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Con: Safety, health concerns among reasons children shouldn't have phones

ALLISON MILES

By ALLISON MILES
July 28, 2013 at 2:28 a.m.

Like many parents, Tamesha Alexander enjoys giving her children the things they want.

Whether it's a new toy or, as was the case Wednesday, a trip to the playground, she likes seeing them happy.

When her 10-year-old daughter, Meshaela Alexander, approached her about a cellphone, however, the answer was no.

"She already has friends in elementary school who have them, and she has asked," the Victoria mother of two said. "I told her maybe in middle school, but for now, I've said no. It's a safety precaution."

Alexander said she wants to wait until her children can handle the responsibility that comes with a phone - not only when it comes to calling and texting others but even accessing games. Some apps can be tricky, she said, and charge monthly rates.

"I think this will be more of a reward type thing," she said of the phone. "She can get one when she's old enough to handle it."

Others worry about health issues.

Devra Davis, president and founder of Environmental Health Trust, discussed those concerns in an article on HealthyChild.org.

She said cellphone radiation disrupts DNA, weakens the brain's protective barrier and releases free radicals. While children's brains absorb more radiation than adults', infants' absorb even more.

She went on to say that studies indicate extended cellphone use increases one's risk of brain cancer and other disease.

Patrick Martinez, a Berry Plastics employee and father of two, said children have it made today with their high-tech phones and gaming devices. He recalled going to the park and playing outside when he was a child, things he said more kids should do today.

"If things came to an end and all of the electronics were gone, what would we do?" he asked, noting people of all ages have become dependent on technology. "People would be lost."

Martinez admitted cellphones do offer some safety benefits, but said he would feel comfortable buying them only if he knew his children were old enough to know the rules and play it safe.

"I really don't think kids should have them," he said.

As for Alexander, she knows the days of her daughter wielding a phone will be here eventually. But even when that time comes, it won't be anything fancy.

"It won't be an iPhone. Nothing nicer than what I have," she said with a chuckle. "It will just do the basics."

Pro: Cellphones provide added safety, learning tools


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