Jerry and I were walking through the market some time last week when we noticed a little girl–probably three years old–toddling beside her mother and talking animatedly into a pink cell phone. Jerry and I smiled at each other and at the adorable child who was deep in conversation with someone…or perhaps with no one.

I’m unsettled about children and cell phones, about the necessity of the phones and about their safety. But a known problem in older people is that they may become “set in their ways,” have difficulty embracing change, and suffer frustration at advancement and changes in social mores. Acknowledging my 🙂 (slightly) advancing years, and being definitely of the mind that I do not want to be such a one–an aging person who fails to move with the times and who is lacking in progression–I persistently evaluate my comprehension and judgment in these arenas. (I understand, though, that if my perception has declined, I may be unaware of the deficiency, and thus, no matter how well intentioned, I may judge in error.) Having made this disclaimer, and knowing my thoughts may arise to a great extent because of my generational history, I want to talk about about children and cell phones.

Two of my small grandchildren own cellphones. Chloe is twelve–soon to be thirteen–and Nathaniel is eleven. Chloe has possessed a phone for several months now–maybe a year–and Nathaniel has owned one a few months. (Actually Nathaniel is not a cell phone owner at the moment, for he has misplaced his.) 😦 Rebecca gave much thought to providing Nathaniel with a phone, and did not quickly make the decision. Her reasoning for this encompasses safety and convenience. I have not talked much with Chloe’s parents about her having a phone, but suspect much the same rationale applies with them. I suspect the children involved view having their own phone as being fun, convenient, and as maybe a status indicator…I’m guessing about those reasons.

Over recent years, I have read reports that indicate cell phone use may be detrimental to our health, perhaps even to the extent of causing brain tumors and other brain damage. Today I read this report that was headlined as saying that “mobile phones are more dangerous than smoking.” I take such warnings with a “grain of salt,” and with a fair amount of skepticism. I’m not one to drastically curtail my intake of eggs or sugar or tap water or artificial sweeteners because of various studies, and Jerry and I concur that moderation in all these areas is indicated. Having said that, I believe this issue of possible damage by cell phones is something to be strongly considered. There are more than 3 billion cell phone users worldwide. Read the whole article, then I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Is this a bunch of phooey, or is there enough information that we should proceed with caution? You parents–do your children have their own cell phones? Why? Why not?

 Young people are at particular risk from exposure to radiation. From The Independent

Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take “immediate steps” to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Read the entire article here.

Dr. Manny comments on the subject here.

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