It’s probably not news to you that cellphone use may be harmful to you and your kids. Studies have found a possible link between cellphone radiation and brain and heart tumors, not to mention a range of symptoms associated with screen time addiction. With kids headed back to school in a matter of weeks, and wireless devices becoming more common in classrooms, how can parents limit the electromagnetic field exposure that comes with use of tablets, phones and other wireless devices?

Here are nine ways to decrease your kids’ EMF exposure:

  1. Encourage airplane mode. Ask your kids to put their phones into airplane mode whenever they’re in class or just not using their phone. This will stop the phone from emitting EMF signals.
  2. Focus on younger kids. Younger kids are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation, so it’s important to keep devices away from them as much as possible, scaling back their use of wireless devices as toys. (If they do play a game on a device, make sure they do so in airplane mode.)
  3. Use wires. Stick to ethernet wires when available.
  4. Promote the use of headphones. The more distance between your kids’ bodies and their cellphones, the better. If you’re worried that headphones and earbuds could damage their hearing because of loud music, look for parent controls that will let you set a maximum volume level. 
  5. Limit use at night. Establish a nightly cutoff time, and don’t let your kids take their phone to bed. This will not only lower their EMF exposure but also to improve their sleep. They should never sleep with their phone under their pillow. (Here are other ideas for lowering EMF exposure at home.)
  6. Engaging with your kids’ school. Lots of great lifetime habits begin at school, and that can include safer cellphone use. In fact, school policies can play a role in helping minimize your children’s exposure. Questions to ask your kids’ school administrators or teachers:
  • What’s the current policy regarding in-school use?
  • Are kids told to put their phone into airplane mode at the start of every class?
  • How are educators helping parents and children learn about safer uses of technology?
  1. Remember the router. Wi-Fi routers also emit EMF radiation. Make sure to locate your home’s router away from where kids spend time, and away from their bedroom. Some experts suggest turning off the router at night to minimize EMF.
  2. Carry safely. The best place to carry a cellphone is in a bag. Boys and young men in particular should avoid carrying their device in their front pocket, because of the possible effect of radiation on male fertility. Girls and women should avoid putting their phone in their bra, and pregnant women should limit their cellphone use altogether.
  3. Don’t forget Bluetooth. Bluetooth transmits EMF, although at lower levels compared to cellphones. So consider sticking with old-school wired earbuds, and if your children have Bluetooth-enabled devices, teach them to take the earbuds off when they aren’t using them.