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Ho Ho. No!! Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad for Your Six-Year-Old

Dec 14, 2010

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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 they can learn to read,  hear a
lullaby, or get potty training?

© Uwe Annas
Few people appreciate that all of these electronic devices come with safety warnings that few ever read, or that cell phone use can weaken the brain’s protective barrier.  The kicker is this, 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.
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.

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 on the iPad safety pamphlet.  I believe 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 simply cannot keep “more distance”
between themselves and these devices; their arms are too short.

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. The best present a parent can give their child is the gift
of safety. That’s why I’m urging each and every parent on our list to
access and share the potentially life saving tips we offer on cell phone
safety. We are 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 EHT Downloads. You can also access more information on volunteering and donations.

Thank you for sharing this message with all those who care about children’s brains and for supporting safer cell phones.

Environmental Health Trust, December 14, 2010

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