Report: Technology Overuse Harmful to Children
Monday, March 13, 2017
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – There's a push in Maryland to set up safety guidelines relating to WiFi in schools and for daily use of computers, tablets and other technology.
Here’s the question: Do the devices pose a health risk?
Lawmakers are set to consider bills (HB 866, SB 1089) that would require the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish guidelines on how much these devices are used in classrooms.
Separately, the Maryland State Advisory Council has put out a report calling for a reduction in the use of WiFi in schools.
Megan Latshaw, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School, led the work group looking at the impact of WiFi exposure. She says radiation is a real threat to children, and urges caution, noting decades ago asbestos was considered a great flame retardant.
"Hopefully we're being a little more forward thinking here and we won't look back and say, 'Oh, my gosh, we wish we hadn't exposed all those children to all that radiation so long ago,’” she states.
The Senate is expected this week to hear the legislation to establish guidelines about digital devices in school. Overuse has been associated with headaches, blurred vision, retinal damage, myopia, sleeplessness, obesity, anxiety and addiction.
Theodora Scarato, director of public affairs and educational resources with the Environmental Health Trust, started doing research on WiFi exposure several years ago.
"We didn't really think about what will this mean for a developing child?” she relates. “And we haven't looked into guidelines on how to use devices in the safest way possible, especially for kindergartners who are being handed these in classes and they have them on their laps."
Latshaw recommends putting tablets on a desk to create a barrier between the child's body and the WiFi antenna, moving the router as far away from children as possible and having a switch that allows a teacher to turn it off when it's not being used in order to reduce emissions.
"Simple steps like that that wouldn't necessarily involve rewiring a school, although we did recommend that if a school is thinking about installing WiFi that they actually look into just using wired Internet access instead," she states.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …
Health and Wellness
BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …
OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …
CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …
BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …
PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …
ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Mike Parson is facing calls to get the Missouri Cybersecurity Commission off the ground after it was created by the …