Long Life and Health
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Mental Health

Teen Cellphone Use and Memory Problems

Wireless devices like cell phones can emit high amounts of electromagnetic frequency radiation. Unsuspectingly, some young adults are seeing a decline in memory after spending long hours on wireless devices.

Could a teen’s use of cell phones and laptops cause memory problems?

Excessive screen time for babies or uncontrolled, limitless teen access may cause developmental side effects.

All cell phones give off energy through radiofrequency electromagnetic fields or RF-EMFs. Radio and TV broadcasts also use this type of energy. So do microwave ovens and some other gadgets.

For a phone, that energy carries information through calls or texts between phones and cell phone towers. That radiation also can travel into people’s bodies as they use their phones.

And some of its energy can be absorbed by the body. So far, scientists have not shown that phone radiation causes harm, says the Federal Communications Commission. Research is ongoing, this U.S. agency notes.

The Study

A study by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute linked decreased memory performance in teens with exposure to prolonged cell phone use.

The study had around 700 participants, ages spanning from 12 to 17 years old, ranging from grades 7 through 9 in urban and rural areas of Swiss-German-speaking Switzerland.

The teens participated in memory tests one year apart and had one minute to memorize 13 pairs of abstract shapes. They were then shown an item from each pair and had to match it with one of the five choices. Researchers had call records pulled from phone companies and were compared with the results from the tests.

From the results obtained during the research, teens that held their cell phones on the right side of their heads scored poorly on the test.

These results are linked with the figural memory located in the brain’s right hemisphere. Martin Röösli, Ph.D., from Swiss TPH, stated, “This may suggest that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations.” More research needs to be done to rule out other factors.

Radio Frequency Exposure

RF-EMF exposure is still very dangerous, and continuous studies are being done to verify the extent of the dangers.

“Younger children are exposed to impossible beauty standards earlier, as well as the anxiety that can come with knowing exactly what their friends are doing at any point,” explains Lazar. “Lives are curated and can look picture perfect on social media, presenting an overall unrealistic expectation of what happiness is.”

This may also be one reason why some teens develop anxiety and depression symptoms with excessive screen use.

In the meantime, to minimize risks to the brain, use headphones, place calls using a speakerphone, and reduce screen time to help protect your teen.

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1 comment

R. Hamilton March 6, 2023 at 4:57 pm

Mental effects could be at least as much due to time spent in inane or insufficiently or unhelpfully stimulating activity, rather than RF exposure.

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