Children and mobile phones

Advice to parents of 10 year olds wanting mobiles strangely no warnings given.

In the Saturday's Telegraph, this question was put to the Parenting Cafe:

My 10-year-old daughter desperately wants a mobile phone, claiming that all her friends have one. I think 10 is too young to need a phone. Am I being old-fashioned?


Here is their answer -

Karen: If the majority of your daughter's friends don't yet have a mobile phone, they soon will. Manh parents accept the move to secondary school as the point at which they can no longer resist their children's pleadings. Don't underestimate how useful you will find it to be able to text or phone your daughter.

There were no mobile phones when I was at school, but I spent hours on my home phone talking to my girlfriends. Today, children (particularly girls) have the same need to talk endlessly about things that we may judge as rubbish, but are desperately important to them.

When you decide to buy a phone for your daughter, ensure you agree with her how much you are prepared to spend on calls and texts, and how she will fund any excess charges.

Strangely enough, right next to this is a report on yobbish behaviour and not letting children have everything they plead for!

In case anyone wants to email regarding the absence of health warnings and other problems associated with kids and phones:



It has been brought to my attention that you have given advice to a parent of a 10 year old child regarding whether to allow her a mobile phone.

It is amazing to me that at no point have you mentioned the official government leaflet "Mobile Phones & Health", produced by the Department of Health, as a result of Sir William Stewart's advice over five years ago. These leaflets contain information for parents of children under 16 years of age, recommending emergency use only - and then keeping calls to a minimum length of time.

These leaflets also draw attention to the fact that mobile phones are given SAR rating - in order for the purchaser to choose a "safer" model.

Sorry - this is my reply

In all of the frenzy of hard sell by the Mobile Phone Companies, these messages have been buried and the leaflets, although recommended for delivery to every house in the country, have been left languishing in back rooms of mobile phone shops. Certainly no leaflet has been seen by anyone I have spoken to in libraries, doctors surgeries, etc., which has been claimed.

I suggest that in any future advice given to parents on this subject, that you point them to this leaflet and suggest that they consider the possible serious health effects that we are probably already experiencing. Also that they are putting children at risk of bullying, "happy slapping" and even mugging - all things we are seeing more and more of in recent times.


Cllr Sylvia Wright


Thank you for your thank you, Jane. I have also e-mailed the BBC this morning, as they have been discussing the very serious attack on the young girl in Sheffield and asking for comments on mobile phone bullying. The following is my contribution. They are accepting comments up to 12 pm tonight.

I will contact Russell.


There is widespread concern at the moment about the rapid increase in the use of mobile phones for bullying, and the recording of "happy" slapping. On BBC Breakfast I have just watched a psychiatrist and a representative from a Parenting Organisation (sorry, but the information strip giving her details was only flashed on the screen) who were giving advice on dealing with this trend.

The psychiatrist briefly mentioned that young people may become depressed if they were bullied and this could then lead to suicide in extreme cases.

The lady from the Parenting Organisation intimated that parents of children who were bullied wanted information on the technology - something they very often knew nothing about - and they were then able to discuss the problem with the child with more confidence.

In all of this absolutely no mention was made of the fact that a leaflet was produced by the DofH, following expert advice to the Government by Sir William Stewart five years ago and reiterated this January, that children under 16 years of age should not use mobile phones for anything other than emergency - and then calls should be kept to a minimum. This leaflet also contains information on the SAR rates on mobile phones - to enable the parent to make an informed choice.

In the marketing frenzy of the mobile phone operators, our children are being exploited and this is being compounded by the fact that press/media do not give a clear message on this. We are ignoring the warnings from many eminent scientists and researchers from around the world who have listed aggression and depression as two of the likely effects of regular mobile phone use by children.

In addition to the mobile phone use, our children are now being exposed within schools by the widespread use of wireless local area networking in the classroom environment. Powerwatch have given a warning on this practice and have recommended that schools take the safer option of alternative networking.

We are hearing more and more of extreme behaviour in our children, but more worrying is the fact that there are more dire warnings - regarding the long term health of our children. Studies have taken place on whether mobile phone use can cause serious health effects - examining the studies to date there is a strong likelihood that it does - but we have allowed the Industry propaganda to push to the fore. We need to give out the message loud and clear - whenever mobile phone use and children are discussed, for whatever reason - that the practice should be avoided if at all possible. Parents should be shown the flip side of the coin - at the moment they have been brainwashed into believing their children are safer for having a phone. We are now seeing that the opposite is true.

Take the lead on this BBC! If this were exploitation of children from any other source you would proudly be the first to blow the whistle.

Cllr Sylvia Wright


I just found the attached study, out of a German university (i'ts in English) about current usage patterns of children and what potential health conclusions might be drawn. Could be really interesting!


More on children can be found here as well

Sarah P


Mobile phone use and exposures in children

Children and Mobile Phones… Is There a Health Risk?

Children & Mobile Phone Use: Is there a risk?

Cell Phones & Children: Hazardous Mix?

Teddy bear mobile ‘puts 4-year-olds at risk from radiation’

5.5 million mobile phones are owned by children in Britain

Child warning over mobile phones

Children and Mobile Phones: Caution Is Warranted

Get off that mobile, expert tells children

Children's use of Mobile Phones needed urgent Attention

The cellular telephone and children

Ban mobiles in schools

TEACHERS have been ordered to ban their pupils from using their mobile phones amid rising safety fears

WLAN, DECT in Schools and Kindergardens

Hide Cellular Phones From Children

France warns against excessive mobile phone use



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Oktober 2005

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