Schools In Japan To Ban Cell Phones


(Image from kirainet.com)

Kids in Japan love their cell phones, but not everyone is happy about the way they are used. Five years ago, a prestigious university in Japan failed 26 students for receiving exam answers on their cell phones. Now, frequent bullying and other issues linked to social networking Web sites accessible by cell phones have stirred up a big debate here. Students will be prohibited from using cell phones at the majority of public primary, middle and high schools in from the next school year, under a plan announced by Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto. In Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo, 96 percent of public middle schools do not allow students to use cell phones while at school. A cell phone free environment could also reduce the risks noted by Swedish researcher Lennart Hardell, who found a five-fold increase in brain cancer rates among children and teenagers who use cell phones.

News-Medical.Net: Research shows mobile phones raise children's risk of brain cancer by five times
(Photo from dvice.com)

Kids have been the target of a lot of advertising by cell phone companies, and the industry has tried to argue that phones with GPS can help kids that get lost or are in trouble. Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto doesn't buy that: "There's no need for students to have mobile phones at school...It's only natural that the more dependent they become on cell phones, the less they study."

Earlier this year, the European Parliament voted by 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them, according to Reuters.

Dr. Hardell's study is the largest on cell phone use. He notes that children under 12 should not use mobiles except in emergencies and that teenagers should use hands-free devices or headsets and concentrate on texting. At 20 the danger diminishes because then the brain is fully developed.

The Swedish research was presented at an international conference on mobile phones and health and represents an analysis of data from one of the biggest studies carried out into the risk that the radiation causes cancer. The researchers scrutinised the data from 18 studies from the USA, Denmark, Finland, Sweden (5), the UK, Germany and Japan.

Read more about cell phones (aka cellphones, mobile phones):
WiMax on the Brain: Is "WiFi on Steroids" Safe?
A University without Wifi
Dr. Laura Jana on Cellphones for Kids
Listening to Cellphone Warnings

Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp (who somehow managed to get by without a cell phone until he was well over 20 years old)

Tags: Accessories | Japan | Sweden

Best of TreeHugger