My daughter is now in a routine of watching her favourite youtube programmes every evening for an hour. There’s no chance I forget though, because she reminds me rather vocally with the name of the programme she wants to watch! She’ll repeat the name of the programme again and again until it starts playing (thanks to the ‘Chinese Firewall’, this can sometimes annoyingly take longer than it should do to load). After all, those pesky children’s shows could feature ‘sensitive’ information right?! Gotta be careful…
Extracting the educational content from programmes
The programmes my daughter watches are educational and they do aid her english language development, but I’m also concerned not to have her spend too long looking at the screen. The limited time spent though can be maximised by doing the following:
Talk about the program.
Ask 2- and 3-year-olds what they thought the show was about, which characters they liked and disliked, how it made them feel.
Answer children’s questions.
Children are still figuring out new ideas and concepts. Sometimes they need your help to make sense of what they’re seeing on the screen.
Point out and name things they see on the screen.
Be active while you watch. Dance to the music, hop around like the bunnies on the show, and so forth.
Connect what children see on TV to children’s “real lives.”
“Do you remember we watched a show about a postman this morning? Here comes our postman! Do you want to watch him deliver our post?”
When the show is over, turn off the TV and act out the story.
Use puppets or other toys to tell the story, or make up your own story to act out together.
Finally, do not use television shows or videos to put children to sleep.
This makes it more difficult for them to learn to fall asleep on their own. Also, young children need the love, safety, and security that comes from naptime routines (story, back rub, song) shared with you.
Screens have become an integral part of our lives, and many of us spend more time looking at a screen than not looking at a screen. The children around us notice this, and think it is normal everyday behaviour. But does that make it right…?
WIFI = Health risk?
As screens are on devices, which in turn use WIFI to connect to the internet, these devices are continuously emitting radio frequencies which can impact our biological functions. The international agency for the research on cancer classification designate these radio frequencies as class 2B carcinogen. That means that all these wireless signals from your phones, laptops, computers, baby monitors etc, pose a cancer risk. Children are more susceptible. This is a problem. It’s hard these days to a avoid these signals, they are practically everywhere.
Some research studies on this subject are quoted below, some heavy reading ahead…
Pall M., Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health, Environmental Research Volume 164, July 2018, Pages 405-416
• 7 effects have each been repeatedly reported following Wi-Fi & other EMF exposures. Established Wi-Fi effects, include apoptosis, oxidat. stress & testis/sperm dysfunct; Neuropsych; DNA impact; hormone change; Ca2+ rise. Wi-Fi is thought to act via voltage-gated calcium channel activation.
Hedendahl, Lena K., et al. “Measurements of Radiofrequency Radiation with a body-borne exposimeter in Swedish schools with Wi-Fi.” Frontiers in Public Health 5 (2017): 279.
• The environmental exposure to RF radiation in some schools is higher than reported levels for non-thermal biological effects. In order to reduce children’s exposure to RF radiation, schools should prefer wired network connections, allow laptop, tablets, and mobile phone usage only in flight mode and deactivate Wi-Fi access points when internet is not needed for learning purposes.
• All values were far below International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s (ICNIRP) reference values, but most mean levels measured were above the precautionary target level of 3–6 µW/m2 as proposed by the Bioinitiative Report ….however the ICNIRP guidelines are based on short-term heating (thermal) effects, and are therefore not relevant to decide on the appropriateness of long-term exposure.
Shahin, Saba, et al. “2.45 GHz Microwave radiation impairs hippocampal learning and spatial memory: Involvement of local stress mechanism induced suppression of iGluR/ERK/CREB signaling.” Toxicological Sciences (2017).
This study elucidates the effect of short (15 days) and long-term (30 and 60 days) low level 2.45 GHz MW radiation induced local stress on the hippocampal spatial memory formation pathway in adult male mice. Researchers observed that 2.45 GHz MW irradiated mice showed slow learning and significantly increased number of working and reference memory errors in RAM task. Further, 2.45 GHz MW radiation exposure increases serum corticosterone level and the expression of CRH, CRH-R1 and i-NOS, while the expression of iGluRs, n-NOS, PSD-95, PKCε, PKA, ERK-p-ERK, CREB and p-CREB decreases in above mentioned hippocampal subregions in a duration dependent manner. “Our findings led us to conclude that 2.45 GHz MW radiation exposure induced local stress suppresses signaling mechanism(s) of hippocampal memory formation.”
Hassanshahi, A., et al. “The effect of Wi-Fi electromagnetic waves in unimodal and multimodal object recognition tasks in male rats.” Neurological Sciences, 2017, pp. 1-8.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi radiation (12 h/day for 30 days) on multisensory integration in male rats. Results demonstrated that rats in Wi-Fi exposure groups could not discriminate significantly between the novel and familiar objects in any of the standard SOR, tactile SOR, visual SOR, and CMOR tests and the expression of M1 receptors increased following Wi-Fi exposure. In conclusion, results of this study showed that chronic exposure to Wi-Fi electromagnetic waves might impair both unimodal and cross-modal encoding of information.
Akdag, M.Z., et al. “Does prolonged radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices induce DNA damage in various tissues of rats?” Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, vol. 75, pt. B, 2016, pp. 116-22.
The purpose of this study was to reveal whether long term exposure (over a year) of 2.4GHz frequency RF radiation will cause DNA damage of different tissues such as brain, kidney, liver, and skin tissue and testicular tissues of rats. Based on the DNA damage results determined by the single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet) method, it was found that the % tail DNA values of the brain, kidney, liver, and skin tissues of the rats in the experimental group increased more than those in the control group. The increase of the DNA damage in all tissues was not significant (p>0.05), however the increase of the DNA damage in rat testes tissue was significant (p<0.01). In conclusion, long-term exposure to 2.4GHz RF radiation (Wi-Fi) does not cause DNA damage of the organs investigated in this study except testes indicating that testes are more sensitive organ to RF radiation.
Kuybulu, A.E., et al.“Effects of long-term pre- and post-natal exposure to 2.45GHz wireless devices on developing male rat kidney.” Renal Failure, vol. 38, no. 4, 2016, pp. 571-80.
The aim of the present study was to investigate oxidative stress and apoptosis in kidney tissues of male Wistar rats that pre- and postnatally exposed to 2.45 GHz wireless electromagnetic field (EMF) for 1 h/day until puberty. Based on this study, it is thought that chronic pre- and post-natal period exposure to wireless internet frequency of EMF may cause chronic kidney damages; staying away from EMF source in especially pregnancy and early childhood period may reduce negative effects of exposure on kidney.
Celik, O., M.C. Kahya and M. Naziroglu. “Oxidative stress of brain and liver is increased by Wi-Fi (2.45GHz) exposure of rats during pregnancy and the development of newborns.” Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, vol. 75, pt. B, 2015, pp. 134-9.
An excessive production of reactive oxygen substances (ROS) and reduced antioxidant defence systems resulting from electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure may lead to oxidative brain and liver damage and degradation of membranes during pregnancy and development of rat pups. In the EMR groups, lipid peroxidation levels in the brain and liver were increased following EMR exposure; however, the glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity, and vitamin A, vitamin E and β-carotene concentrations were decreased in the brain and liver. Glutathione (GSH) and vitamin C concentrations in the brain were also lower in the EMR groups than in the controls; however, their concentrations did not change in the liver. In conclusion, Wi-Fi-induced oxidative stress in the brain and liver of developing rats was the result of reduced GSH-Px, GSH and antioxidant vitamin concentrations. Moreover, the brain seemed to be more sensitive to oxidative injury compared to the liver in the development of newborns.
Ciftci, Z.Z., et al. “Effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure of Wi-Fi on development of teeth and changes in teeth element concentration in rats.” Biological Trace Element Research, vol.163, no. 1-2, 2015, pp. 193-201.
The present study determined the effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure to 2.45 GHz Wi-Fi-induced electromagnetic radiation (2h/day for 21 days during pregnancy and 21 days during lactation) on tooth and surrounding tissue development as well as the element levels in growing rats. Histological and immunohistochemical examinations between the experimental and control groups showed that exposure to 2.45 GHz EMR for 2 h per day does not interfere with the development of teeth and surrounding tissues. However, there were alterations in the elemental composition of the teeth, especially affecting such oxidative stress-related elements as copper, zinc, and iron, suggesting that short-term exposure to Wi-Fi-induced EMR may cause an imbalance in the oxidative stress condition in the teeth of growing rats.
Cig, B. and M. Naziroglu. “Investigation of the effects of distance from sources on apoptosis, oxidative stress and cytosolic calcium accumulation via TRPV1 channels induced by mobile phones and Wi-Fi in breast cancer cells.” Biochemica et Physica Acta, vol. 1848, pt B, 2015, pp. 2756-65.
We aimed to investigate the effects of distance from sources on calcium signaling, cytosolic ROS production, cell viability, apoptosis, plus caspase-3 and -9 values induced by mobile phones and Wi-Fi in breast cancer cells. The cytosolic ROS production, Ca2+ concentrations, apoptosis, caspase-3 and caspase-9 values were higher in groups exposed to 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2450 MHz compared to controls at 0 cm, 1 cm and 5 cm distances although cell viability (MTT) values were increased by the distances. There was no statistically significant difference in the values between control, 20 and 25 cm. Wi-Fi and mobile phone EMR placed within 10 cm of the cells induced excessive oxidative responses and apoptosis via TRPV1-induced cytosolic Ca2+ accumulation in the cancer cells. Using cell phones and Wi-Fi sources which are farther away than 10 cm may provide useful protection against oxidative stress, apoptosis and overload of intracellular Ca2+.
Dasdag, S., et al. “Effect of long-term exposure of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi equipment on testes functions.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 34, no. 1, 2015, pp. 37-42.
The aim of this study was to investigate long-term effects of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation (24 h/day for 1 year) emitted from a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) system on the testes of male rats. Results showed that sperm head defects increased in the exposure group (p < 0.05) while weight of the epididymis and seminal vesicles, seminiferous tubules diameter and tunica albuginea thickness were decreased in the exposure group (p < 0.01, p < 0.001, p < 0.0001). However, other alterations of other parameters were not found significant (p > 0.05). We suggest Wi-Fi users to avoid long-term exposure of RF emissions from Wi-Fi equipment.
Dasdag, S., et al. “Effects of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi equipment on microRNA expression in brain tissue.” International Journal of Radiation Biology, vol 91, no. 7, 2015, pp. 555-61.
The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term effects of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation (24h/day for 12 months) emitted from a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) system on some of the miRNA in brain tissue in male rats. The results revealed that long-term exposure of RFR radiation can alter expression of some of the miRNAs, indicating that this type of exposure may lead to adverse effects such as neurodegenerative diseases originated from the alteration of some miRNA expression and more studies should be devoted to the effects of RF radiation on miRNA expression levels.
Deshmukh, P.S., et al. “Cognitive impairment and neurogenotoxic effects in rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation.” International Journal of Toxicology, vol. 34, no. 3, 2015, pp. 284-90.
The present study aimed to investigate the effects of chronic low-intensity microwave exposure (900, 1800 or 2450 MHz for 180 days) on cognitive function, heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), and DNA damage in the rat brain. The results showed declined cognitive function, elevated HSP70 level, and DNA damage in the brain of microwave-exposed animals. The results indicated that, chronic low-intensity microwave exposure in the frequency range of 900 to 2450 MHz may cause hazardous effects on the brain.
Megha, K., et al. “Low intensity microwave radiation induced oxidative stress, inflammatory response and DNA damage in rat brain.” Neurotoxicology, vol. 51, 2015, pp. 158-65.
The present study was undertaken to determine the influence of low intensity microwave radiation (900, 1800, or 2450 MHz for 2h/day, 5days/week, for 60 days) on oxidative stress, inflammatory response and DNA damage in rat brain. Low intensity microwave exposure resulted in a frequency dependent significant increase in oxidative stress markers, reduced levels of GSH and SOD, increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and significant DNA damage in microwave exposed groups compared to controls. In conclusion, the present study suggests that low intensity microwave radiation induces oxidative stress, inflammatory response and DNA damage in brain by exerting a frequency dependent effect. The study also indicates that increased oxidative stress and inflammatory response might be the factors involved in DNA damage following low intensity microwave exposure.
Misa-Agustiño, M.J. et al. “Exposure to non-ionizing radiation provokes changes in rat thyroid morphology and expression of HSP-90.” Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 240, no. 9, 2015, pp. 1123-35.
Non-ionizing radiation at 2.45 GHz may modify the morphology and expression of genes that codify heat shock proteins (HSP) in the thyroid gland. The present study used a diathermy model – the therapeutic application of non-ionizing radiation – on laboratory rats subjected to maximum exposure non-ionizing radiation (30 min, 10 times in two weeks) in the left front leg, in order to study the effects of radiation on the nearby thyroid tissue.Ninety minutes after radiation with the highest SAR, the central and peripheral follicles presented increased size and the thickness of the peripheral septa had decreased. Twenty-four hours after radiation, only peripheral follicles radiated at 12 W were found to be smaller. Morphological changes in the thyroid tissue may indicate a glandular response to acute or repeated stress from radiation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis.
Misa-Augustiño, M.J., et al. “EMF radiation at 2450 MHz triggers changes in the morphology and expression of heat shock proteins and glucocorticoid receptors in rat thymus.”
What can be done?
As you can see, there is a cause for alarm. But realistically in this interconnected world, will we give up WIFI? I doubt it very much… Further reading on this can be found here.