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Your Child’s Brain on Technology: Cell Phones

Posted: Fri, May 02, 2014 | By:

by Hank Pellissier

Cell phones are synonymous with teenagers, and they carry risks: traffic accidents, quite emphatically; and, more debatably, brain tumors.

The causal connection between cell phones and brain tumors has been suggested for awhile, but it’s a matter of dispute. A 2013 study by researchers in New Zealand warns that high cellphone use in young adolescence puts kids at increased risk of brain tumors due to microwave radiation exposure, and a Swedish study claims people who begin using cordless or mobile phones regularly before the age of 20 are at more than a fourfold increased risk of brain cancer.

But many other studies dismiss the danger. A 2013 Taiwanese report analyzed 10 years of data and did not find a connection between cell phone use and brain tumors in Taiwan. The American Cancer Institute’s position is that, “Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain…” To be on the safe side, however, the Cancer Institute advises consumers to limit cell phone use to shorter conversations, or to use a hands-free device.

On the upside, texting has overtaken talking for smartphone-wielding tweens and teens. A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that 39 percent of teens talk on cell phones daily, compared with 75 percent who text on a daily basis. (And get this: the median use for older teen girls is a 100 texts a day; the median for older boys is a mere 50.)

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