Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

22 November 2011

A Message to Parents: Do not Buy Cell Phones for Your Small Children!

As we approach the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States (25 November, the day after Thanksgiving), parents, please take note of this.  Mobile devices are a dangerous technology.  Parents should not buy these items for their small children. 

See this excellent article from MobileWise, UK,  "Is the Phone Industry Spinning While Rome Burns?" which is a plea for precautionary measures to be applied to children's use of cell phones.

Toys “R” Us stores, one of biggest toy stores in the United States, are encouraging kids to try cellphones and tablet computers. 

World-side mobile sales rose 16.5% in the first part of 2011 with 1.5 billion cell phones expected to be sold this year. 

Young children, 8 and 9-year-olds crave these new “toys”, especially an iPod or cell phone.  An estimated 52% of children in the United States under age 8 have access to mobile devices.  10%  under age one have already used a smart phone, iPod or iPad or other tablet to play games, watch videos or use a mobile application.  According to one research group, kids ages 2 to 5 are the fastest-growing category of video game players, which are being played more and more on mobile devices or computers, many of which contain wireless components.

Cell phone gaming is the newest market for companies.  An article in Great Schools (www.greatschools.org), “When to Get Your Child a Cell Phone”, mentions the dangers of very small kids being exposed to this technology:

-        Child predators being able to contact children without their parents’ knowledge

-        Parents unable to control the bills incurred by their children  (with no-contract cell phones, this won’t be a concern)

-        The fact that the “issue of whether brain and ear tumors are caused by cell phones is still unresolved”

-        Targetting of children by advertisers through text messaging

For parents, giving their kids a cell phone helps keep tabs on them.  Most parents seem to be unaware that the greatest hazard may be the phone itself.  Children, with thinner skulls and smaller heads, absorb more radiation emitted by these devices than adults.  Their cumulative lifetime exposure to radiation will be much greater than that of previous generations, significantly increasing their risk of brain cancer.

It is imperative that we educate parents by raising awareness of the potential health hazards of cell phones and other wireless devices through all available media.  Pass out leaflets containing recommendations for precautionary measures to parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, and children.  Place posters in schools, doctors’ offices, mobile phone shops, libraries and other public places.  And pressure retailers not to market mobile devices to small children as toys! 

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