Are Cell Phones Safe for Kids
After years of telling us that cell phones were safe, this week the World Health Organization announced that mobile phones fall under the same "carcinogenic hazard" list as dreaded toxins such as lead and the fumes from engine exhaust. It seems that safety is a moving target these days as parents try to make the most informed decisions for their children's health and wellness. With assurances of safety from a world authority on health suddenly being tossed aside in one press release, how can parents make the right choices for their children?
It seems that the controversy around the safety of cell phones is not being put to rest with this latest report, but rather reignited with the cell phone industry quick to state that the report does not mean that cell phones cause cancer. However, studies indicate that long term use of cell phones may cause increased occurrence of certain tumors and even other effects such as memory loss. Long-term...like the time period from childhood to adulthood? Experts also point out that because children's skulls are thinner and their brains still developing, the radiation from a cell phone can penetrate deeper. Should parents allow their children to use cell phones?
Last February I wrote about the right age for kids to be allowed to have their own cell phones. Even without this latest report, common sense still should prevail. Parents don't need a report from the WHO to tell them that children have no reason to walk around with a phone to their ear. I personally don't need a potential carcinogen to remind me that limits are important in my child's life be it screen time, sweets, or access to cell phones. However, what this does help me understand is that there are potential health risks and the ways to mitigate those risks. Encourage texting (yes, really!!!), which keeps the device away from the child's head. You may also teach your children how to utilize the speaker phone or even invest in a wired earpiece to be able to keep the phones themselves away from their heads.
Whatever your decision regarding your children and cell phone use, keep in mind that so far no studies have been done on the long term effects of cell phone use and children.
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