children 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
- They should not place cell phones close to the bodies
- They can use headsets or speakerphones when making extended phone calls
- Chatting through apps is preferable to extended voice calls
- They should turn on Airplane Mode when playing games
- Cell phones should not substitute other activities at school and at home
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