2008 – Kids at 5X Greater Risk for Brain Cancer from Cell Phones. 2009 – French Gov’t Bans Tech Ads to Kids Under 12. 2018 – Still Marketing Tech to Kids.

By B.N. Frank

In 2008, The Independent UK published an article by Geoffrey Lean about research from Sweden that suggested kids and teens were 5X more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones (cell phones and cordless phones).

The study, experts say, raises fears that today’s young people may suffer an “epidemic” of the disease in later life.

The European Parliament had also started urging ministers to call for stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, WiFi and other devices, since children were at more risk because

  1. Their brains and nervous systems are still developing.
  2. Their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner so the radiation penetrates deeper

Additionally – according to Professor Lennart Hardell in Sweden: kids “were also five times more likely to get acoustic neuromas, benign but often disabling tumours of the auditory nerve, which usually cause deafness.”

Cancer, tumors, and deafness.

Dr. David Carpenter, of the State University of New York –also weighed in: “We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use.”

Mr. Lean also reported that despite warnings years earlier by a former government chief scientist, almost nothing had been done to reduce UK kids’ use of mobiles and since 2000 their use had actually more than doubled.

On January 11, 2009, another article written by Mr. Lean announced that France had introduced new laws to discourage kids from using mobile phones.

All advertising of the devices to children under 12 is to be prohibited under the legislation – announced by the Environment Minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, last week – and he will also take powers to ban the sale of any phone designed to be used by those under six.


The clampdown represents the most comprehensive action yet taken by any government worldwide. It contrasts sharply with the stance of British ministers, who have largely ignored the recommendations of an official report nine years ago that people aged under 16 should be discouraged from using mobiles, and that the industry should be stopped from promoting them to children. Since then their use by the young has almost doubled, so that nine out of 10 of the country’s 16-year-olds own a handset.

An advertising campaign had been launched in Lyon, France aimed at discouraging adults from buying mobiles for children as Christmas presents: “Let’s keep them healthy, away from mobile phones!”

He noted that the year before, France’s official Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety said that parents should not give small children mobiles. And France’s Health Ministry urged using them in moderation.

Also included:

  1. Toronto’s Department of Public Health advised that children under eight should only use mobiles in emergencies and teens should limit calls to less than 10 minutes.
  2. The Russian Ministry of Health advised that young people under 18 should not use these devices.
  3. Israel’s Health Ministry advised caution.

Many years have passed since 2009 and there are more digital, electronic, and wireless devices, products, and infrastructure than ever before.

In May, it was reported that brain tumors kill more UK children than any other cancer.

Last week in France, scientists requested the immediate recall of millions of cell phones after government data revealed that 9 out of 10 phones tested exceed regulatory limits and what manufacturers had claimed.

Over the years, there have been warnings about mobile phone radiation and other sources of WiFi exposure– especially in regard to kids.  Some examples include:

  1. 2010 GQ Magazine
  2. 2010 NBCNews.com
  3. 2011 CNN
  4. 2012 “Cell Phone Right to Know” Act
  5. 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics
  6. 2014 Berkeley Cell Phone “Right to Know” Ordinance
  7. 2015 NBC “The Today Show”
  8. 2017 National Institutes of Health
  9. 2018 CBSNews.com
  10. 2018 Daily Mail UK
  11. 2018 NPR
  12. 2018 The Telegraph UK

There have also been warnings from cell phone manufacturers to shareholders – not customers – that they may eventually be held liable for the harm their products may have caused.

Even though tech inventors have limited their own kids’ use and sent them to “low tech schools”  – marketing digital and wireless technology to public school systems is big business.

Still – marketing cell phones and other wireless WiFi technology to kids and everyone else is only increasing.  Even Sesame Street markets tech to kids.  It’s heartbreaking to see Elmo, Grover, and the gang being included in this.  That’s not the Sesame Street that I remember.

The good news is that more schools around the world are finally trying to reduce if not eliminate WiFi altogether as well as cell phone use by students.

The bad news is that as almost 45% of kids are addicted to screens now.  That’s actually getting more attention than harm posed by radiation exposure from technology.  And whether we want it or not, more tech seems to be on its way sooner than we think.

Trying to reduce tech use by kids is like “taking candy from a baby.”  How can we expect children to immediately understand that technology may be harming them when it has been endorsed by adults, businesses, and the media as safe, educational, fun, and even healthy?

How much longer before we all make more effort to use “The Precautionary Principle” with technology – in regard to children  – and everyone else?

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