Technology can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to enjoy a meal with friends and the kids start to play up. I will admit on occasion I have even surrendered to my child’s relentless pleas to ‘just play one game’ just so I can finish my meal in peace. However, I have enforced some rules around using phones, tablet and laptops for reasons you may not have considered.
What’s wrong with the phone?
Apart from the obvious and much-discussed issue of too much screen time causing our kids to become anti-social and hyperactive, there are other issues which I believe are more concerning. Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) is emitted from all wireless technology. All wireless devices; laptops, tablets, smartphones, cordless phones, baby monitors, wifi, wireless alarm systems, phone towers and microwave ovens emit microwaves. “Yes but RFR is harmless,” I hear you say. Well not exactly. In 2011 the WHO1 classified RFR like that emitted from cell phones as a Class 2B carcinogen, possibly carcinogenic to humans. This was because of overwhelming evidence from peer-reviewed scientific studies that RFR increases the risk of acoustic neuroma and Glioma – a malignant brain cancer.
So what does that mean?
It means that phones and tablets are not toys. They are two-way microwave radiating devices. Studies have shown an increased risk of brain tumours, salivary gland tumours, weakened sperm production, quality and motility, weakened cell membranes, blood-brain barrier permeation, DNA damage and a host of other problems. These are some pretty overwhelming ailments to wrap your head around from the simple piece of technology you use every day. Without going into all the reasons why the safety standards set by the regulatory bodies are not protective of public health let’s just look at what the fine print warnings in your phone or tablet say. All manufacturers of smartphones and tablets provide a warning such as Apple’s: Only use carrying cases, belt clips or holders that provide at least 5/8 inch separation between your body and the cell phone… only use accessories that do not have metal parts.When using a built in audio-receiver, always hold your cell phone with the dock connector pointed down toward your shoulder to increase your separation from the antenna.
What to do with this information
A holster? A belt clip? Seriously? I haven’t seen one of those since 1996. So I guess someone should tell all the teenagers not to carry their phones in their front pocket right next to their reproductive organs or in their bra and to start sporting a holster.If you disregard the cautions, which you have probably never seen because let’s face it only nerds like me paw through the user manual to find the safety advice, you may exceed FCC regulations. WHAT?!! If you hold a phone against your ear, place a phone in your pocket or put a tablet on your lap you may receive more radiation than is recommended by the FCC. That’s right those ridiculously high guidelines that only consider at what point you will start to cook.So you see phones are not toys but that doesn’t mean you have to throw them out. There are some really simple things you can do to protect yourself and especially to protect your kids.
- Switch the phone/tablet to aeroplane mode. Kids should only ever use a phone or tablet on ‘aeroplane’ mode with the wifi switched to ‘off’. Download movies onto the tablet so they don’t have to access the internet.
- No tablets or laptops on laps ever! Even if it’s on aeroplane mode it is a good habit to teach kids when they are young that laptops are not for laps.
- Don’t carry your phone in your pocket unless it’s on aeroplane mode. Carry it in a bag.
- If you have a pram do not place the phone in the pram pocket near the baby’s head.
- Don’t charge phones in the bedroom and definitely do not let your teenagers sleep with a phone under their pillow. If you need your phone in the bedroom for the alarm then put it on aeroplane mode.
- When making a call use speakerphone or air tube headphones and keep it short.
- Texting is better than calling where possible
Overall, it’s important to remember that phones are not always the safest for us. They have changed how we connect, accomplish tasks, and entertain ourselves. However, they do simultaneously send out some worrisome radiation but by switching a few simple things up it can keep you and your family safer.