Dangers of Cell Phones for Kids

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Cell phones have made life more convenient in many ways, especially if you have children. You can now reach out to your child if he has a phone to tell him if you are running late. He can call 911 in case of an emergency. Although cell phones may give you peace of mind that your child is always within easy reach, they are not without their problems.

Cancer

Cell phones work by emitting radio frequency (RF) waves, a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. The jury is still out on whether or not non-ionizing radiation can lead to cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Children may be at greater risk for developing brain and other tumors later in their lives because of early and frequent exposure to the RF waves while their systems are still developing, according to the NCI.

Distractions

Using a cell phone distracts children from other tasks at hand, just as an adult driver using a cell phone is distracted from driving. A study published in the February 2009 issue of the journal “Pediatrics” showed that children’s safety was compromised when they talked on a cell phone while attempting to cross a simulated street. While on their phones, children did not pay as much attention to oncoming traffic, began crossing the street later than those not on a phone and had more collisions or near collisions than children who weren’t using a phone.

Behavior Problems

A study published in “Epidemiology” in 2008 suggested that children whose mothers used cell phones while pregnant and who themselves used phones early in life were more likely to have behavioral problems than other children. A follow-up study published in 2010 that used a larger group found similar results: the 17.9 percent of children who were exposed to a cell phone before birth and after were 50 percent more likely to have behavioral problems.

Bullying

In some cases, cell phones make it easier for bullies to attack their victims. A cyber bully can send text messages, often anonymously, to a child. A cyber bully can also attack through email, social networking sites and instant messaging services, which a child can access on his cell phone. According to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health, children who are bullied through text messages or other technologies are more likely to experience depression than those who are bullied in the traditional way. A child who is cyber bullied may get no reprieve from it, since the bullying can reach him whenever through the cell phone.

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