The impact of mobile radiation on children

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The impact of mobile radiation on children

Thursday, 13 June 2024 | Shainy Sharma

The impact of mobile radiation on children

Despite parental warnings, modern kids can’t seem to keep away from cell phones

As we know smartphones are incredibly versatile devices with a wide range of uses that make them indispensable in modern life but the impact of mobile phone usage on children is a topic of increasing concern among parents, educators and several health professionals. Today, mobile devices allow instant communication through calls, text messages, emails and various messaging apps while keeping the people at large connected regardless of their location. This enables easy communication with friends, family, colleagues and businesses. Browsing websites, searching information, accessing news, watching videos and engaging with social media platforms, all from the palm of their hand. While mobile phones provide numerous benefits at the same time, they also pose several potential risks, the impacts of which can be broadly categorized into physical, mental and emotional health, well-being, social development and academic performance. Prolonged exposure to the radiofrequency radiation emitted by mobile phones is a concern, although research is ongoing regarding its long-term health effects. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies this radiation as "possibly carcinogenic," but definitive conclusions about its effects on children are still not established.

Children of today, can develop a dependency on mobile phones, leading to addiction-like behaviours where they spend excessive time on their devices to the detriment of other activities. What leads to the cause of concern is that children absorb more radiation because they are exposed to the same amount of radiation as adults as they have thinner skulls, smaller heads and smaller brains as compared to adults which can lead to digital eye strain, causing symptoms like dryness, irritation and blurred vision. Moreover, the blue light emitted by the screen interferes with the production of melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep) that can lead to difficulties in falling asleep and poorer sleep quality as these emissions fool the brain into not realising that it's nighttime.

Moreover, excessive use of mobile phones also contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, reducing the time children spend on physical activities, which is essential for their overall health and development. High usage of social media and mobile phones has been linked to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness in children. The constant stimulation from mobile phones has made it difficult for children to focus on tasks, potentially leading to attention deficits and decreased academic performance. Not only this, but use of such devices has also reduced opportunities for children to engage in face-to-face social interactions thereby impacting the lack of development of social skills and emotional intelligence.

Every technique and technology have an inherent ideology. With each technological tool that an individual or child adopts, the worldview shifts a little to accommodate it and such tools give credence to one view or value over another.

The only way to mitigate this is parents and guardians encouraging moderate and supervised use of mobile devices, using hands free options for calls and limiting screen time before bedtime. Also, choosing devices with lower Specific absorption rate (SAR) values can help reduce exposure to radiation.

(The writer is an educator, views are personal.)

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