Something that does come up occasionally in our conversations with parents about Mobile Phones being used by children is the issue of radiation – and any potential and specific dangers that might pose for children.
We’re mobile network developers and not doctors so it’s not our direct area of expertise but we have spent some time going through some of the literature and science that’s been done around the World.
Over the years there have been discussions over the safety of mobile phones – specifically the radio transmitter in the mobile. Although it’s fairly low power, the transmitter on a mobile phone does need to be able to travel several miles.
To make matters more complicated, a single mobile phone has many radio functions that operate between 800MHz and 4000MHz. Although there is *huge* experience of mobile phones used worldwide, and it seems reasonable that any side effects would become clear in the 40 years or so that we’ve had mobile phones, it’s still a concern to many that this radiation could potentially be able to cause harm. And particularly so with children.
Evidence of radiation harm
The research we can find does seem to suggest that there is little evidence to support an idea that Mobile Phones and mobile base stations are a cause of cancer or other disease. We’ve had radio transmitters and radio masts for much longer than there have been mobile phones too.
Are children more vulnerable?
Children are getting mobile phones at younger ages. So there is certainly less experience out there than there might be for adults. Also nobody is really sure what they would be looking out for. There are the obvious concerns of cancer and tumours, but there could also be side-effects such as learning delay.
Studies such as: Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Children and Adolescents: A Multicenter Case–Control Study – ( listed below ) seem to suggest that, even in children there appears to be little evidence for a causal link between mobile phone use and cancer. However other studies do seem to demonstrate that Mobile Phone radiation does potentially affect children in ways it might not adults.
Sensible Precautions For Children Using Mobile Phones
- Limit usage – if there are any unknown adverse affects caused by mobile phones, then limiting the amount of time the phone is in use would be a sensible step.
- Keep calls short – having less time with the phone in close proximity to the head would do no harm.
- Don’t keep the mobile phone by the bed.
- Set Screen Time limits – putting the phone away for as long as possible rather than being glued to the screen.
Thinner skulls and developing brains
There is a thought that the different physiology of children might potentially be a factor in a difference between adult and child mobile phone usage.
Om, Gandhi et al (2014) argue that for a 10 year old child the radiation absorption rate ( SAR) is up to 153% higher than the SAR for the ‘typical’ adult.
Other Studies ( Does exposure to GSM 900 MHz mobile phone radiation affect short-term memory of elementary school students?) also show how 900MHz phone signals can even affect ( improve as it happens ) short term memory in children.
So it certainly seems that there are potential mechanisms at play that could have an affect, and particularly so with child phone usage.
Crystals stickers and ‘bioshield’ cases etc.
Just in case the unfortunate reader has seen adverts online, or Social Media influencers promoting ‘bioshield’ stickers, crystals, special cases, USB sticks… anything that offers to reduce or mitigate the affects of Mobile Phone radiation… it’s all codswallop!
Nothing else to say on that matter – except possibly enjoy the hilarious adverts for the artistic nonsense and snake-oilery that they are. They’ve even managed to trick councils and other organisations into promoting them. Read what the very reputable Rory Cellan-Jones wrote for the BBC about the 5G memory-stick scam version.
Reading matter – Research into the dangers of mobile phones
Mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and cancer: a review JE Moulder, KR Foster, LS Erdreich & JP McNamee Pages 189-203 | Received 27 Aug 2004, Accepted 14 Feb 2005, Published online: 03 Jul 2009 https://doi.org/10.1080/09553000500091097
Does exposure to GSM 900 MHz mobile phone radiation affect short-term memory of elementary school students? Movvahedi MM, Tavakkoli-Golpayegani A, Mortazavi SA, et al. . J Pediatr Neurosci. 2014;9(2):121-124. doi:10.4103/1817-1745.139300 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166831/
Exposure Limits: The underestimation of absorbed cell phone radiation, especially in children Om P. Gandhi, L. Lloyd Morgan, Alvaro Augusto de Salles, Yueh-Ying Han, Ronald B. Herberman & Devra Lee Davis https://doi.org/10.3109/15368378.2011.622827
Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Children and Adolescents: A Multicenter Case–Control Study Denis Aydin, Maria Feychting, Joachim Schüz, Tore Tynes, Tina Veje Andersen, Lisbeth Samsø Schmidt, Aslak Harbo Poulsen, Christoffer Johansen, Michaela Prochazka, Birgitta Lannering, Lars Klæboe, Tone Eggen, Daniela Jenni, Michael Grotzer, Nicolas Von der Weid, Claudia E. Kuehni, Martin Röösli https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djr244