Technology has invaded every corner of our lives at breakneck speed. And there’s no doubting that tablets, smartphones and the web can be a godsend for parents. But is all this exposure harmful to our kids’ health? One country has become so concerned about the possible side effects of electromagnetic radiation that it’s taken radical action to protect children.
France has passed a law that bans wifi in all the country’s daycare centres and nurseries. It has also imposed strict rules on schools – wifi must be disabled unless students are involved in “digital education activities”.
The new law, passed by a majority vote in January, also forces mobile phone makers to recommend the use of hands-free kits to all users, and bans any advertising aimed specifically at children under 14.
The move is a precautionary measure – in part a reaction to some research that has suggested electromagnetic radiation may be harmful to young people. Inhabitots reports some studies have shown exposure to high-powered wifi environments may contribute to attention problems, cardiac irregularities, seizures and fatigue, among other problems. Concerns about screen addiction and impact on kids’ posture are well documented. Other studies have shown that kids’ brains may absorb twice as much mobile phone radiation as adults’ brains.
Some Australian parents are now pushing for similar laws in Australia, to be on the safe side. Mum Kristy Woodwin tells Seven News she fears the worst after attending a conference on electromagnetic radiation. “I would hate for electromagnetic radiation to be the asbestos of the 21st Century,” she says. Another parent, Elizabeth Maddres, says: “I believe we should follow France and under three years of age in childcare centres, daycare centres it should be banned.”
Many people across the world have reported signs of “electromagnetic sensitivity”. The World Health Organisation says while not a recognized syndrome as such, reported symptoms include redness, tingling and burning sensations of the skin, fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances.
Several studies are under way to better determine the effects of low-level exposure to electromagnetic radiation. In the meantime, Australian health authorities say wifi is no proven risk to health. But, reports Seven News, families are advised to keep wireless routers, mobile phones and cordless phones away from sleeping areas.