It has become common for babies to play with and use a mobile phone excellently, even when they haven’t even learnt to sit up straight! We often see it as a matter of pride too, that our baby is tech-savvy enough to already operate a touch-phone. Watching cartoon films on mobiles (cellphones or tablets), listening to audio tracks, and watching an elder sibling play a game can keep babies entertained for hours. It is at this time that we manage to feed them their meals, clean their hands, cut their nails, and basically do all the numerous tasks that were very difficult before. Plus, since our babies see us using mobile phones so often in a day, it is only natural for them to get attracted to these devices.
However, as per some new studies in the field of child development, a very disturbing finding has come up. If your baby uses or plays with mobile phones, there is an important warning and precautions that you must heed.
How Cellphones Affect Your Child Later In Life
Please take careful note of the following risks that your child faces if he uses mobile phones as a baby or a toddler. Researchers are conducting further work to confirm these findings. However, there is one thing proved without doubt: the risks increase with the number of hours your child spends with a mobile phone,
and the earlier he starts using it.
1. Negatively Affects Brain Development
As per new research conducted by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, expert on electromagnetic pollution and how it affects human beings, the waves emitted from a cellphone can trigger changes in your baby’s brain metabolism. This can activate heat shock proteins and even cause DNA damage! While there still remains to be definite data on how deeply cellphones affect a child’s brain chemistry, this is a possibility for babies who use/are exposed to cellphones on a frequent basis, especially up to age 4.
2. Increases Risk of Brain Cancer
Dr. Gittleman’s research is also supported by earlier studies on the subject. As per a Swedish study by oncologist Dr. Lennart Hardell, children are 5 times more likely to get a particular kind of BRAIN CANCER (known as glioma) if they use mobile phones before age 20.
This finding is linked to a child’s exposure to radiation while using cellphones, including Wi-Fi. This has also been linked to other serious disorders such as cataract and behavioural problems. Also Read: The Shocking Reason France Banned Wi-Fi in Schools!
3. Impacts Real World Learning & Social Skills
This one is possibly the most distressing. Many of us turn to mobile phones in the hope that learning apps and games for kids will boost our child’s brain power. However, doctors confirm that relying on cellphones too much, or letting kids spend too much time tapping on keys and staring at the screen, can actually SLOW down learning!
Mobile phones cannot replace the sensory learning that happens when your child investigates the real world around him. Moreover, relying on apps too much can also hamper your child's social skills later in life.
Important Precautions When Your Baby Uses a Cellphone
In light of the above risks, experts have recommended that all parents follow some important precautions to limit these harmful effects and keep their child safe. It is unreal to expect that our kids will not be exposed to mobile phones at all – and indeed, they have some very useful features too. But we need to adhere to these precautions to guarantee proper brain development and socio-emotional development in children:
NO screen time for children under the age of 2. This is a strict advisory by paediatricians and must be followed. Please consider other tools such as music CDs, musical toys, and white noise devices to calm and distract your baby
NO cellphone usage before bed-time, while eating, and in bed. Consider using devices and tools (e.g. anti-radiation chips) that can limit the harmful effects of harmful radiations from mobile phones. Also keep the Wi-Fi routers and charging stations away from your baby
LIMIT using cellphones in your child’s vicinity, while feeding him, or to calm his tantrums. This may be difficult at first, but it will have definite long-term results
MONITOR the content your baby is exposed to on the cellphone. Do not allow content that involves extremely high visual changes, ultra-bright colours, violence, or loud noise. This can lead to over-stimulation in your baby and has no benefits for his development
Mobile phones have multiple uses for both parents and children – connectivity, a source of distraction, and a learning tool are only a few of them. However, introducing these devices to your child too early in life is fraught with risks that far outweigh the benefits. As parents, we must keep this in mind the next time we let our child play with a cellphone. His long-term mental and behavioural development is our responsibility.