By Annette Chrysostomou
CHILDREN use multimedia for extended amounts of time, putting them at risk of cancer and other serious biological effects, according to a statement to launch a campaign for the protection of children from non-ionising radiation.
Children are exposed daily to non-ionising electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices, mobile networks and Wi-Fi access points such as mobile phones, tablets and other devices, it said.
“The overall use of internet and multimedia over two hours a day adversely affects the mental and physical health of adolescents while decreasing their mental well-being, family relationships, their self-esteem and increasing weight, waist circumference and body mass index,” are the conclusions of a survey by the child health institute.
“Teens today use more computers, smart phones and tablets than TV,” Anastasia Economou from the department of educational technology at the Pedagogical Institute said on Friday. She cited results from a study which was carried out earlier in the year by the institute.
“Teenagers,” she noted, “use computers, smart phones and tablets about four hours on weekdays and five-and-a-half hours on weekends, while they watch TV about two hours on weekdays and three hours on weekends.
“It is very worrying that six per cent of children use overall multimedia more than 15 hours per day on weekdays,” Economou said.
According to the survey, the most common multimedia devices located in the bedrooms of children are mobiles (over 80 per cent), computers with internet access (55 per cent) and televisions (45 per cent).
Also, 42 per cent of boys and 36 per cent of girls say they have more than three multimedia devices with a display in their bedrooms, while the use of multimedia increases steadily from five hours a day in the first form of gymnasium until seven hours for the third form of the lyceum high school.
Studies are underway to fully evaluate the potentiality of carcinogenicity of non-ionised radiation in humans. Apart from this risk, continuous / manifold and long-term exposure to this radiation, according to recent research, is likely to have biological effects, such as effects on the development and functioning of the brain, on reproductive and other systems of the foetus and it may cause destruction of nerve cells and DNA, leading to distraction, learning disorders and other neurological diseases.