Children, Teens and Electronics

By Kerry Crofton, PhD.

Does your family life center around electronics?

It does for one of my colleagues:

Many of these gadgets are in my own wireless-filled home. My husband is almost proud of his ‘crackberry’ habit. I’m wondering if this may be why he is getting headaches and dizzy spells.

Other concerns: cell phones for safety, video games for activity?

Many parents feel safer knowing their children/teens carry cell phones: you know where they are, and in case of an emergency they can call for help. The kids text, surf the Internet, and play an array of video games.

How many minutes, or hours, a day do your children spend gaming? Do you know?

The games that get them up off the couch and firing away at the screen are great exercise, some believe.

Parents may rationalize it’s a real workout and keeps them off the streets. Unbeknownst to most parents, the kids are getting a lot more from this rapid-fire obsession, and many are becoming addicted.

Young people often sleep with cell phones under the pillow to catch that secret call, or text message. Maybe this is why many have trouble getting to sleep and getting up for school? Who wants to sleep when you can twitter?

Dr. Hans Scheiner, a physician with a complementary medicine clinic in Germany told me:

Children and young people can become physiologically addicted to EMR. So excessive cell phone use and wireless computer games are not just an addictive habit, or a behavioral issue. EMR opens the blood-brain barrier in the same way as alcohol and drugs. This can give a feeling of euphoria, and when you try to get them away from the game they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, as you may know if you’ve tried to reduce your child’s computer/gaming time and cell phone use.

Dr. Olle Johansson offers us this concise summary of concern:

The radiation emitted by mobile phones, and other wireless communication devices, has been shown to damage DNA – leading to possible mutations and cancer development, and is linked to impairments to immune function and neurological diseases and functions – including cognition and behaviour, as well as affecting fertility and reproduction.

This is why I urge you to keep reading through the next section of focusing on our children and teens and the health risks facing their wireless generation.

Please remember the plan detailed in Wireless Radiation Rescue shows you how to take effective steps to reduce those risks.

Children and Teens on Cell Phones and Cordless Phones

Consider this study from a leading researcher: in September of 2008, the Swedish oncologist, Professor Lennart Hardell, presented new evidence – an analysis of data from one of the biggest cancer risk studies – which shows that:

children and teenagers are five times more likely to get a certain kind of brain cancer – glioma – if they begin using cell phones before the age of 20. The extra risk from using cordless phones was found to be almost as high.

When this story was published in the Canadian press, a spokesman for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association told the public:

Government agencies responsible for compiling and analyzing research – including Health Canada and the World Health Organization – continue to say that the evidence that is out there, that has been reviewed for years and years and years, says there is no demonstrated risk for human health.

Health Canada’s response was: “currently we see no scientific reason to consider the use of cell phones as unsafe. There is no convincing evidence of increased risk of disease.” (Excerpted from an article by Sarah Schmidt, CanWest News Service)

Hardell’s research shows risks also increased with the number of hours of use, the intensity of the phone’s power, and the younger the child was when starting to use cell phones.

As you know, the children of today will be exposed for decades longer than those of us who got our first mobile in our thirties or forties.

Studies from two other European labs, published in Physics in Medicine and Biology (June 7, 2008) show that young children’s brains absorb twice as much radiation from a cell phone as the brains of adults.

Dealing with my children, and others who seem “hard-headed”, it’s difficult to believe, but it turns out that children also have thinner skulls and smaller heads than adults, so radiation can penetrate more deeply into the brain matter…

Dr. Davis explains:

Few parents know that radio-frequency signals reach much more deeply into children’s thinner and smaller brains than ours – a fact established through the pioneering work of Professor Om P. Gandhi, the leader of the University of Utah’s electrical engineering department.

In 2004, standards became looser, because industry modelers decided to use a new approach – basically doubling the amount of radio-frequency that could reach the brain of an adult and quadrupling that reaching a child’s.

The brain of a child doubles in the first two years of life and keeps on developing until their early 20s.

Professor Gandhi no longer works with the cell-phone industry and none of his grandchildren uses a cell phone.

The researcher Dr. George Carlo also pointed out:

From a physiological point of view, children are more susceptible to damage because their cells are differentiating more. The consequences of disrupting cell differentiation are potentially devastating, making it a medical necessity to examine wireless networks in hospitals schools, homes, apartments, and communities.

In the spring of 2009, scientists in Europe and the USA were endorsing the BioInitiative Report and calling for world-wide health protection agencies and governments to urgently comply.

The following precautionary actions were proposed:

  • children under 16 should only use cordless and mobile phones in emergencies;
  • no Wi-Fi, WiMAX, or other wireless networking, be placed in homes, schools, or public areas; and
  • conduct independent, widely publicized, frequent audits to ensure base stations do not exceed newly warranted, biologically based standards.

(Johansson, Olle, 2009. The London Resolution. Pathophysiology. In Press.)

How Can We Limit Our Teens’ Risky Behaviors?

This generation is hard-wired to wireless gadgets. And most of their age group has never been prone to accepting adult advice.

When I was buying a pair of shoes the other day, the young sales person was working his cell phone every few minutes. I felt compelled to ask him if he had heard about health hazards.

The look he gave me wasn’t quite the adolescent eye-roll I get from my own children, but it was certainly an expression of disbelief. “Not really interested”, he shrugged, “I use this cell phone for everything.”

I consulted with Dr. Allison Rees, an expert in parent-teen communication for her advice on how we can approach this challenge;
this is coming up with our Action Plan in Strategy 4.

Professor Olle Johansson offers some sobering thoughts:

Children/teens may be more vulnerable due to the permeability of the skull, and maybe the risk will turn out to be equally large for all ages. But, much more importantly, the effect on children is much more serious for mankind since it hits us at our ‘roots’ rather than at the ‘end-branches’, the elderly. As our knowledge stands right now, interaction with fertility, the immune system capacity, shattering of the DNA, or impaired learning and intelligence, will be much more dangerous than the extra cases of cancer.

Of course, for anyone getting cancer, or being a relative to a cancer victim, they will suffer tremendously, no doubt about that. But, just considering mankind, as a species, we can lose a few, but not everyone.

In 2010 Professor Joel Moskowitz of University of California Berkeley combined information from ALL studies ever done on brain tumors and cell phones and found “consistent evidence that heavy cell phone use (could be as little as 30 minutes daily) for a decade or longer increases brain tumor risk at least 30%.”

As you can see, researchers are telling us that with ten years of cell phone use the risk increases anywhere from 30 -140%. If you also have a mobile device powered on while sleeping, or a cordless phone nearby, the elevated risk may be alarming. How about a bedside wi-fi multi-function router/alarm clock/cell phone recharging station?

As concerned as we are about their generation, we must also remember the tragedy of adult brain cancers, as Ellie Marks warns us.

As with most of life’s calamities, we assure ourselves, “Not my family.”

I have just returned from the standing-room only ‘Celebration of Life’ of a truly marvelous man and witnessed the tragedy that can strike a man and his young family.

Michael inspired everyone who met him with his humour, modesty and grace – before and after his diagnosis. Even with a scar on the side of his bald head; even when he could no longer walk, he greeted each person, and each situation, with an ear-to-ear smile, radiating kindness. He accepted each day with joyful zest, and always put others first, even toward the end of his journey when he was utterly dependent on them. His wife with such courage, and his two young children with such promise, brought tears to our eyes and somehow hope to our hearts, as they remembered the love and laughter that he brought to them. Michael was 42.

I am sure he and his wife never thought this could happen to their family. We seldom do. And this is what keeps us from taking the proactive steps that could protect us. People often tell me, “Yes, but, my son (husband, daughter) would never give up the cell phone .. on it all the time.. has to have it for work.”

There is, however, something suddenly compelling about a positive biopsy. I know from working with cardiac patients how motivating ‘a bolt from the blue’ like a heart attack can be. The ones who survived.

I have talked personally with most of these experts, made a lot of changes in my life, and experienced a lot of benefits. And I have had time to try and come to terms with this, and still find it hard to swallow and digest, so I empathize if you are choking on it…

…Risks at Your School?

A concerned mom wrote to me asking what she could do about the cell tower antenna on top of the hill near her young children’s school, as the principal reassured her that, “The levels in the schoolyard were well within the government safety standards.”

Yes, we have heard that many times. I told her about the information on our website and suggested she show it to the school, and to other parents. Who better to fight for the wellbeing of our children than us, the parents……We can turn this around.

Never underestimate the impact of a grass-roots groundswell, or the protective dedication of parents and grandparents, when we realize our children are in danger. We are not so blinded by shiny new electronics, convenience or profits. We will get regulations based on the biological effects, and be successful in our awareness campaign.

And we will discover more friends of the future. These are rare in the wireless maelstrom, but shining examples of what we can achieve.

…A friend of the future and our healthy digital kids

Principal Replaces Wireless with Wired Internet – November, 2010

As a school principal, I see the health and safety of our children as a non-negotiable responsibility. Although there is far from universal agreement as to the dangers of wireless technology, and there are many with vested interests in its continued use, evidence of harm is extensive.

The default position must therefore be on the side of safety. One wouldn’t consider using a chemical substance without knowing for absolute certainty that it could cause no harm, even if many people considered it safe and it had many benefits.

After receiving excellent information, I immediately removed all wireless technology from our school and banned the use of cell phones within our building. In our older classes, every child has a laptop, which connects to the internet through one of several hard-wired internet connections. We have advanced technology without any of the dangers of wireless radiation.

Kristin Cassie, Principal, Roots & Wings Montessori Place, Surrey, BC

Waking Up

If you’re still reading along here with me, I imagine you’re getting a good sense of the concern. I realize this… throws a lot at you. Please don’t [stop reading] now! There is also progress in the evidence, and the many things you can do. With any wake-up call, including the morning alarm (not, I hope, from your cell phone), it is tempting to roll over and go back to sleep. Let’s keep going for all those we love.

Some days, I wish I could walk away from this. Then I see a child pressing a hot pink cell phone against her head, a baby in the arms of someone on a cordless phone, or a person lying on a heating pad.

As you know, many people will have to mull this over; others act quickly.

A take-action kind of mom I know got the message about wireless networks right away, “That’s it, I’m ripping that router out of our house and going back to our Ethernet connection. It worked fine.”

I did point out that the risk is not yet a scientific certainty. She shot back, “With my children, I don’t wait for that.”

A grandmother also woke up on the spot, “My son put this wireless thing in my house so he could get his email in the living room. What about their home and my grandchildren? Their bedrooms are full of electrical things. I’m calling him right now.”

Another parent, whose child has autism symptoms, spontaneously hugged me when I told her that many of these children were thriving in a low-EMR environment…

Let’s not fall into the extremes of ignoring this, or becoming anxious. We…[also] must not forget that there are many health-enhancing electro-magnetic fields. Some are known as life force, chi – the healing energy in us, and around us. We generate our own bioelectrical field, which is inherently in harmony with the energies that surround us in the natural world. To reconnect with these is another good reason to push back from the computer and step outside.

Acupuncturists, and many other practitioners of energy medicine, work with our inner energetic flow to encourage our innate self-healing mechanisms.

In later strategies, we will look at these natural energies and the healing benefits of these traditions. The key, as in many things, is balance. We can withstand a certain amount of EMR and other toxicity, as long as our innate wellbeing is not overwhelmed. Our basic healthiness and ability to heal are miraculous beyond measure…

We industrious human beings created this electro-pollution, and we can reverse it. We will meet this Radiation Rescue Challenge™, for all of our children.

This article has been excerpted from various sections of Wireless Radiation Rescue, © 2011 by Kerry Crofton, Ph.D.; HMDI has reprinted it with permission from Kerry Crofton.

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