In the past, great amounts of research have been placed into finding a link between the use of mobile phones and brain cancer in children, however there have still been no links found to date. Advice based on the precautionary principle is still provided by the NHS, advising that children under the age of 16 should only use mobile devices for essential purposes, using hands free kits if the option is available. Despite the lack of evidence in the past, the World Health Organization (WHO) still place research to this level as being a high priority.
A new investigation is underhand in order to determine whether mobile phones and wireless technologies affect children’s mental development. Very little is known about the impact of technology on mental development however it is believed that children’s brains are more susceptible due to their brain still developing.
The new investigation will track 2,500 11 and 12 year olds by performing an initial test to look at their cognitive ability, thinking skills, memory and attention, to be then repeated with the same participants in 2017. It is believed that more than 160 secondary schools in outer London will receive invites to enroll pupils in the study whilst the Imperial College London will lead additional tests by monitoring the use of mobile phones and wireless devices by children and parents.
The age group 11 to 12 is very important in this study as it is the approximate age where children happen to get their first mobile phones and devices due to the start of secondary school, meaning this would be the perfect time to test before the children reach a high exposure to the devices. Further research even shows that 70% of children aged 11 to 12 have their own mobile devices, meaning that the age group targeted could even be too old and received too much exposure to give accurate results on the tests.
Although only in the testing stage for now, 3 years down the line we will soon find the true effects of technology on children. Will we discover the true harm present or will the precautionary principle prove to be unnecessary?
Only time will tell