According to recent statistics, 22% of children ages 6-9, 60% of kids ages 10 to 14, and 84% of teens are regularly chatting on their own cell phones, and I’m personally guilty of using mine as a child-entertainment unit. They’re brilliant tools for convenience and peace of mind, but are cell phones safe for kids?
Are cell phones safe for adults?
It’s a fact that exposure to high-frequency radiation (such as X-rays) in large doses can cause cancer. Cell phones involve a much lower, “radio” frequency (RF) radiation produced when wireless devices communicate with cell tower, and the effects of long-term RF radiation exposure are unclear.
Some researchers believe that as RF energy is absorbed in the body over a long period of time, it may cause damage to cells – including cancer. Consider that cell phones are usually held close to the head, and it’s clear why the potential risk of brain cancer is a concern. For children, these risks may be a bigger threat.
Cell phone safety and added risks for kids
Children using cell phones at a young age will no doubt be exposed to radio frequency radiation for a very long period of time over the course of their lifetimes. Unlike adults, children’s nervous systems aren’t fully developed yet, and their brains contain more fluid than adults’ brains, allowing the RF waves to penetrate more easily.
Children’s skulls are also smaller than adults,’ which means the radiation can travel deeper into their brains. All of these differences make children more susceptible to damage from RF radiation with risks including developmental and behavioral issues, cancer, and more.
There’s also the issue of the added risk of combined long-term exposure to RF radiation from cell phones and other sources, plus other types of radiation like microwaves, television, wireless devices at school, and medical procedures.
Public health officials and researchers worldwide recognize, there’s a desperate need for more research on the long-term health risks of using cell phones, especially regarding children’s exposure. In asking, “are cell phones safe for kids?” keep in mind–we may not have a definitive answer for many years.
Widespread cell phone usage really only began in the 1990s, so research is limited. So far, results from research studies fail to show a direct correlation between cell phone use and cancer or brain tumors. Yet the lack of conclusive evidence of health risks hasn’t stopped worldwide health and governmental organizations from recommending a “precautionary” stance towards cell phone usage, at the least.
Government regulatory bodies in Finland, France and even our very own FDA recommend taking a cautious approach to cell phone usage, and especially when it comes to children.
6 ways to reduce potential health risks of cell phones:
- Text instead of talk.
- Carry and store cell phones away from the body.
- Use an air-filled, wireless tube headset, or use a speaker instead of holding phones close to the head.
- Make longer calls from a land line when possible.
- Teach your kids with cell phones to use them responsibly.
- Put smart phones in airplane mode when letting kids use them as an entertainment device.
If it turns out that cell phones are as safe as sunhats, great. In the meantime, take a better-safe-than-sorry approach to this wonderful and potentially dangerous modern convenience.