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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer


Is it all right for my child or teenager to use a cell phone?


​Studies have not been conducted to assess the risk of cell phone use by children. The level of energy absorption in children while using cell phones is comparable to the levels in adults; however, because of the larger number of ions contained in the tissue of children, the specific tissue absorption rate may be higher.

Experts in some countries have suggested that widespread use of cell phones by children be discouraged. Because children today will experience a longer period of exposure to cell phones than their parents, additional research in this area is needed.

In the interim, exposures can be reduced by encouraging children to:
  • Use text messaging when possible
  • Make only short and essential calls on cell phones
  • Use hands free kits and wired headsets
  • Keep the cell phone an inch or more away from the head
Talking on a cell phone while driving or texting while driving result in distraction and increase the risk of automobile crashes with resulting injuries and fatalities. Teenagers and others should not talk on the phone or text while driving.

Source: Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)

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