Not so smart…

It is irresponsible to allow a child or teen to use a cell phone. Yet the marketing of cell phones for this age group is egregious. The sales pitch is to bring families closer together and help them stay connected, while “family package” deals make cell phones for children affordable. As a result, cell phones are standard equipment for today’s teenagers and increasingly common among preteens.

The literature clearly shows that children and unborn babies face a higher health risk than adults for damage caused by cell phone radiation. This is because the rate of radiation absorption is higher in children than adults. Their skulls are thinner, offering less protection and their brain tissues are more absorbent, absorbing two to three times as much radiation. Their bone marrow absorbs ten times as much. Fetuses are particularly vulnerable, damaging the protective sheath surrounding brain neurons.

Existing research demonstrates higher rates of brain cancer, tumors, and genetic damage among heavy cellphone users. Cell phone radiation causes genetic damage similar to that found in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; some researchers are fearful of an epidemic of dementia as our children age. A 2010 German study of over 3000 children showed that heavy cellphone use by adolescents was associated with behavioral problems. Scientists from Harvard and Yale medical schools have warned that pregnant mothers should limit their unborn babies’ exposure to cell phone radiation because of the possible impact on brain development.

There is even an epidemic of pediatric dry-eye disease. A study in BMC Ophthalmology has found that dry-eye disease is common among children who spend more time on their smartphones. There is no question that cell phone radiation has biological effects on humans, and we are increasingly finding that these effects are not good. The bottom line is that smartphones are not so smart, and children and teens especially should not be using mobile phones.