Is it time for ‘the chat’ with your youngster or teenager? No, not that one. The one about how to use a phone, tablet, laptop and all wi-fi enabled devices safely.
Technology is a major part of our children’s lives. Whether it’s online learning in the classroom, the use of online resources for homework, catching up with friends on social media or playing games on their phone, a wi-fi enabled device is never far from our children’s hands. Every wireless transmitting device emits electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and while the health consequences of absorbing that radiation are still being debated, it is essential that we communicate with our children about using technology safely.
01‘turn off your phone when driving’
Even if we know not to talk on their phone while driving, having it beep every time an email or text comes through is distracting enough to cause an accident. Exposure to radiation is also increased if there is a wi-fi enabled device in the car, as it emits higher power radiation because the metal surroundings create radiation hotspots inside the driver and passenger areas of their vehicle.
02‘keep your phone off your body’
To reduce exposure to EMR, remember – distance is your friend. Look through the manufacturer’s manual with your child and you’ll see, in the small print, a warning that the phone or tablet should be kept away from the body. This is really important for boys who carry their phone in their trouser pocket and girls who are in the habit of carrying their mobile phone in their bra. Consistent evidence from experimental research shows that the radio frequency radiation exposure from wireless devices is associated with fertility problems and erectile dysfunction in men. There are also reports of young women with no family history getting a diagnosis of breast cancer, with tumours located directly under the skin where they placed the phone in the bra. A SafeSleeve case can be used when carrying a mobile on the body, to block 99% of radiation.
03‘never post anything you wouldn’t want your Granny to see’
Talk to your kids about how to be responsible digital citizens. What they post and share can lead them into difficult situations and conversations and might come back to haunt them in the future.
04‘turn phone off when signal’s low’
Check the signal on your phone or tablet. The weaker the signal, the higher the radiation it is outputting. So minimize your use when the signal is weak. Also, hold the phone far from your body when a call is being received because the phone often emits maximum radiation at that time.
05‘never sleep with your phone in your bed’
In addition to the health risks associated to a night of constant EMR exposure, wireless radiation and blue light emitting from devices can seriously affect our children’s sleep, so technology should be kept well away from the bedroom at night. If your child uses the phone as an alarm clock, switch it over to airplane mode and be sure to turn wi-fi and Bluetooth off. The alarm function still works.
06‘always use headphones when talking on the phone’
Once again, distance is your friend, so talk to your child about avoiding holding the phone to the head to talk. Get a set of headphones: airtube headphones, or a retro headset. Limit time spent talking on the phone, and encourage texting.