A Bad Mix – Cell Phones and Children?

Do you remember a time when most people on the roads just drove their car? Let me be more explicit. Do you remember a time when the main activities drivers engaged in were talking to a passenger, singing, and eating or drinking something?

Today it’s not often that I simply see someone driving; a good third or so of the people are talking on their cell phones. Now I realize that my percentage is far from accurate data but the fact that a large number of people talk (via cell) and drive is common knowledge.

Of course the prominence of cell phones goes beyond the streets. You can find cell phones attached to ears everywhere. Little is sacred now; once that little phone rings a quick “excuse me” is the standard protocol. Sometimes I wonder if society is addicted; after all, people seem to take their phones everywhere, even when they are in the company of others. I see it when I walk my son around the neighborhood, other walkers and their cell phones. I’ve been out to eat with acquaintances that interrupt our dinner for their daily touch-base with their aunt. I’ve even accidentally responded to strangers in the grocery store who were looking my way, saying something, yet talking on those headset devices.

The good news for our cell-crazed culture is that a German study recently announced that their decade’s long study found that cell phones were safe for adults. Of course there were caveats: they cannot make conclusions based on more than 10 years of cell phone usage and some cellular activity did change while being “under the influence” of mobile/cell phone radiation. (According to the article, even this information did not dissuade the survey from concluding that cell phones were safe.)

So, the good news is that, as of now, we can continue being a country obsessed with cell phones.

I think it’s important to note though that the study could not make any safety statements regarding children and cell phone usage. Therefore, since there is not evidence one way or another they suggest that children do not use mobile phones.

Although most kids probably aren’t concerned about how healthy it is to use cell phones, as their parents, we have to be. And since having a cell phone is starting to become “the thing” at earlier and earlier ages, we need to pay extra attention to future studies that focus on this population and cell phone exposure. It may just be that we have to tone down our usage of cell phones in order to keep our kids from becoming too eager to start acting like adults at the expense of their health. The question is: could we do it?


Tuffs, A. (2008). Mobile phones do not pose health risk, German survey shows. BMJ, 336(7659), 1461-1461. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a545

  • Can’t agree with you more! Just heard reviews on the news about cellular phone safety and children and the report was that children who used cell phones were at risk for cancer. I can’t recall the study that was done but as parents, we have to control the cell phone usage of our children.

  • There are several tests that can be done to show that cell phone radiation exposure causes adverse biological effects. You can see some of them here:

    The question is how many repeated exposures does one have to endure before these effects translate into a visible and deadly disease. Just because one doesn’t develop brain cancer doesn’t mean that the cell phone radiation is not affecting him or her in some way. There are many people who suffer headaches, nausea, rash and other symptoms when exposed to microwave/radio frequencies.

    And, yes, children are more susceptible because their developing skulls are penetrated more deeply. Their central nervous sytem, immune sytem, and critical organs have not developed and matured sufficiently to withstand environmental toxins for long.

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  • Dr. Naseem Qureshi

    Cell phones should be used by children only when they have some emergency and want to contact their parents or so. Other uses children should understand are of no value but associated with adverse effects in particular if used for a long time in one go.

  • Ajit Kumar

    Different studies conducted on this subject has come out with contradicting reports but the ultimate message which convinces our thinking is–Mobiles are harmful. Its radiation does affect the brain. We are getting addicted to its usage since we find it very convenient. But we must discourage our children to use mobiles.

    The after-effects are very mild so it may reflect after 10years. Do we need to suffer from its ill effects and then look for alternatives? Probably no body wishes to realize its deadly effects.

    In any case, it is advisable to use mobiles only when we cannot lay our hands on land lines.

  • Less Cancer


    Please see the about YouTube where Dr. Devra Davis provides a window into theconcerns of cell phones and cancer.

    The environment of today is the proverbial mirror for human health. Our role is charged with reducing the unnecessary and preventable exposures that have taken on the everyday landscape in our own lives those known to cause cancer and those we suspect to have caused cancer.

    As Dr. Ronald Herberman pointed out in the most recent (first one in 15 years) congressional hearing, in the U.S. today, more than 9 out of every 10 adults use a cell phone,
    a number that has doubled in just the last five years. Worldwide, there are three billion regular cell phone users, many of whom are children. It is important to stress that children are
    not little adults. They are often much more vulnerable to the effects of environmental exposures. For cell phones, this matters, because the skull of children is much less dense than the skull of adults and modeling
    research has shown that cell phone RF signals are absorbed much deeper into the brains of children.
    Check out Dr. Davis YouTube link above
    Bill Couzens, Founder Less Cancer.org

  • cellshopsphones

    On the latest phones. There is now a new feature that will prevent your kids to use it a lot. Or maybe get your kids a plan that is limited for only like 30mins a month or a prepaid phone that has a value of $10 a month to prevent them from using it a lot and only to call their parents and for emergencies. Check calls cell phones for latest cell phones and features.

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J. R. White

J. R. White is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She has over five years of experience in education and pedagogy.

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