Children below 15 years have been advised not to spend more than 30 minutes continuously on mobile phone because exposure to it for a long time could expose them to serious health problems.
The Deputy Director, Radiation Protection Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Joseph Kwabena Amoako, who gave the advice, recommended that if children have to stay on their mobile phones for longer than 40 minutes at a time, it was best to do so using the hands-free kit or break the conversation after 30 minutes and go back to their chat later.
Dr Amoako explained that children were at risk of cancer and their brain activity affected from the long term use of mobile phones because their immune system was not fully developed.
He said in an interview that constant use of mobile phones by children could affect their brain activity.
“Their sleep pattern could be affected because the electromagnetic fields (electrical waves) from the phones will keep interfering with their sleep.
Again, because they stay on the phones for long, they go to sleep rather tired and have little
He further said such children usually woke up so tired and that makes the brain worn out which invariably affects their studies, especially their ability to retain information.
He also stated that studies conducted by the International Agency for Cancer Research have concluded that although the electromagnetic fields from radio frequency (RF) field devices such as mobile phones, tablets, among others may not directly cause cancer, they have the potential of adding to the dangers associated with getting infected with the disease.
‘Children have an underdeveloped neuro system-their brains are still developing and their physiology is also under developed so if they use mobile phones close to their heads, the health impact is much greater than an adult,” he said.
Besides, he said RF-field emitting devices such as mobile phones can cause heating called ‘thermal effect’, explaining that the human body is made up of 70 per cent water and so when one exposes themselves to mobile phones, the electrical waves from the phone tend to disturb the water in the human body, creating a heating effect.
He compared this heating process that occurred in the body as a result of mobile phone usage to one putting themselves in a microwave oven, adding that for a child whose body’s natural way of regulating temperature is underdeveloped, such changes in their temperature could disturb them and lead to some health problems.
How to stay safe
Dr Amoako, therefore, recommended that if children have to use mobile phones, then they should use the hands-free kits and also engage more in sending text messages rather than speaking on the phones for long periods.
For those who love to play games on mobile phones or tablets, he advised that they should put them on flight mode in order to protect themselves from the electromagnetic fields from cell sites which include the tower of telecommunications masts, antennas and other equipment.
Furthermore, he said children should not use phones at enclosed places such as in cars, trains or elevators unless in emergency situations because mobile phones emit more radiation in enclosed places.
“Parents should not put mobile phones and laptops by the bedsides of their children. If it is there, the electromagnetic fields will keep interfering with the child’s sleep,” he pointed out.
He, however, added that if the phone or laptop is put off, it poses no danger whatsoever to the child even if it is placed close to his or her bed.
Dr Amoako urged society, particularly parents who buy mobile phones for their young children to choose between the health risks associated with the exposure of the child to such devices and the potential benefits they may gain.
“The much younger the child the riskier it is for them to use mobile phones because of their underdeveloped biological system,” he stressed.