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Should You Give Your Child A Mobile?
ITV News
August 12, 2003

As more youngsters get given mobile phones, health concerns about the potential dangers persist. Children and young people are more likely to be vulnerable than adults because the head and nervous system are still developing

ITV News Online looks at the case for and against.


- Safety - you know where your kids are.

- They can contact you if they are in trouble.

- Technology will allow you to track exactly where they are at any time.

- Convenience - you can get their news, and plan for changes in their day.

- Having a phone makes them 'part of the gang' at school


- Health fears

- Cost

- Improper text spam (ie pornographic, bullying or offensive text messages)

- Tracking technology is not fully developed and may not be for some years.

- Tracking only works if any would-be abductor does not switch off or throw away the phone.

- Their phone could make your kid a target for robbery or violence.

Health concerns focus on the microwave radiation which mobiles use to communicate.

Some users have reported 'hot ear' - a disturbing warm feeling on the side of their heads after talking on a mobile for more than 10 minutes a day, leading to headaches.

Some research says this is early warning of terrifying brain tumours - and that even if the victim survives, he or she will need disfiguring surgery.

It has led to large sales of 'radiation shields'.

The Department of Health concedes that there are "significant gaps" in scientific knowledge on the use of mobiles.

And while some experts argue that hands-free equipment reduces the risk, others argue that the earpiece is more dangerous than a mobile held against the ear, and wearing a long thin wire lead actually distributes harmful radiation all over the body.

But existing research shows that usage of mobile phones does affects brain activity - it is only the level of damage caused that is not yet known.

And the problem may be more acute among children because the head and nervous system are still developing into the teenage years .

In 2000, a panel of Government-appointed experts accepted that if there are any (so far unrecognised) health risks from mobile phone use, then children and young people are more likely to be vulnerable than adults.

Sir William Stewart, who led the inquiry, said he would not allow his child to have a mobile.

You can read his full report by using the link at the bottom of the page.


The Department of Health says:

- Under-16s should be "discouraged" from making non-essential calls.

- Keep all calls short - talking for long periods prolongs exposure and should be discouraged.

- The only truly safe way to protect against any harmful effects is not to have a phone at all.


Police advice if your child carries a mobile is:

- Register the phone with the operator. If you report the phone stolen, the operator should then be able to bar the SIM card.

- Tell your kids that when they use their phone, do not use it in crowded areas or where they feel unsafe.

- Avoid displaying the phone in public view.

- Always use the phone’s security lock code or PIN number.

- If it is stolen, the police will need: fascia details; phone number; serial/IMEI number; PIN number

The 15-digit serial or IMEI number helps to identify your phone and can be accessed by keying *#06# into most phones or by looking behind the battery of your phone.

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