Children and mobiles

Having a mobile device can improve children’s personal security, as they can maintain contact with their parents and get help in emergencies.

We acknowledge that some parents fear their children’s health may be affected by using mobiles. We aim to give parents the information they need to make an informed decision. Parents may choose to balance their children’s access to and use of mobiles with the security benefits.

There is currently no evidence to convince experts that children or adolescents are at increased risk from using a mobile. However, more research is needed into potential increases in lifelong exposure, given the rise in popularity of mobiles in recent years.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) produces guidelines governing radio frequency (RF) exposure from mobile devices and base stations, and these are designed to protect the whole population, including children. In August 2009, ICNIRP released a statement confirming there is no scientific evidence to suggest that using a mobile device poses health risks for adults or children.

ICNIRP also published a review of the scientific evidence concerning RF exposure in 2009. This states that:

“The experimental data do not suggest so far that children are more susceptible than adults to RF radiation, but few relevant studies have been conducted” and that “Overall, there is no robust evidence of any effect of mobile phone type RF on children or adolescents”.

WHO advice on children and mobile devices

The WHO provides the following advice in its factsheet on mobile telephones and their base stations:

“Present scientific evidence does not indicate the need for any special precautions for the use of mobile phones. If individuals are concerned, they might choose to limit their own or their children's RF exposure by limiting the length of calls, or by using "hands-free" devices to keep mobile phones away from the head and body."

However, there are still some gaps in scientific knowledge, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has prioritised further research into the use of mobile devices by children and adolescents: