Kids and Cell Phones: Hazard? Part 2

Cell Phones Hazard, Cellphone Radiation Protection

Kids and Cell Phones: Hazard? Part 2

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More helpful than harmful

The researchers found that children speaking on a cell were 43 percent more likely to be hit or to have a close call in the simulated street crossings than kids who weren’t on the phone. They also kept track of how many times a child would look left and right before stepping into the street and found that number fell by 20 percent when a phone conversation was going on.

There was no difference whether the participant was a boy or girl.

One weakness of the study is that it relied on a virtual realty simulator. But, Schwebel says, the simulator has been validated in other experiments in which the researchers compared VR results to tests run in a real world.

Kids don’t need to be banned from chatting on the phone when outside, however. Instead, parents simply should instruct them to finish their conversations before crossing the street.

“I don’t think this means parents should take phones away from their kids,” says Schwebel. “I encourage families to get cell phones for their children. They’re more helpful than harmful, if they’re used in a safe way.”

Other distractions, such as conversations with friends, listening to music, and text messaging, may also cause problems for children in this age group. The University of Alabama researchers expect to study the impact of those types of distractions in the future.

Experts in child safety applauded the cell phone study.

“If you’re talking on a cell phone, you’re not paying as much attention to the environment around you,” says Susan Baker, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore.

Brooke Carlson, a 44-year-old mom from Morgan Hill, Calif., has noticed how riveted her 9-year-old son is when he’s talking on the cell phone. Although she’d never thought of the dangers of crossing traffic while on the phone, Carlson says, “Now that I know about it, it makes total sense.” She plans to have a chat with her child about cell phones and street safety.

The preteen study adds to the mounting evidence that cell phones can be a big problem when mixed with motor vehicles. Other studies have shown that any kind of distraction can adversely impact teen driving, so it’s not surprising that preteens might not do such a good job crossing streets while chatting on the phone, says Dr. Barbara Gaines, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

For younger kids, parents might consider purchasing a phone with a plan that only allows the child to dial up his or her parents, suggests Gaines. That way the cell can be used for emergencies, but not for chatting with friends for hours.

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Cell phones can damage eyes: Study
Prashant Rupera, TNN, Jun 23, 2010

VADODARA/ANAND: While scientists across the globe are still debating whether usage of cell phones results in heart diseases, a new study carried out by scientists at Charotar University of Science and Technology (CHARUSAT) has revealed that mobile phones also affect eyes.

The scientists, who have studied the impact of electromagnetic waves on human eye, say that usage of mobile can also lead to early cataract in lens apart from affecting retina, cornea and other ocular systems of the eye.

“We are in ocean of electromagnetic signals and hundreds of signals are hitting human body every moment. It is affecting all our body parts, but we are not realising it,” says professor Ved Vyas Dwivedi, head of department of ECE at CHARUSAT, who along with dean of the faculty of engineering and technology Y P Kosta and lecturer Dhara Patel carried out the study based on a mathematical model.

“The wavelength of wireless signals (which is about 2 to 2.5 cm) used for mobile phones and other wireless terminals matches with that received by the human eye. The dielectric constant (absorption capacity) of eye tissues is around 70 which is greater than unity (above 50). This means that the eye can absorb electromagnetic energy very quickly,” explains Dwivedi.

During the study, scientists computed the specific absorption rate (SAR) and maximum temperature increase in the eye because of electromagnetic radio frequency fields generated by wireless terminals such as a mobile phones. SAR and temperature rise depend on the distance between eye and radio frequency transceiver (the mobile phone) and the angle between the line of sight and shortest normal path.

“The problem is not that the eye absorbs the energy, but that the heat absorbed by the eye does not get transmitted or radiated out of the body,” says Dwivedi, adding that prolonged usage of mobile phones can affect retina, sclera, lens, cornea as well as vitreous humour which are parts of the human eye.

These scientists have also recommended that a mobile handset should be kept as far as possible from the eye. “It should not be used more than is necessary. A user should avoid use of mobile in rural areas or a car where the cell phone uses more power and the SAR value can be ten or hundred times higher than the normal,” they suggest. This group of scientists is also planning to approach the government in collaboration with a hospital to get license to conduct tests on human to further study mobiles affect on human eye.

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