What is the appropriate age for a child to have a cell phone? Just a couple decades ago, the mobile technology was only in use by a small percentage of the population. But cell phone use has grown exponentially in a relatively short amount of time, and it’s not just adults who are using them. Children as young as 10 (and sometimes younger) are given cell phones, and some experts say this could be putting them at a heightened risk of brain tumors and cancer.
The connection between cell phone use and increased risk of brain tumors has been made several times, with some nations taking it more seriously than others. In Australia, the link between cell phones and possible brain tumors in children is being taken quite seriously. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is distributing a fact sheet to all families purchasing cell phones, warning against the dangers of radiation and their potential link to brain tumors. They are urging parents to limit cell phone use by children and teens and telling them to keep the phone away from their head while in use.
Radiation put off by cell phones has been classified as a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization in the U.S., although some might say the U.S. is focusing less on the issue at hand – despite saying that cell phones are in the same cancer-causing category as lead and engine exhaust just a couple years ago. While we don’t allow our children to play with pesticides or diesel, we readily hand them cell phones.
Related Read: Why Children Should LIMIT Cell Phone Use
Just a few Reasons to Limit Cell Phone Use (Especially for Children)
- Researchers with a study released in July 2011 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute said they found no connection between cell phone use and the risk of brain tumors in children. But immediately after, they were lambasted by the Environmental Health Trust, who said their study included many statistical errors and their conclusion was flawed. Rather than not showing a link, the Trust determined the study actually proved a 115% increased risk of brain tumors in children who used cell phones over those who didn’t.
“There’s every indication that this study actually found that children have a doubled risk of brain cancer,” said Lloyd Morgan, a senior research fellow of the Trust. “For them to just state that we don’t think there’s a problem is, for me, quite mystifying.”
- Another study conducted at the Örebro Hospita in Sweden revealed that 10 years of cellphone use resulted in an average 290% increased risk of brain tumor development. Interestingly, the tumor development was found on the side of the head in which the cellphone was most used.
- But the risk of developing a brain tumor isn’t the only consequence. One report shows just how damaging EMFs can be for children, revealing that due to developing organs, lower bone density of the skull, lower body weight, and a less effective blood brain barrier, children are very vulnerable to cell phone radiation. This is especially true for unborn children, with research showing that microwave radiation emitted by cell phones negatively influencing fetal brains.
A smaller brain means a bigger risk. While there may be a heightened risk for brain tumors among cell phone users of all ages, younger people have smaller brains with more connective tissue than mature brains. In other words, they can absorb up to three times as much radiation.