First the French ban TV for children under three-years-old, now the French government is concerned about the negative health effects of mobile devices on children. From cancer to other diseases, cell phone use is especially dangerous to children.
Swedish researchers have found that children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer from mobile phones, causing concern there may be an epidemic of the disease for young people later in life.
- NO advertising of mobile phones directed at children under 12.
- BANS the sale of cell phones designed for children under 6-years-old.
- Introduce new limits for radiation from the phones and require mobile phones to be sold with earphones.
French cities have also started an advertising campaign warning parents about the dangers of cell phone use for children, as well as discouraging their purchase as gifts over the holidays.
According to the Independent, the French cell phone ban is unique in Europe:
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.
The French Ministry has warned, “mobile phone use is increasing at a rapid pace among youths”, and those young children may be “more sensitive because their bodies are still developing”.
Other countries have also issued warning statements about the use of cell phones by children:
- Toronto’s Department of Public Health: Children under eight should only use mobiles in emergencies; teenagers should limit calls to 10 minutes or less.
- Russian Ministry of Health: Young people under 18 should not use cell phones.
- Israel’s Health Ministry: Advises caution
Even though I don’t live in France, I certainly will think twice about letting my children us a mobile phone (not that they do anyway since they don’t work where I live). I don’t feel like young children need their own mobile devices, although I do see the benefits of teenagers having them for emergencies and to stay in touch with parents (even if they use them more for calls and texts with friends). Given all the attention on mobile devices, it really makes me wonder about the radiation the cell phone towers are giving off into our air space.
Image: derek olson on Flickr under a Creative Commons License