How Do Cell Phones Affect Children's Brains?
More than half of American children own a smartphone by the age of 11 as reported by NPR. In addition, a research team at the University of Iowa found that 90% of children under the age of 2 years old have at least a moderate ability to use electronic devices - such as our cell phones - for their amusement and to occupy their time as a form of baby-sitting. I believe it’s even safe to say that as children today get closer to the age of 3 - 5, they can even outperform their parents on these gadgets! Right?
Our schools provide even more technology, allowing more interaction with high-speed internet access for each student at school, on an equal basis, regardless of different income levels. So all children are equally subjected to a barrage of EMF waves, not only from the natural source of the sun, but through constant contact with electronics. If they don’t use this valuable source of information given to them, they are left behind in the learning curve. Nobody wants that for their child.
What Is So Dangerous About EMF Exposure in Children?
In a study on the effects of EMF exposure on neurotransmitters in newborn rats - showed that increased cell phone radiation caused coinciding increases in Histamine, Dopamine, Adrenalin and adrenaline - as well as a decrease in Serotonin and Melatonin.
Let’s look at the following facts about messing around with just a few of these hormones:
- Dopamine controls brain communication. Too much can lead to Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, addiction and Schizophrenia.
- Serotonin in the brain impacts mood levels - such as anxiety and happiness. If there are low levels of Serotonin, this can cause poor memory, bad moods, sleep difficulties, low self-esteem and aggression - even bouts of depression.
- Melatonin is the sleep hormone that keeps our body in a regular sleep cycle and Circadian Rhythm (a central conductor to your brain that coordinates a variety of cycles and processes happening inside your body) Without proper sleep patterns, our bodies deteriorate to disease levels. www.saatva.com
Disruption of these hormones can also cause the brain to enter varying states of mental illness. NOT the type of lessons we want our children to have.
EMF Exposure and Children’s Brain Development
Adolescent Brain Cognitive Study (ABCD) found through their preliminary data, that increased screen time - including cell phone use - can affect:
- A child’s psychology
- Thinking patterns
- Sleep cycles
- Shortened attention span
- Potential increase of violent or aggressive behavior
Brain scans of children with excessive screen time show premature thinning of the cortex.
*The cortex is the outer layer of the brain. It is involved in progressing different types of information from all 5 senses. Premature thinning of the cortex indicates that the children are maturing earlier due to excessive use of cell phones - and this is not ideal for healthy maturation.
Why does this affect children more than adults?
When we look at the anatomy of a brain, it is noted that children’s brains are smaller and their skulls are much thinner than an adult’s. Therefore, if radiation sinks 3 inches into your head, a child with a smaller head and thinner skull bone means that the radiation will penetrate deeper and affect more mass of their brain.
There is an ongoing debate whether or not cell phone use causes cancer - although, more and more studies are leaning towards the need for more caution and safety measures.
IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has now classified radio frequency (RF) as a possible carcinogen, even though it is considered an Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field, (ELF-EMF). Radio frequencies are listed low on the EMF spectrum due to the non-ionizing properties it has. Meaning that it does not have the tendency to remove an ion from atom particles in the organic matter it comes in contact with - as opposed to ionizing properties of high EMF radiation as in dangerous gamma rays and ultraviolet rays from the sun, which do remove ions from atoms it touches.
Although cell phones are regarded as ELF-EMFs, the length of time and close proximity we use such gadgets is what causes them to become a health hazard.
Bluetooth/earbuds use EMF radiation to transfer sound from electronic devices such as your cell phone or computer to the earpiece.
This is an example of ELF-EMF - or very low intensity radio radiation. But since they are against your skull and even inside the ear itself, there is no buffer to protect an adult skull and brain, let alone a child’s much smaller and thinner skull.
Wired headphones are much safer to use since they use no WiFi or EMF except through an insulated wire to transmit the sound. (Wired also emits radiation, but at a significantly lower scale).
There is also a concern of loss of hearing with wearing earbuds with no protection. New protections such as WaveBlock™ stickers on the earbuds direct the radiation away from the head instead of directly into the brain.
Since radiation accumulates over time in our tissues, the earlier a child starts using this form of technology the more they will accumulate - even more than current adults who only began using bluetooth and earbuds less than 20 years ago.
The increase of brain tumors in children has increased exponentially with the high use of cell phones and gadgets with earbuds. To this, the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) and other health organizations have made some suggestions for parents of children and adolescents to assist in safe usage of our modern gadgets:
- Parents should not allow their children 6 years of age and under to use technical gadgets - even for educational value - since the ages 0 - 6 are the most critical for the development of brain functions and hormonal balance. It also tends to distract from “real world” experiences.
- Ages 6-12, tweens and teens should have limited screen time. This must be closely monitored by parents and responsible adults. (Too much screen time can promote social awkwardness and deter emotional intelligence, leading to more frequent bouts of anxiety.) It has been suggested that 1 hour screen time at a time is ideal - giving the brain and eyes a break from the screen glare.
- Remove electronic gadgets from their rooms - especially at night, when it can deter a healthy sleep pattern.
- Less activity promotes greater possibility of obesity in children…and adults!
- Use alternatives to tech entertainment, like books, board games and outdoor activities.
- Limit headphone and earbud use, or use protective EMF blockers that can be applied directly to the earbuds such as in WaveBlock earbud wraps.
- While sleeping, keep the cell phone a few feet away from the body.
- When streaming audio or video, keep the device away from the body and head. Use of protecting blockers such as WaveBlock, will significantly reduce the EMFs absorbed - even in close proximity to the brain - since it reverts the damaging rays away from the head instead of inside and through the brain.
- Use airplane mode for gaming for your child. This reduces the EMF output.
- When talking on the phone, use either the speaker mode or a headset instead of holding it next to your head - or, again, a blocker to deflect the radiation away from the head and body.
- Don’t use a cell phone while holding a baby in your lap.
- Do not carry your cell phone in your baby carrier - but place it in a location as far away from the baby as possible, like a purse NOT in the carrier.
- All manufacturers of devices direct that the cell phone be at least 5 millimeters, or 1/4” away from the body or brain.
- With the iPhone 6 - it is advised to keep a cell phone at least 10 millimeters or 1/2” away from your body or head.
- Use the text feature instead of the call feature when possible. It emits a much lower EMF.
- Avoid making phone calls inside of metal-enclosed spaces such as cars, elevators, trains and buses. (The metal obstruction will make the cell phone work harder to get a signal causing a higher output of EMFs.)
Protect Your Children
These precautions can help us enjoy our many gadgets while protecting our children, and ourselves from the possibility of harm from the additional EMFs produced by them.
Although the research thus far is limited - it is sufficient to know that there is cause for caution and common sense.
It is gratifying to see that there are products being created for our protection.
Be smart about using our smart devices with common sense and use those wonderful radiation block products that will assist in preventing the dangerous side of our electronic gadgets.
Experience the relief and security countless other WaveBlock customers have enjoyed - shop here.