Cindy Lee Russell, M.D., Vice President of Community Health, Santa Clara County Medical Association wrote an article warning about the health risks of technology in schools: Shallow Minds: How the Internet and Wi–Fi in Schools Can Affect Learning
Dr. Russell writes: “There are a host of concerns with classroom technology, and the virtual world it creates, that have not been explored in the rush to “modernize” education and prevent our kids from becoming “computer illiterate,” despite the fact that computers are designed for ease of use. These issues range from distraction in the classroom, impairment of cognitive development and long-term memory, deficiency in learning social skills, Internet addiction, cyber bullying, access to inappropriate content, eye fatigue,and security risks to online learning networks. In addition, the sheer cost of computers and continuous upgrades is likely to break many school budgets. We have not mentioned the issue of toxic e-waste, another growing public health problem.”
“We will not get rid of the Internet or computers. We should not ignore, however, the enlarging body of science that points to real threats to public health and, especially, our children’s safety and well-being. The best approach is precautionary. Reduce the risk by reducing the microwave emissions. It is our obligation as physicians and parents to protect our children. They are the future and our legacy.”
Dr. Russell recommends:
- Remove wireless devices (white boards and routers) in schools in favor of wired connections and fiber optic.
- If there is Wi-Fi, then give teachers the authority to turn it off when not in use or if they feel it is not necessary.
- Ban cell towers near or on schools.
- Limit screen time on computers.
- Limit or ban cell phone use in the class
- Limit or ban cell phone use at home
- Do not allow laptops to be placed on laps
- Undertake independent scientific studies on Wi-Fi and computer use that look at acute and long-term health effects.
- Train teachers how to recognize symptoms of EMF reactions.
- Conduct meetings with parents and teachers to address this issue in each school.
Dr. Russel cites the science, international actions, and provides a reference list. This is an excellent paper to give to school principals and administrators.