Reykjavik Appeal: No Wi-Fi in Schools

Reykjavik Appeal: No Wi-Fi in Schools

girls looking at a laptop

The Reykjavik Appeal on Wireless Technology in Schools [1] was just released following February’s International Conference on Children, Screen Time and Wireless Radiation. The conference was held at the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, where well-known researchers and medical doctors gathered to present current findings and ratify the document. This Appeal is significant because it is the first international advisory signed by medical doctors, microwave radiation experts, representatives of non-government organisations (NGOs) focused on technology safety, teachers and school personnel from all over the world.

Wireless Education’s Dr Mikko Ahonen and Cece Doucette signed the appeal which indicates:

  • No wireless networks in preschools, kindergartens and schools.
  • A hard-wired direct cable connection is recommended to each classroom for the teacher to use during lessons.
  • Prefer wired telephones for personnel in preschools, kindergartens and schools.
  • Prefer cabled connection to Internet and printers in schools and turn off Wi-Fi settings in all equipment.
  • Prefer laptops and tablets that can be connected by cable to Internet.
  • Students should not be allowed to use cell phones in schools. They can either leave them at home or the teacher collects them in turned off mode before first lesson in the morning.

The Appeal also states, “Based on scientific studies no safe level of this radiation has been established and therefore we have no safety assurances.”

Dr Ahonen explains, “Current RF-guidelines in Western countries are focused only on acute thermal effects, while children are chronically (24/7) exposed at school and even at home. We are still learning through research what biological effects occur at different microwave radiation exposure levels. What we have seen so far indicates the public exposure standards we have in Europe and North America do not protect us from chronic exposure and biological effects on non-thermal levels.”

The Appeal implicates wireless radiation risks for cancer, blood-brain barrier compromise, interference with neurotransmitters, sperm damage, DNA damage, and learning and memory issues.

The Appeal also reports schools heavily invested in technology are showing decreased results in reading and math. Other negative effects of technology for children are reported to be less time for activities that develop a child’s social and emotional well-being, and less time for physical activities that develop a child’s coordination, problem-solving abilities and physical well-being. Digital addiction is becoming more common for children and adults alike.

Technology also brings risk for children developing back and neck aches, weight gain from being sedentary, and sleep problems since screen time is a stimulant. Dr. Ahonen adds, “The microwave radiation emitted by active mobile devices can also cause oxidative stress in cells, which in turn can lead to immune system deficiencies and premature aging.”

The document, signed by representatives from 20 countries, recommends following the ALARA principle, As Low As Reasonably Achievable, to take all reasonable measures to reduce radiofrequency radiation exposure (RFR) to children and staff. It states, “Supporting wired educational technologies is a safer solution than potentially hazardous exposures from wireless radiation.”

Cece Doucette helped Ashland Public Schools in Massachusetts become the first public school district in the U.S. to begin addressing technology safety. She says, “I am so grateful for the Reykjavik Appeal. This will provide schools and legislators throughout the world with the higher authority many seek to feel confident in changing their current technology practices to protect children and staff.”

Doucette adds, “We have been through a honeymoon phase with Wi-Fi, which was never safety tested, and now we know scientifically that it can cause a great deal of biological and psychological harm. We can turn off the Wi-Fi and still have access to the technology we need, we just need to give up a little convenience. Many parents have been sensing excessive screen time is not healthy for their families, and the Reykjavik Appeal gives them the confidence to start the discussion and create a technology safety plan at home too.”

The 40-minute Wireless Education Schools and Families Course distills the science and medical recommendations from around the world, and can be used to quickly train students, staff and families on safe technology practices.

The Wireless Education Team

 

[1] Reykjavik Appeal on Wireless Technology in Schools: http://www.stralskyddsstiftelsen.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Reykjavik-Appeal-170224-2.pdf

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