Is you WiFi making you sick?
I did a whole chapter about this in my book, Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home. But my angle in that chapter was about the risk of screen time to spiritual and emotional health, not physical health.
Here’s what I wrote about technology in general:
Some parents convince themselves that a “little” technology won’t hurt – and it won’t, if it is indeed a little. But most children aren’t strong enough to resist the temptation to over use and even abuse digital devices. Once we put a gizmo in a child’s hand, there’s no going back; giving them a taste of it runs the risk of developing an insatiable craving. Before we take that step, we must be sure that the child’s character is sufficiently developed.”
In that same chapter, I also cited a 2010 study conducted at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, that found that kids who spent more than two hours a day in front of a screen – any screen, be it it television, cellphone, computer, laptop, tablet or whatever – were 61 percent more likely than children with less screen time to have increased psychological difficulties.
Our children are not immune from detrimental effects of technology use. Nor are we adults.
Today I read about a California mom and teacher who has gone the extra mile in protecting her children and herself from the effects of WiFi, which, she believes, can make people physically sick.
Anura Lawson is the parent of six children and teaches 8th grade English at the local public school. She’s discovered that she and her daughter have a increased sensitivity to the non-ionizing radiation emitted by WiFi and cell phones when they both became sick after the power company installed a smart meter on her home. She experienced migraines, heart palpitations, an inability to focus, and an overall sense of not feeling well.
Her research showed that it is possible to be hypersensitive to such radiation, and that conclusive research has not been done on its effect on the general population.
That moved her to take two bold steps.
First, she did away with wireless in her own home. Now they use wired Internet and land lines only. Second, she petitioned the school district to do away with wireless in her classroom, as well. She’s taken some hits for both of her decisions, but she stands by them, and I applaud her for that.
She’s being a responsible mother and teacher.
I love what she’s quoted as saying about the use of technology in schools.
“Teaching doesn’t have to involve a device,” she said. “I think that our students unfortunately are the Guinea pigs, and I don’t think that’s right,” Lawson said.
I whole-heartedly agree. I would apply Lawson’s remark to parenting as well.
Parenting doesn’t have to involve a device.
Parents are the primary educators of their children and we have the moral obligation to see to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. If gizmos get in the way of that, we have to limit their influence, and in some cases, do way with them entirely.
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a homewhere tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2222)
The case of Anura Lawson and her family brings up a new point to consider: Can WiFi make us sick? It’s possible, and that’s yet another reason to carefully monitor the use of technology in our homes and classrooms.