How teenagers can use mobile phones safely
World Health Organisation had classified wireless radiofrequency (RF) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B); the same carcinogenicity as asbestos and lead. You can imagine my reaction when my teenage sons got the hand-me-down mobile phone from their step-sister when she upgraded. Mobile phones, Wi-Fi, smart-meter, phone towers were some of the sources of wireless radiofrequency.
With a 200% risk of brain cancer when mobile phones were used directly on one side of the head for >10 years, I immediately set the rule never to put the phones at their heads. They were to use speaker phones or just text.
Protest, they did. Stretch boundaries, they did. ‘I can’t hear!’
‘Tell the person to hold on whilst you go somewhere quiet’, I replied.
Another excuse, ‘I don’t want others to hear our conversation. It’s private.’
“Tell the person to hold on whilst you find a private room to talk’, I replied.
Needless to say, I was furious with their father for adding another disciplinary action to my parenting menu. As if I haven’t got enough to do.
I’d also been educating families on how to use mobile phones safely. It looked like the time had finally come to put my words into practice. I’d figured that if I can’t do it, why should I ask my clients to do it.
I considered the easy way out; ban the stupid phones from my house. It didn’t look good for Mum to take away a fun gadget given by Dad. Besides, they’ll use it instead at their Dad’s house anyway. I cringed every time I saw students stick their phone on their heads during school pick up. Imagining my boys doing just that at their father’s house hit my zero tolerance level. Children’s skulls are thinner than adults’. Their brain and skull cavity contain more water compared to an adults. Radiofrequencies are attracted to water and can radiate through at a higher percentage of child’s skull than an adult’s.
The mobile industry was never required to prove that radiofrequencies were safe to use prior to sale. Like our history with asbestos, we and our children are guinea pigs to this live health experiment with radiofrequency. Health effects are brain tumour, acoustic neuroma, electrical hypersensitivity etc. Until such time when wireless radiofrequency is proven safe and healthy to use by researchers with ‘no conflict in interest’, I will be practicing the precautionary approach for my family in the meantime. Even countries such as China, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Russia are practicing the precautionary principle by lowering the RF exposure standards way below the international standards set by ICNIRP.
I considered my teens’ future. Like now, it may be a requirement for them to use a mobile phone for their work. Men usually store their mobile phones in their pants , belt or shirt pockets. I didn’t want to talk about sperm with my boys, but after catching them with their phones in their pockets repeatedly, I finally vented about their penises and sperm being microwaved. Yep, like the microwave in their Dad’s kitchen. I told them that research has shown that RF damages DNA sperm and makes them swim funny. Geez. I was embarrassed later, when I realised what I had said, after I had calmed down. It worked though. Now, whenever I see them take their phones out from their pants or jackets, a wave of guilt ripple over their faces and then they’ll quickly reassure me that they’d switched the phone to air-plane mode. Or they promised to remember to put it in their school bag the next time.
I get the feeling that my sons think that they were invincible, like Superman. They were too young to care about their sperm health or their future kids. They cared about what happens to their penis though, since they can see it. They can’t see sperm, their future kids nor RF. And herein lies the problem. You can’t see RF and most of us can’t feel it, bar the individuals who have developed electrical hypersensitivity from RF exposure. Sweden shields homes of people suffering from electrical hypersensitive for free. RF shielding costs thousands of dollars per home.
I finally arrived at a conclusion that education was the only way to move forward. The mobile phone had integrated itself fully into my teenagers’ daily lives and there was no turning back. So the continual use of the mobile phone in my house came with certain conditions. I do acknowledge the frustration of having to explain the ‘why’ and remind them a thousand times but I suppose that’s a given with parenting. Suffice to say, the messages did eventually sink in into their thin skulls.
- Text rather than ring someone
- If you absolutely have to call someone in an emergency, then
- Use speaker phone 50cm away from head. Keep calls short.
- Use ear phones, preferably air filled tubes.
- Store phone in school bag on the furtherest pocket away from body.
- Don’t store phone in belts, pocket jacket or pants. If there’s absolutely no choice, turn it off or put it on air-plane mode. Check messages at every hour.
- Don’t recharge mobile phones in bedroom.
- Put mobile phone 2m away from sleeping area, air-plane mode. The kitchen bench is where they’re ‘meant’ to put their devices at night before bed.
- If I had teenage girls, I’d advise them not to put their mobile phones in their bra.
Please note that radiofrequencies and electromagnetic fields are often used interchangeably.
(Agarwal et al, 2008; Agarwal et al, 2009; Wdowiak et al, 2007; De Iuliis et al, 2009; Fejes et al, 2005; Aitken et al, 2005; Kumar, 2012; Bio-Initiative Report, 2007)