Kids and their mobile devices

I have a fierce desire... protect my children, as I’m sure every parent does. 


I just read a paper my mom shared with me titled Exposure and Use of Mobile Media by Young Children (Kabali et al, 2015).


Several things came to mind that I’d like to share with you:


A huge percentage of children use wireless devices every day, from a very early age.


Pediatric use of wireless devices in a study of 350 very young children in urban, low-income minority populations is profiled by Kabali et al (2015).  The use of wireless devices by small children means exposure to very high levels of pulsed radiofrequency radiation from the wireless signals, and also to the extremely low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields from the battery switching (Sage et al, 2007).  


"At age 4, half the children had their own television and three-fourths their own mobile device. Almost all children (96.6%) used mobile devices, and most started using before age 1. At age 2, most children used a device daily and spent comparable screen time on television and mobile devices. Most 3- and 4-year-olds used devices without help, and one-third engaged in media multitasking."  Kabali et al (2015)”. 


Now consider that the FCC regulations for safe exposure to RF radiation from wireless technologies are from 1996 - that’s 20 years ago!


“These guidelines specify exposure limits for hand-held wireless devices in terms of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). The SAR is a measure of the rate that RF energy is absorbed by the body. For exposure to RF energy from wireless devices, the allowable FCC SAR limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg), as averaged over one gram of tissue.”


The advances in wireless technologies since 1996 means that it is possible that your current cell phone exceeds the outdated FCC standards for safe human exposure.


And as you can see here, children are far more affected physiologically by RF radiation than adults (Ghandi et al, 1996). It is clear that the absorption rate of RF radiation exceeds the FCC’s allowable limits. Also, keep in mind that this study was conducted in 1996. Today’s cell phones are far more powerful. 


So what can we do about it? 


We can make smart choices until the regulations catch up to today’s wireless technology. You already know some of them. Keep your phone off of your body. Text, don’t talk. For me, it means that our two small children will have extremely limited screen time, preferably in front of a television instead of with a handheld wireless device (did I really just say that?!). It also means that our children will have to be a lot older (I’m talking years) before they are allowed to use a cell phone. 



Does this knowledge change your patterns? I’d love to hear from you. 

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