It is a known fact that children are more vulnerable to damage from smart phones, and that a lot of children are using these devices.
Given those facts, what are the differences we might expect to see in negative health effects for children, when compared to adults?
Increased Risk of Brain Tumors
A 2007 study by Mild, Hardell & Carlberg examining the incidence of malignant brain tumors among thousands of cell phone users, finding that, not only does cell phone use increase the risk of forming malignant brain tumors but that the risk is increased over time from cell phone exposure and cumulative use.
The data in this study shows that those who began using cordless or cell phones by the age 20 had a 400% increased risk of forming a brain tumor on the side of the head where they hold their phone.
Impaired Memory Development
A study on Adolescents’ Memory Performance conducted in 2008 resulted in a link between exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF’EMFs) and memory performance in teens.
The Swiss TPH team analyzed data from a large sample of nearly 700 Swiss teenagers. To get a more detailed picture of how the teens’ brain was developing, researchers tracked EMF exposure and memory performance over the course of a year.
Finding that “cumulative RF-EMFs brain exposure from mobile phone use over one year may have a negative effect on the development of figural memory performance in adolescents”
Figural memory relates to your ability to remember abstract forms and is mainly located in the right brain hemisphere. An interesting find in this study was that teens who held their phones up to the right side of their heads had the strongest memory deterioration, suggesting that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for impaired memory development when EMF exposure to the head was strongest and most direct.
Increased Risk of Childhood Leukemia
Brain tumors aren’t the only types of cancers that are linked to EMF radiation exposure and of course, cell phones aren’t the sole source of EMF radiation. Many other power lines and electrical wiring in your home can cause harmful exposure of EMF, such as AC, emitting a type of EMF called ELF (extremely low frequency).
The power lines that form our power grid also act as a massive, worldwide antenna that can pick up and conduct stray EMF from other devices like cell phones and Wi-fi.
When the power grid was initially created, it was installed in different parts of the USA at different times. Dr. Samuel Milham was able to show how increases in the death rate correlated with the commencement of electrification (power of electricity) and where it occurred in the country. He created a term of “dirty electricity” for the EMF exposure and pointed out as the source of significant health problems.
The trend of appearance of childhood leukemia developing at a certain age was a common one in areas of the power grid. However, this peak did not exist in un-electrified regions.
Increased Incidence of ADHD
Over the past few years an increasing number of studies have determined a strong correlation between ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and exposure to EMF radiation.
ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children’s cognitive and behavioural activity.
A 2008 study on Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Cell Phone Use and Behavioral Problems in Children surveyed 1,300 children with behavioral problems. Those whose mothers reported cell phone use during pregnancy or cell phone use by their children earlier in their lives were 80% more likely to have symptoms of ADHD.
Since then, the evidence linking cell phone radiation to ADHD has expanded considerably and researchers have concluded “symptoms of retarded memory, learning, cognition, attention, and behavioral problems have been reported in numerous studies and are similarly manifested in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders” as a result of exposure to cell phone radiation.
Deteriorating Academic Performance
With unlimited evidence demonstrating the links between cell phone radiation and cognitive dysfunction, memory loss and behavioral disorders, you would expect to see impact in overall academic performance in children.
Not just because of physiological and biological effects of cell phones – It’s simply also, just a massive distraction overall.
Studies show that students who use their cell phones and other devices for non-academic purposes during lectures perform worse in end-of-term exams. But interestingly, students who didn’t use their devices but keep them in close proximity still ended up with lower grades.
Several studies suggest that EMF emitted by mobile phones has effects on brain oscillatory responses during cognitive processing in children.
In other words, exposure to cell phone radiation was shown to affect brain function in children that were asked to perform auditory memory functions, with and without exposure to cell phone radiation.
It’s good to be aware of all these negative effects that have been linked to cell phone radiation exposure in children.
Safety Standards and How they Ignore Children
Lastly, let’s talk about the cell phone safety standards and regulations.
In the United States and much of the rest of the world, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) uses a measurement called SAR (specific absorption rate) to regulate cell phone radiation. Meaning, cell phone radiation is regulated based on how much radiation you absorb when you use your phone.
But that’s not quite true. They’re not regulated based on how much you absorb, but how much is absorbed by a dummy that approximates a 240-pound man.
But the vast majority of children do not weigh anywhere close to 240 pounds. The average weight of an 11-year-old is just 81.5 pounds, about 25% of a SAR dummy. The trials results run with the adult cases don’t reflect the effect on children. The water content of chlidren’s brain is quite different than adults. Also the thickness of the skull in childhood is thinner and the EMF signals easily pass through their skulls.
In conclusion, children are more vulnerable to health risks and damage from cell phone radiation but also, cell phone regulations are fundamentally and completely inadequate to protect children from this damage.