Has Your Cellphone Become The Sitter, The Soother or Another Member of the Fam?
With kids at home, the sweet sound of radio silence is all but gone for good. Replaced with reruns of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, bouts of earplug-worthy breakdowns, and sounds so shrill we're sure we're won't last a moment longer-
We've all been there and We get it. So If a phone or iPad is going to help calm the chaos . . .
and hold our kids’ attention for even a single minute, it's quite tempting use it to our advantage; take advantage of the technology that’s meant to makes our lives just a little bit easier. There’s no shame in it. In fact, I truly believe that tech is a blessing in that it provides incredible resources for us, as parents.
But, with all the research coming out to prove the link between tech use and various health issues, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recent advisories, we should at least try to protect our tiny one’s from the danger of too much screen time or improper usage. Right? Look at it this way: We put safety locks on our cabinets, doors, bottles, etc., to prevent harmful accidents. And we do this because we know there’s danger present.
We lather gallons of sunscreen on our kids, to protect them from harmful UV rays.
We feed them organic and strive for a healthy green environment. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the road and to never talk to strangers, because we know the dangers that lurk. We do so many things to safeguard our tots when we know there’s danger in not doing so.
Why should the dangers of EMF radiation be treated with less precaution?
Now, let’s make sure we’re all clear on one thing here. Ok, friends? In no way do I believe that “precaution” translates to eliminating the use of tech in our homes or with our kids. Rather, I support the continued SAFE use of tech. Which makes all the difference.
So, what’s safe?
The American Academy of Pediatrics—a professional association of 60,000+ pediatricians and pediatric specialists—recently issued their highly researched recommendations on Cell Phone, Cell Towers, and Wireless Radiation exposure. Published on the Academy's HealthyChild.org, It advises us to “reduce children’s exposure to cell phones and other devices that emit wireless radiation.”
The report reminds us that,"Children are not just little adults; their growing minds and bodies make them uniquely vulnerable to the effects of the environment around them, including cell phone radiation. Because technology is being adopted by children at younger ages than ever before, it's even more important to investigate if cell phone usage is a health hazard."
The official position taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics is a big move, and one they’re not quiet about. In fact, they’ve sent numerous letters to government officials urging them to help tighten radiation standards for wireless devices and protect pregnant women and children from EMF radiation.
For Kids, This Makes A Ton Of SensePlease feel free to browse the Tech Wellness Wireless and Health Guide where we detail Electromagnetic energy and zero in on Wireless energy specifically. The point is, the energy has been proven without a doubt to have a biological effect. Think of it like smog or a chemical pollutant or toxin, if you could avoid being exposed to it, wouldn't you?
Would you let your kids play next to device that was leaking lead, diesel fumes or DDT?
Well those are a few of the other compounds the World Health Organization has deemed “ Class 2B -possibly carcinogenic to humans.” RF electromagnetic fields aka wireless energy from your cellphone was classified a Class 2B carcinogen by the WHO in 2011.
At Tech Wellness we really like what's referred to as the Precautionary Principle. Basically, this means that because there's research, saying the energy that this powers our cell phones(and all wireless devices)- could be causing health concerns- then we ought to take care when using our cell phones and use them mindfully.
And it's even more so for our kids-
Children's little bodies are different then ours. Their skulls are thinner and the fact that their body systems are rapidly developing makes them more vulnerable to microwave exposures. Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust reminds us that this information is scientifically accepted. She also lead research confirming that because children’s skulls are thinner and tissues of a child’s head, including the bone marrow and the eye, absorb significantly more energy than those in an adult head. The illustration below is from the the research study.
Dr. Bill Sears is my favorite pediatrician ever. He's now Director Of The Sears Wellness Institute and author of 45 books on children's health and wellness issues. Because he's the the amazing Dr. I entrusted my girls care to I asked him to weigh in on this subject. Here's how he feels about children and cellphones:
"I have a policy at my home, and my grand-kids know it well. When they come to visit the first thing they see as they open the door is this sign . . ."
Dr. Bill believes Cellphones are an issue for children not just because of the electromagnetic radiation, but also he advises parents that an environment that includes low-tech playtime as well as limited supervised use of technology is best for the child.
The AAP provides a list of safe cell phone tips for families to adopt. These include:
- Use text messaging whenever possible.
- Use cell phones in speaker mode with a hands-free kit.
- Avoid carrying your phone against your body. (Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing is safe.)
- Never give a child a cell phone for use as a toy or teething item.
- Always fully download movies or shows to your phone before allowing your child to watch them. When they’re watching, switch the phone to Airplane Mode. Tech Wellness has a nice list of WiFi free games for 3 years and older.
And Tech Wellness recommends:
- When holding baby, try to keep the cellphone powered off completely for ultimate safety.
- Airplane mode is safer than on-but there's still magnetic EMF coming from any digital screen.
Try keeping the phone in a cross-body case-which can help you achieve distance from the phone for your baby-but use a long strap so the phone is not right over your abdomen--the radiation plume is strongest at the source
A Good Rule of Thumb: At Least 10 Inches of Distance Between You and your Cellphone
Be aware of where the Phone is when you're near baby. Is it in your hand? Is Baby in the other? Cellphone radiation is strongest as the source and diminishes to much lower levels when it's about 8-10 inches away.
Did you know that no matter what kind of cellphone you use, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy an LG--they all come with a warning. You can find it on the phone or in the manual. But basically they say--in order to stay within our own government safety standards, we should not let that cellphone touch our body. It's true. I have an iPhone 7 plus and here's what Apple tells me:
Here's a video I made a couple of years ago demonstrating what the iPhone manual says.
In my twenty years of research, I’ve tried and tested a ton of products meant to reduce exposure and protect kids. Here are some of my favorites, in case you’re looking to really ramp up your parenting precautions.
Crayon Stylus – A tiny and inexpensive solution to help your kids keep a safe distance when using the phone or iPad
Metal Mesh Stylus- This ones for you Mom and Dad, the metal mesh means you get precise contact with the screen. You get safe scrolling and texting by creating distance between you and your device.
Cross Body Best with wrist strap that let's the phone dangle about 10 inches off your wrist. But, if you're picking up babies it also comes with a long strap allowing the phone's EMF energy to hover around your mid thighs - which is much better than right over your ovaries and uterus, which is the area most crossbody cases cover.
Wireless Switch – A super easy way to power off when you want to rid your home of EMF radiation. Oh, and it reduces energy use so you save on your electric bills. Win-win.
A Healthy Child Begins With A Healthy Pregnancy.
The Baby Safe Project is a great organization that focuses on helping pregnant women understand the potential hazards of wireless raidaiton--especially to a developing baby.
The Project was insipired by the work of Dr. Hugh Taylor, who is the Chair of OBGN and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine. You can watch this video here as he talks about the study he led to get information on if Cell Phone Exposure Could Damage Babies Brains.
Dr. Taylor's findings will inspire any mom to be to be careful with exposing her tummy to wireless radiation:
Mice whose mom's were exposed to cellphones while they were pregnant displayed behavior that was "similar to ADHD or ADD" displaying these types of behavior:
- decreased memory
- more likely to be hyperactive
- relaxed--without a "care" in the world
They even looked at the grown mice's brain activity and found that these exposed brains developed differently than mice that didn't get cellphone exposre.
The pre-frontal cortex of brains who got a 24 hour dose of cellphone radiation had different electrical brain activity.
But--the good newes is that the less hours of cellphone radiation the closer the mice got to normal brain activity.
As parents, let’s empower ourselves with information. The more the better. Luckily, there are countless studies being conducted and solutions being found to reduce the harmful effects of technology. In the close coming years, we’ll find that this topic is part of our daily lives, and so now’s the time to start developing and teaching healthy tech habits.
Speaking Of Healthy Tech Habits
If you want your kids to develop better sensory-motor skills and better reading skills, screens for kids under 3 should be off limits. Dr. Kimberly Young, notes that kids develop better sensory-motor skills playing with real toys and better reading skills off line. Her great Screen Smart guide can help you be the best Tech parent out there. Dr. Young has been researching, teaching and treating Internet Addiction for over 30 years, so we think her ideas are super solid. And for kids of all ages, Dr. Young points out that in order to develop social communication skills and healthy family attachment a tech disconnect is a must. We Love that idea!
If you’d like more information or resources, I’m here to help. It’s my true passion and purpose to educate and protect families in the Digital Age—including my own.