One in ten children ignore mobile guidelines

While a significant number of school children use mobile phones for over 45 minutes a day, others believe they've been affected by radio waves
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Latest research has found that one in ten children are ignoring safety guidelines by using their mobile phone for more than 45 minutes per day.

The study, carried out by Toby Sherborne of Sheffield Hallam University, found that 90 percent of under-16s questioned owned a mobile phone. While 77 percent used their mobile for less than 15 minutes each day, a significant number used them for much longer. Sherborne, whose study included around 1,000 schoolchildren, found that 4.6 percent of mobile owners were using their phone for more than 45 minutes, and 5.4 percent for more than one hour per day.

Last year's Stewart Inquiry advised that children should be discouraged from using their mobile for "non-essential" calls. The inquiry did not find proof that mobile phones are a health risk -- but warned that children should avoid excessive mobile use. Some researchers are concerned that because a child's brain is still growing and developing, it would be more susceptible to any ill effects caused by mobile use.

Following the publication of the Stewart Report, the Department of Education advised all schools to discourage pupils from non-essential calls. Mobiles sold in the UK now come with a leaflet written by the Department of Health which advices children not to spend too long using the phone.

Sherborne, who admitted to being amazed at how much time some children spend on a mobile, also asked if young mobile users were concerned about health dangers. He found that 11 percent believe they have been affected by radiation emitted by their mobiles.

This research comes only a week after Australian scientists reported one of the first scientific hypotheses of how mobile phone use could lead to cancer. The research group said that mobile phone frequencies well below current safety levels could stress cells in a way that has been shown to increase susceptibility to cancer.

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned last month that children could be damaging their health by sending text messages. The BMA is concerned that insufficient research has been carried out into the effects of mobile phone emissions on internal tissue, such as kidneys and reproductive organs, which could be exposed to mobile radiation when a child composes and then sends a text message.

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