Cell Phone Safety for Kids

February 7, 2017

Updated July 12, 2022

Did you know that the average age for a child getting their first cell phone is just 6 years old? Cell phone safety for kids is important, but it’s important for us adults as well. But getting your first cell phone at a young age may come with health problems later in life, many of 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 I love my kids having a cell phone because it’s so much for us to check in, no matter where 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, and 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.

Just like toxins, children are more susceptible to cell phone radiation effects. Studies are showing that children and teens are at greater risk for salivary gland tumors and brain cancer. Also, 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 safety 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.Pregnancy and cell phone use

Cell Phones and Sleep

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to stop using electronics in the couple of hours before bed because they can 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.

Cell Phone Safety for Kids (and You!)

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, these simple tips will help you limit your child’s cell phone radiation exposure for those times they do have their phones.

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. This is due to the risk of breast cancer when carrying phones in bras or  close to the skin. So girls – carry your phone in your purse if possible.

And the risk isn’t just for girls. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Health Sciences stated that sperm exposed to radiation from cell phones showed “reduced motility, structural anomalies, and increased oxidative stress.”

If you have to carry your cell phone on you, carry it in a purse, tote, or backpack if possible. If not, put it on airplane mode. This stops the phone from receiving the signal and from emitting radiation.

Use your phone only when it has full bars.

This means it is getting a full signal.  The fewer the bars, the more radiation because the phone is working harder to get a signal.

Hold the phone away from your ear, on speaker, as often as you can.

Use speakerphone whenever possible to create a distance between your head and then phone, or use a wired headset when talking on the phone. Even better, use texting to keep the phone a safe distance away from your body.

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. If you have to have it on for emergencies, sleep at least 3 feet away from it.

Use an app to block the blue light in the evenings that cell phones, computers, and tablets emit. This turns the screen Apps to help with blue light on cell phonesto a more organge-ish/red to block out the bright “blue light” that can affect sleep.

Apps for Electronics that Block Blue Light

The “Night Shift” app is part of the new update on iPhones and certain iPads . You can apply it by going to “Settings,” “Displays and brightness,” then “Night Shift.” 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.

Cell Phone Safety for Kids

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