Kid Safety Alert - Is a WiFi hotspot safe for children?
We live in wireless times. Although a WiFi hotspot is one of modern living’s conveniences that we can’t live without, is it actually safe for our kids?
Like every typical nursing mom, my smartphone is my best friend. Whether it’s connected via 3G/LTE or to our home WiFi hotspot, my smartphone has afforded me countless hours of entertainment and distraction while my little one is latched on. In the silence of our bedroom, while my baby girl is sleepfeeding on my breast, I find solace in Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. And repeat.
And like other parents raising kids in this wired world, I’ve often wondered, "Should I actually worry about all this WiFi around my baby?"
A WiFi hotspot or router, just like every electronic device, produces electromagnetic fields (EMF) which are measured ranging from low to high in frequency. Scientists, as well as the World Health Organization, have measured the range of radiation exposure from a WiFi hotspot as being between 0.002% and 2% of recommended maximum levels – far less than the EMF people receive from TVs, FM radios and even cordless home phones. The British Health Protection Authority has also stated WiFi emits only a fraction of the EMF of the cellphone.
So a WiFi hotspot is safe, right? Well, yes. And no.
Being exposed to wireless technologies and WiFi signals from a very early age, children are naturally more vulnerable to EMFs because of their developing immune systems and thinner skulls. While signals from a WiFi hotspot are deemed too low to cause any known major damage, there still has yet to be a comprehensive, long-term study on their effect on kids.
What experts DO know is that microwave radiation from cellphones, tablets and other handheld devices is what we parents should worry about. Twenty laptops and two routers’ EMF is roughly equivalent to one mobile phone. It has been estimated that you get a bigger dose of radiation from a 20-minute cellular phone call than from a year’s worth of WiFi exposure.
Mobile wireless devices are big sources of biohazards to the mind and the body. According to a 2012 to 2014 study conducted by the BioInitiative Working Group, there’s a real connection between malignant brain tumors and cellphone use. The fact is, scientists know that exposure to the radiation emitted by mobile devices impairs our natural cellular repair process, which may eventually lead to cancer – hence, the clamor by some health organizations to declare mobile devices as a known carcinogen.
How can you decrease EMF exposure from a WiFi hotspot or other wireless technology? See tips on the next page.
How to Decrease EMF Exposure
Even though a number of reputable studies have concluded that a WiFi hotspot poses no harm to children, it’s still good for parents to be vigilant. To decrease EMF exposure, follow these tips:
- Make sure that the WiFi hotspot or router is one meter away from your body or your child’s.
- Don’t use your laptop on your lap; use a table or a tray instead.
- Limit tablet time with your kid, and stop them from depending too much on your smartphone for entertainment.
- Avoid letting your child sleep with mobile devices like cellphones, tablets, and MP3 players in extremely close proximity.
- Alternatively, you can eliminate WiFi by going switching back to cable internet (probably faster, too).
- For extremely paranoid parents who want to completely eradicate all microwave radiation, there’s always the Faraday Cage, which involves tin foil and major science geekery.
Technologically speaking, it’s going to be a whole different ball game for our children; who knows what kind of leaps and bounds science and technology will be making in the next 5, 10 and 50 years. And even if more people in the Philippines die from bus accidents than WiFi hotpsot radiation, it surely won’t hurt for us parents to be extra cautious.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEL LOZANO
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