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5 Tips to a Safer Cell Phone for Kids

 

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February 7, 2017

Did you know that the average age for a child getting their first cell phone is just 6 years old? Cell phone safety is important for all of us, but it’s especially important for our children. Getting your first cell phone at a young age may come with health problems later in life, many which we don’t know yet.

But before you think I’m going to tell you to get rid of all the cell phones in your house, that’s not what I’m going to do! Full disclosure: I love my cell phone, and although I did fight it until my kids were a little older, to be honest, I love my kids having a cell phone because it’s so much for us to check in, wherever they’re at.

What I do want to talk about is how to use cell phones in a safer way. The good news is, that if you have to use a cell phone or tablet, there are some things you can do to help keep your family safer. But first, a few more reasons to protect your family:

How Phone Radiation Affects Children Differently

The full range of health effects from cell phone exposure aren’t known, especially over the long-term. Children are being exposed at such a young age – it wasn’t until about 10 or 15 years ago that it was normal for us to carry cell phones, let alone all these smart phones, so we are definitely not exposed as long as our children will be!

And just like the toxins we’re exposed to every day, cell phone radiation affects our children differently than it does adults, and studies are showing that children and teens are at greater risk for salivary gland tumors and brain cancer. Their brain tissue is very absorbent, so it’s easier to soak up the radiation that cell phones emit and their skulls are thinner, making it easier for the radiation to be absorbed.

Hyperactivity and Cell Phone Use

If you’re pregnant, you’ll want to follow these 5 tips, too. A 2008 study showed that mothers who used cell phones during pregnancy were 54% more likely to have children who have behavioral issues.

And not only that, it was also found that later on, when those children used cell phones before the age of seven was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry.

Cell Phones and Sleep

Not to mention the issues with sleep! You’ve probably heard to stop using electronics in the couple of hours before bed because they been shown to mess with our sleep cycles. Cell phones, computers, and tablets have a blue light to them, which mimics daylight, so it throws off our body’s natural circadian rhythm. The blue light been shown to suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep.

Losing sleep leads to all sorts of problems, including a suppressed immune system, weight gain, memory problems, and over time, puts us at risk for serious health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

And we all use some sort of technology before bed, right? Whether it’ your cell phone, computer, a tablet, or even a TV, I think it’s safe to say that most of us, including our children, use one of these up until the time we go to bed at night.

But the good news is that there are things we can do to keep our families safer. So while limiting screen time is always a good thing, I have added these simple tips to help you limit your child’s cell phone radiation exposure for those times they do have their phones.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to a Safer Cell Phone for your child (and you!):

  1. Don’t carry your cell phone on you. This means don’t carry – and don’t allow your children to carry – a cell phone in bras, front pockets, or pants pockets if at all possible. So I realize this is much harder for the guys because you don’t get a purse to carry, so if you have to carry it on you, put it on airplane mode. This stops the phone from receiving the signal and from emitting radiation. And girls, even if you have a purse, it doesn’t hurt to keep it on airplane mode as much as possible, too.
  2. Use your phone only when it has full bars, meaning it is getting a full signal.  The fewer the bars, the more radiation because the phone is working harder to get a signal.
  3. Hold the phone away from your ear, on speaker, as often as you can. I’ve read that a safe distance to hold your phone away from your ear is 2 inches.
  4. Sleep with your phone on airplane mode. Many kids (as well as adults!) use their cell phones as alarm clocks and sleep with it close to their heads. Keep it on airplane mode to prevent the phone from emitting radiation while you sleep.
  5. Use an app to block the blue light in the evenings that cell phones, computers, and tablets emit. This turns the screen to a more organge-ish/red to block out the bright “blue light” that can affect sleep.

The “Night Shift” app is part of the new update on iPhones and certain iPads (iOS 9.3 or later) . You can do by going to “Settings,” “Displays and brightness,” then “Night Shift” (see below). It uses your clock and geographic location if you have that turned on to turn your screen into this Night Shift mode if you enable it. You can choose for it to automatically shift from sundown to sunup, or you can schedule the times.

For computers, other cell phones and tablets, use the apps F.lux or Twilight. You can also use orange goggles to block out the blue light if you don’t have the apps.

 

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