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

26 November 2017

Digipigi, a Potential Health Risk to Children: Letter to "Family First Switzerland"

We objected to this photo in the
article because, if connected to Wi-Fi,
the iPad should not be held on a
child's lap.
Today, we mailed this letter to the group, "Family First Switzerland" after we saw their online article promoting the Digipigi:  "That`s why Digipigi can teach kids in Switzerland about money”.  For now, the connected piggy bank is sold only in Switzerland, however, the idea may catch on with banks in other countries.  If this happens  in the United States, we promised to alert the group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood which has clout regarding forcing manufacturers to pull connected toys from the market.  The group shares our concerns about the impact of a device such as Digipigi on a child's development.

Promotion of Digipigi

Dear Sir/Madam,

We were very concerned to read the article, “That`s why Digipigi can teach kids in Switzerland about money” on your site.

The Digipigi, destined for children from age 3, is a potential health risk to children. It functions with a smartphone and Wi-Fi connection, exposing the child to radiofrequency (RF) radiation each time the child uses the object.

In 2011, radiofrequency (electromagnetic) radiation from Wi-Fi and smartphones was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as 2B “potentially carcinogenic to humans”. Certain reputable scientists, independent of industry, are calling for a reclassification to 2A “probably carcinogenic” and even to group 1 “carcinogenic”. In September 2017, scientists responsible for the $25 million U.S. National Toxicology Program study on rats and mice exposed to cell phone radiation concluded that “exposure to radio frequency radiation has the potential to induce measurable DNA damage under certain exposure conditions”.

Introducing the Digipigi – or any wireless object - into a child’s environment encourages addiction to this technology. The fact that the piggy bank is connected to an application for a smartphone or iPad could incite the child to use these wireless devices from a very young age, while many physicians and scientists recommend that a child not receive a smartphone before age 12, or even older.

We also question the data security of this object as Wi-Fi-connected objects are vulnerable to hacking. In addition, promotion of the Digipigi to children at such a young age is a violation of their rights. Children should not be subjected to advertising which insidiously tries to snare them as potential long-time customers of a commercial enterprise. The personal data of children inputted into the Digipigi is tracked and used for the purpose of marketing items such as product offers, prize games or website content according to the “Terms and License Notes” of the Kids Viva Banking Package. "The bank tracks users' behavior in the Digipigi apps and Digipigi money box together with the related personal information and stores this data on servers in Switzerland for five years." This is not mentioned in the Instruction Manual.

We have written to the CEO of Crédit Suisse whose reply argues that the Digipigi is safe in that it “complies with the standardized guidelines such as the European Commission standard for children’s toys. It has also been certified as meeting the guidelines for electromagnetic radiation.”

The standards with regard to electromagnetic radiation were established many years ago and are out-of-date. They apply to a 200-pound adult male, not to the more vulnerable, developing bodies of children who absorb much more radiation than adults. With regard to the European Union standards (SAR value) which also apply to Switzerland, it has been found that many cell phones emit more radiation into human users than manufacturers report. Most of the cell phone testing by manufacturers is conducted at a certain distance from the body. When tested held against the ear or in a pocket, the phones are emitting radiation levels exceeding the standards. A cell phone should therefore never be used or held directly in contact with the body.

This also applies to tablets and iPads. The article about the Digipigi on your site includes several photographs of a young child using an iPad on her lap. This practice will expose sensitive parts of the child’s body to RF radiation if the iPad is connected to Wi-Fi. An iPad should be used on a table at a certain distance from the body.

In its Fact Sheet on WLAN (Wi-Fi), the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health recommends:

- Only switch your WLAN on when you need it. With laptops, in particular, it is a good idea to switch the WLAN off as otherwise the device will repeatedly try to connect to a network, leading to unnecessary radiation and a shorter battery life.

- Don’t hold your laptop close to your body while it is connected to a WLAN.

Please consider what we have written here. Crédit Suisse is promoting a connected object that is a potential health risk to children.


- Cancer Expert Declares Cell Phone And Wireless Radiation As Carcinogenic To Humans

- Switzerland: Note Issued by the Child and Youth Health Service of Geneva on the Health Risks of Use of Digital Technology (available in French)

For further info:

- Cell Phones Violate Radiation Limits: Doctor Calls For Urgent Action To Update Cell Phone Radiation Tests

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