Today, children increasingly neglect outdoor sports. Chances are, you are likely to find them hooked to their laptops and smartphones using the ubiquitous Wi-Fi.
By Tasneem Sariya
The Wi-Fi has become an integral part of our lives. Beginning with our house, our neighbour’s house, railway platforms, coffee shops, etc., Wi-Fi is everywhere. It connects our cell phones, laptops and tablets seamlessly to the internet without the mess of wires and plugs.
Children are no different. They are constantly glued to smartphones or tablets, with videos or games streaming into the device using Wi-Fi connections. The ease with which information and communication is currently available is wonderful. However, too much of anything is bad. The ills of Wi-Fi, especially on children are today a matter of debate and discussions, with many reports and studies suggesting that we ought to be careful.
Overexposure to electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi routers and signals can 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.
Children absorb more radiation because they are still developing physically, their brain tissue is more absorbent, and their skulls are much thinner than adults.
Let us look at some of negative 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 conclusive studies have been able to prove that Wi-Fi is responsible for the above health hazards, yet, there have been a lot of experiments that suggest towards health and brain development hazards being touted as effects of constant exposure to radiation.
Hence, unless we are certain that there are no ill effects, it is best to acknowledge that Wi-Fi radiations can be harmful more to our kids than us. This warrants a closer and more responsible use of Wi-Fi devices by our children.
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