Children are increasingly hooked to laptops and smartphones using the ubiquitous Wi-Fi. However, there are few alarming effects associated with this technology. Find out what they are!
By Tasneem Sariya
Wi-Fi is convenient and makes our lives easier. It connects our cell phones, laptops and tablets seamlessly to the Internet, devoid of messy wires, cables and plugs. Besides, you are not tethered to one spot and free to access the Internet while you are on the move. Children are no different from adults. They are constantly glued to their smartphones or tablets, either watching videos stream on their devices or playing addictive video games.
Increasingly, scientists and researchers have raised doubts concerning the safety of Wi-Fi usage and the effect of its exposure on children. They are constantly carrying out dozens of studies to explore the adverse effects of Wi-Fi. In the process, several studies have uncovered varied risks associated with this wireless technology. The results are quite shocking.
Overexposure to electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi routers and signals can apparently affect the health of our children. According to an article published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, children and adolescents are said to be at a higher risk from devices that radiate microwaves. Wi-Fi happens to be one such device. Depending on the level and the length of exposure, the health risks can range from insomnia and dizziness to palpitations and tumours.
Children tend to absorb more radiation because they are still growing and developing physically, their brain tissue is more absorbent, and their skulls are much thinner than adults.
Let us look at some of ill effects of Wi-Fi on children.
Sleeping close to the phone or Wi-Fi router often induces lack of sleep. Electromagnetic waves tend to disrupt sleep and constant exposure to these radiations eventually results in sleep disorder.
Switching off your home router or putting the cell phone away while sleeping may not always help, since our neighbors most probably still have their Wi-Fi switched on. In fact, sleep disorders may also lead to greater health problems, such as, hypertension or depression.
Exposure to electromagnetic radiation can affect the rate of growth of cells, and hence result in delayed development of children. Disturbed or irregular brain activities could also result in impaired learning or other psychiatric or behavioral issues.
Experiments have been carried out, where a set of plants were put away from Wi-Fi routers whereas, another set close to the routers. The result showed that the plants closer to the router hardly grew. Though it is hard to say if the same holds true on human cell development and studies are still in progress, it is best to play safe and try our best to limit our kid’s exposure to radiation.
There are indications that cardiac problems may arise due to radiation exposures. Similarly, many other health issues such as dizziness, eye and headaches, feeling of stress and fatigue can be attributed to the subjection of electromagnetic waves.
If your child is experiencing any such symptoms, it will not be a bad idea to take him away from the Wi-Fi zones, maybe for a holiday to some quiet place, to see if the symptoms subside. Simple ways, such as letting your child watch downloads rather than internet streaming videos may slowly help to bring change.
This is still a debatable study since cancer and tumor take many years to develop coupled with the fact that Wi-Fi and cell phones have become an intrinsic part of our lives only recently, making it difficult to pinpoint to radiation or any one specific cause. Different studies have shown differing results; however, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF (radiofrequency) radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
Though there is no definite proclamation that radiation causes cancer or tumor, and neither is there any consensus of the same, it is fair to assume that there are some risks involved which is why there is pressing need to correlate radiations with cancer in the very first place. This is reason enough for parents to limit Wi-Fi and cell phone exposures to kids.
Separating kids from Wi-Fi would be difficult. However, there are many little things that can help such as:
Although, no studies have been able to determine conclusively that Wi-Fi is responsible for the mentioned health hazards, yet, studies do indicate that constant exposure to radiation can be detrimental to physical health and brain development.
Hence, unless we are completely certain that there are no negative effects, it is best to acknowledge that Wi-Fi radiations may be harmful to our kids and us. This warrants a safer approach and a more responsible way of using Wi-Fi devices.
Also read: Safe Internet Practices For Children
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