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India's Karnataka State To Ban Children From Using Cell Phones
India's southern state of Karnataka has decided to ban the use of cell phones by students aged below 16 in school premises and will also direct cell phone companies not to sell handsets to children, news reports said Wednesday. The decision was taken at a meeting of the state's health and education departments on Tuesday and was aimed at protecting children, the Deccan Herald newspaper reported.The government was holding consultations with its legal department and was likely to issue an order in a week, state Minister for Health R Ashok said. He said the decision was taken after several studies pointed to the adverse effects of radiation from mobile phones on the brain and the IQ level of children in the below-16 age group. Ashok said school authorities would be asked to confiscate mobile handsets found on students and these would not be returned. Most schools in India, which is one of the world's fastest growing cell phone markets, already follow this practice. Ashok also said the government would seek cooperation of parents to ensure that their children did not use mobile phones at home. Strict instructions would be issued to cell phone companies not to sell phones to children below 16, but no decision has been taken regarding fines or other action against those found violating the ban.