Safer Tech = Healthier Kids: A Study Guide
© 2015 by Katie Singer
What and how do we teach our children?
Like every person who has ever lived, we all ask, How do we keep healthy? But unlike even recent generations, today’s parents and teachers need to navigate things no one’s been educated to handle: climate change, GMOs, exposure to toxic chemicals and electromagnetic radiation (EMR), Electronic Screen Syndrome, overuse of pharmaceuticals, etcetera.
Most of us also have been encouraged to want and expect a lifestyle that’s probably not sustainable.
Let’s return to that age-old question, How do we keep healthy?
We start with nutrient-dense food, clean water and sufficient rest. We develop conflict resolution skills.
We limit exposure to pesticides, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals like mercury and man-made electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
We use a minimum of resources and respect nature’s limitations in order to have a healthy ecosystem.
We join with others who share these aims.
This study guide aims to support discussions among people who aim to provide healthier schools and homes for children.
Let’s get informed, find solutions and share what we learn.
How do electromagnetic fields (EMFs) matter to living creatures?
To digest food, think, heal, reproduce and sleep, living creatures’ cells use electro-chemical signals. Our cells also take cues from the Earth’s EMFs.
In 1880, people began laying out an electric grid for electric lights, refrigeration and entertainment. Less than 150 years later, our environment has become nearly saturated with man-made EMFs from electronics that operate at frequencies and amplitudes that do not exist in nature.
Thousands of scientific studies demonstrate the harmful non-thermal effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR). These studies consider exposure that begins in utero or childhood and occurs 24/7 over the long term from multiple sources. Scientists find that EMR emitted by common electronics can cause DNA damage, calcium eflux in cells, increased risk of cancer, insomnia, behavioral problems, neurological problems and more. (www.bioinitiative.org; www.saferemr.com)
Using electronics also increases energy consumption, since electronics require fuel to be manufactured and operated.
As technology saturates our society, what do we want children to cultivate? How do we encourage humanness (relationship to nature, compassion for self and others, acceptance of vulnerability, self-control, ability to resolve conflict)?
Corporations now aim to create “digital citizens.” Apple and Pearson sell school districts an iPad for every child, routers for every classroom, digital curricula that replaces discussion with electronically sent questions and answers. Corporations collect billions of dollars and data-mined profiles of each child for lifelong marketing.
Name your goals. Does your class, household or community aim to reduce your energy use? Do you aim to reduce your EMR exposure? If so, how much energy and EMR exposure do you aim to reduce, specifically? Whom could you interview for ideas about worthwhile goals and steps to getting there?
Rather than teach by screens, let’s encourage students to:
* Compare the growth of seeds planted beside and far from Wi-Fi router.
* Learn how EMR exposure increases risk of diseases including brain cancer at saferemr.com and in “Color Charts: at bioinitiative.org.
* Learn how to disable Wi-Fi and remove wireless “smart boards.” Get hard-wired Internet, mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors.
* Learn why underwriters advise against insuring for damages to health caused by wireless technologies.
* Determine EMR exposure safety standards for the school. (At what age can people safely use mobile devices? For how many minutes per day? What scientific studies back up your standards?)
* Study “How Green is Your Cloud” from Greenpeace to learn that if the cloud were a country, it would rank fifth in energy use since it requires air conditioning. Jane Anne Morris’ “Eat, Sleep, Click” explains how much bike pedaling we’d each need to do for a bike-powered Internet. What ideas does your community have for reducing the Internet’s use of natural resources?
* Define technology addiction. Set guidelines for preventing it and for restoring sensible use. (What behaviors signal that technology use has become unhealthy? If someone’s use becomes unhealthy, what actions could restore them to healthy use? What behaviors would indicate that your use has become unhealthy?)
* Consider screen-time and EMR exposure possible factors when students or school personnel experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, strange rashes, irritability, memory problems, irregular heartbeat.
First, do no harm
Given the plausibility that EMR exposure causes harm, let’s apply the Precautionary Principle, reduce our exposure–and our energy use:
Replace DECT cordless phones (whose base stations are like private cell towers) with corded landline telephones.
Protect our sleep. Turn Wi-Fi off at night for at least 12 hours until you get ethernet access. Keep electronics in bedrooms unplugged. To keep heads away from breaker boxes, fridges and electric alarm clocks, move beds.
Spread the word that pregnant women and children should use only corded landline phones and wired Internet access. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpsixxrZrDg
Do not use mobile devices in moving vehicles: approximately every mile, your device goes to maximum power to connect to a new base station. Much of this radiation gets trapped in the car/the metal box.
Replace fluorescent lights (which flicker, put high frequency noise on 60 Hz wires, and contain mercury) with incandescents.
Replace transmitting utility meters with analog-mechanical meters.
More Ideas for Schools
Purchase meters that read lower and radiofrequency fields, learn how
to use them. Periodically measure EMR levels around classrooms,
administrative offices and playing fields. Identify hot spots and ways
to reduce emissions and exposure.
Learn how much electricity, natural gas, gasoline and water your
school uses per month. Identify your primary uses of energy and ways
In monthly newsletters, share unsolved questions and techniques for
reducing energy and EMR exposure with your community.
Compete with other schools to reduce energy use and EMR emissions.
Learn how to make a solar oven and cook in it.
Give every student ten pounds of apples. Have them report back in one
week about what they did with the fruit.
Compost. Even urban schools and apt. dwellers can with vermicompost.
Make a book about your family/school/church history.
High school and college students might watch these documentaries:
Merchants of Doubt, about industry methods that kept the public uninformed about cigarette hazards and scientific research on climate change. http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/
Mobilize, about telecom corporations using the same tactics to keep the public uninformed about EMR exposure from mobile phones. http://www.mobilizemovie.com/
Broadcast Blues, about the health of a community near an array of broadcasting antennas, and their fight to keep EMR emissions within FCC guidelines. http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/primers/cell-towers-cell-phones/broadcast-blues/
More Ideas for Families Who Take an Electronic Fast
Walk or bike for your groceries.
Build a greenhouse. Grow your own vegetables and flowers.
Grow mint and make mint sun-tea.
Insulate your windows and doors.
Make quilts, dolls and re-usable grocery bags from old jeans and t-shirts.
Make soap, hand lotion and toothpaste. Sell them.
Install DC lighting and hot water systems.
Make dried apricots, apples and cherry tomatoes: Clean used window
screens. Dry sliced fruit in the sun between screens.
Name three ways that you can reduce energy use and EMR exposure,
In small groups, parents and teachers could study:
* Reset Your Child’s Brain by Dr. Victoria Dunckley, and support each other through electronic fasts. Visit www.drdunckley.com. Duncklee also warns that interactive screens–i.e. video games–harm brains more than passive screns–i.e. TV.
* “Calming Behavior in Children with Autism & ADHD.” It presents pediatrician Toril Jelter, MD’s free protocol, which includes turning Wi-Fi off for at least 12 hours every night. http://www.electronicsilentspring.com/calming-behavior/
* Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe, MD’s talk, “Children, Radiation and Health,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNFdZVeXw7M
How do you keep informed, reduce your exposure and your energy use? Share your ideas and www.electronicsilentspring.com will post them.