Should Kids Use Cell Phones?

Many parents debate the right time to allow their children to have their own cell phones.  On one hand, parents like the idea of being able to reach their kids easily in case of an emergency.  On the other, parents are concerned about too much texting or distraction at school and at home.  This week, a news item adds another layer to the issue:  Do cell phones cause brain cancer?

On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) placed cell phones on a list of 266 items that may cause cancer in human beings.  Other items on the list include talcum powder, lead, and dry cleaning agents.

Though the WHO is clear in saying that the research is inconclusive and cell phones have not been proven to cause harm, parents in particular are concerned about the lack of long-term studies on cell phone use, particularly among children.  Some doctors state the concern explicitly:  "Children's skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger," Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles told

Parents might consider teaching their children to take cell phone precautions such as using hands-free devices or speaker phone, or doing more texting than talking to keep the cell phone's antenna away from their heads.  And check out this feature on responsible and considerate cell phone use for kids.

How do you view cell phone use in your family?