So should you really get your six-year-old that chillin’ shiny iPad (or her own cell phone)? After all, celebrity offspring such as Suri Cruise have been photographed using one. Dr. Devra Davis from the Environmental Health Trust says no!
So should you really get your six-year-old that chillin’ shiny iPad (or her own cell phone)? After all, celebrity offspring such as Suri Cruise have been photographed using one. Some schools are handing them out to their students. What harm could it do to a kindergartener to have such a cool, hot gadget -- especially one where you can have hundreds of neat applications geared toward children?
According to the Environmental Health Trust, these devices come with safety warnings that few ever read. The kicker is this, the public interest charity warns: All safety warnings for cell phones (e.g., “keep 5/8 inch from the body”) are based on a large fellow with a big head who talks less than half an hour a day. The average toddler’s head weighs about half as much as the one for whom standards have been set. Not surprisingly, a child’s head absorbs twice the radiation through his thinner skull and more fluid brain.
Bone marrow in the child’s skull absorbs 10 times more microwave radiation than does an adult. “That in mind, it’s scary that any parent would allow the use of a cell phone near their child’s head. “That in mind, it’s scary that any parent would allow the use of a cell phone near their child’s head,” he agency’s founder, Dr. Devra Davis, who has detailed cell phone safety in her latest book, “Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family”(Penguin Group).
Read the Fine Print
As for the iPad, it needs to be handled carefully since the device is made of breakable glass-a detail that might escape small children tapping away on it. Also, an increasing number of youngsters have cardiac health issues that have yet to be diagnosed, and a growing number of them actually have high blood pressure and cholesterol. “So what’s the safe distance to keep microwave radiation for those with growing heart, brain, ovaries or gonads who seem to be healthy? Nobody knows, because all of the models that are used apply just to the big guy’s brain and body,” warns Dr. Davis.
Another iPad warning says, “a small percentage of people may be susceptible to blackouts or seizures (even if they have never had one before) when exposed to flashing lights or light patterns such as when playing games or watching videos... Discontinue use of iPad and consult a physician if you experience headaches, blackouts, seizures, convulsion, eye or muscle twitching, loss of awareness, involuntary movement, or disorientation. To reduce risk of headaches, blackouts, seizures and eyestrain, avoid prolonged use, hold iPad some distance from your eyes, use iPad in a well-lit room, and take frequent breaks.”
Consumers can find this and more yourself on the iPad safety pamphlet. Dr. Davis believes whoever wrote this probably had in mind the adult who can fork over $400-$500 for the iPad. Yet nowadays even babies and toddlers are learning to read from wired devices and falling asleep to white noise played from phones placed under their pillows. A child’s brain, healthy or otherwise, is cased in a thinner skull; that’s why they absorb more microwave radiation. The brains of children with neurological disorders may be more vulnerable to damage than their healthy friends and family members.
The iPad safety advice doesn’t consider these issues, but does include information about exposure to radio-frequency energy. The pamphlet notes, “If you are...concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad WiFi +3G in wireless mode...and by placing more distance between your body and iPad Wi-Fi +3G.” Children cannot keep “more distance” between themselves and these devices; their arms are too short. Few realize that the iPhone comes with such directions and advice.
“Those clamoring to have their kids’ holiday stockings stuffed with the latest electronic gadgets would do well to look into these warnings before buying one,” advises Dr. Davis.
The Environmental Health Trust is making available information for parents to print and distribute to their local schools, day care centers, mommy-and-me-groups, stroller groups and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings.
For a free brochure, please click here. You can also access more information on volunteering and donations at www.ehtrust.org.
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Ho Ho. No!! Why You Shouldnt Buy An IPad for Your Six-Year-Old
December 15, 2010 at 14:47 PM EST