Kids today are using and owning cell phones at younger ages than ever before. While they might be a great way to keep tabs on your children while they're at school, at a friend's house, or even at home while you're away at the office, are cell phones really safe for children to be using all the time?
Many parents simply worry about kids spending too much time on their phones. And in fact, our society seems to be developing an ever-increasing dependence on wireless technological devices – especially young people. Some 60% of youth admit to checking their phones "compulsively" throughout the day, and 42% say they feel "anxious" when their phone is out of reach. As many as 75% of young people check their phones while lying in bed at night, and 90% reach for them again first thing in the morning!
Apart from technological addiction, however, there are very real safety concerns about how constant exposure to cell phone radiation might be affecting the physical, social, and psychological development of children today. Holding a cell phone up to your ear allows up to 80% of the radiation emitted to penetrate up to two inches deep into your brain; for children, the effects might be even more pronounced.
"The penetration of the cell phone radiation into the brain of a child is deeper and greater," says Ronald Melnick, a scientific adviser for the Environmental Health Trust. "Also, the developing nervous system of a child is potentially more susceptible to a damaging agent."
Last November, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new official recommendations urging parents to limit their children's exposure to cell phones. But the research backing up claims of their harmful effects dates back much longer than that. In 2010, a study of children ages eight to 17 found that even short-term exposure to electromagnetic fields, or EMFs – a type of radiation emitted by cell phone antennae – could cause increased difficulties in concentration at school, as well as headaches and irritability.
Of course, it's not just children who are at risk of exposure to radiation from cell phones and other wireless technologies. Nearly everyone in our culture today has a cell phone on hand or spends their days surrounded by other people who do. But because children's young bodies and minds are constantly developing at such a rapid rate, they stand at increased risk for permanent cellular damage that could have lasting effects on their ability to perform and thrive, at school and beyond.
Because cell phones are a relatively new phenomenon, there's no way of telling what the long-term effects might be on a generation of children who have been exposed to such chronic radiation emissions for their entire lives. Indeed, exposure often begins before birth. In a longitudinal study of prenatal women, those who used cell phones more often during their pregnancies saw 25% more emotional problems, 35% more hyperactivity, 34% more peer issues, and 49% more conduct problems in their children than those who did not.
Many parents are beginning to understand that the convenience of cell phones is not worth the health risks for their children. But what can you do to protect your kids from radiation exposure in today's smartphone-driven society?
The best option is to abstain from cell phone use altogether. But if your kids must use a phone to contact you, texting is preferable over talking, since the phone can be kept further away from the body. Never keep a cell phone in your child's bedroom at night, since the devices continue to emit radiation 24 hours a day, even while not in use. Furthermore, you can invest in specialized EMF blockers that offer cell phone radiation protection and help limit the rate of internal absorption.
Why take chances on your child's development? Get smart about cell phone use and do what you can to limit the risks of radiation exposure. The future health of our children may depend on the steps we take today.
This post was contributed by Bioelectric Shield.