When my wife first attempted to buy me a car phone, over 20 years ago, I was reluctant and resisted. Why in the world do I need such a foolish luxury, I protested? Now, of course, like most of us, I develop symptoms of acute anxiety if I have difficulty locating my essential iphone even for a second(“Oh, my Gd, what if I lose it?”) And even some of our youngest children are quite adept at cellphone use. it amazes me to see young toddlers in my office skillfully using their parents’ phones, interfacing with aps, utilzing educational videos and playing games. And, of course, American teens mostly consider their phones as essential as the oxygen they breath, a part of their birthrite. Their cellphone has been almost a bodily appendage for much of their lives.
There is a growing body of evidence that cellphone emitted radiation carries significant health risks to all humans and particularly children: problems including cancer, hearing deficits, autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, insomnia, and infertility. Reseachers have defined correlations with childhood cancer, damage to DNA, sperm death. Respected international scientists have uncovered evidence of poor brain cell development in rats exposed to cell phone radiation. I wish to stress that none of this is yet comprehensive or definitive. Nevertheless, it is certainly very disquieting.
There are many reasons why children should be at greater risk. Their brains are smaller and skulls are thinner; both of those factors mean radiation can penetrate deeper. Juvenile brain tissue seems to absorb radiation about twice as much as older brains and bone marrow by almost 10x.
So what can be done? First of all, in my opinion, there is almost no imaginable reason for a child to own her own cell phone before middle school at the earliest. After 3 decades as a pediatrician to say nothing of raising 3 children of my own I simply cannot see any way that a school age child’s lifestyle can evolve so independently of his parents’ to justify needing a private communication-information system/portal.
Some other suggestions:
- Use head sets, speakers, or bluetooth wherever and whenever possible
- Text instead of talk
- Do not allow your child to keep the cell iin their room and particularly in bed under the pillow
- Boys in particular should not keep cellphone in front pockets by their groin
- Girls should not keep cellphone in bra by breast
- Place wi-fi routers discretely as far away from main child play area and bedroom as feasible
- Endeavor to keep cellphone 8″ from head or from pregnant woman’s abdomen.
- Keep in mind that the handset releases radiation unless it is completely powered down and shut off.
Now, let’s be realistic here: cellphones and tablets aren’t going anywhere and its much more likely that they will only become more ubiquitous in our society. But I think we can manage if we are cautious and keep some of the above in mind.
Send along questions and thanks for following.