Control kids' cellphone time

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004

PUTRAJAYA: Children should be discouraged from chatting too long on mobile phones as no one is sure about the long-term radiation effect from such phones, a professor of medical physics said. 

Dr Ng Kwan-Hoong, of the Radiology Department, Universiti Malaya, said that children should only be allowed to use mobile phones for emergency calls.  

“Although the radiation emitting from these phones in Malaysia is minimal, we should follow the World Health Organisation’s ‘prudence avoidance’ principle,” he told reporters after attending the Telecommunications Infrastructure, Radiation and Public Health seminar at Marriott Hotel here yesterday. 

The principle states that one can use mobile phone whenever necessary, but, if possible, one should avoid doing so.  

“For young children, we may not be sure how their sensitive bodies may react to such external stimuli, even one as minimal as that from mobile phones,” he said. 

“In some countries like Britain, there are now calls for legislation to discourage or even disallow young children from using these devices,” said Dr Ng, who is also the author of the booklet, Radiation, Mobile Phones, Base Stations and Your Health. 

The booklet is distributed by the Communications and Multimedia Commission.  

For adults, Dr Ng advised them to use hands-free kits when talking on mobile phones. 

He also said that the authorities should come up with guidelines relating to the use of mobile phones among children. 

“This is because we see that many telecommunications firms and mobile phone companies are increasingly targeting young children in their marketing,” he said. 

He also said that UM had started a research to measure the magnetic fields emitted by household appliances in the Klang Valley. 

“We hope to expand this research to the rest of the country,” he said. 

Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology Research’s Mohd Yusof Mohd Ali said radio frequency airwaves emitted by telecommunications base towers in Malaysia were below the permissible level of 0.01miliWatt per square centimetre.  

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