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Why you don't Need a Smart Phone - A letter to my daughter

Dear Daughter,

I realize that every day after school (it’s been 2 weeks) you have given me at least 8 new creative reasons why you should have a phone with you at school. I am not being mean or trying to make your life miserable, I won’t let you have a phone because... I love you. It is hard for your 11-year old self to understand, but let me try to explain it to you.

If you were Super Girl, I would never give you kryptonite to weaken your superpowers and cause you pain. Cell phones are known to emit radiation similar to a microwave oven. This radiation can cause a brain tumor called a glioma. This type of cancer causes head pain, seizures, and memory loss. Your friends at school who are using their mobile phones are 5-times more likely to get this type of cancer.

Your brain and growing body are like a sponge. Your brain can absorb twice as much radiation from phones as an adult. This radiation can get into your brain tissue and cause hyperactivity. Imagine yourself talking on the phone for 2-minutes but then run around like a minion for over an hour because of the changes in your brain!

You think that you would get better grades if you had a phone to use in class. There are studies that show students who did NOT use their phones scored a full letter grade and a half higher than those students using their phones. That is an A on a test versus a C. The students NOT using phones wrote down more information and were able to remember detailed information from the lesson. Cell phone use in class is shown to cause more anxiety, less happiness, and result in lower GPA when used in school.

Cell phones, like drugs and alcohol, may act on rewards centers of the brain. The fun of texting becomes addictive like drugs or chocolate. The brain releases chemicals that stimulate "reward" centers and lay the ground work for a repetitive behavior. Texting has been shown to release these chemicals which are addicting. It is no surprise that children least happy with their lives are the ones that spend the most time texting.

Over half of all young people report of being “cyberbullies". 4 out of 10 cyberbullies send or receive inappropriate images on their mobile phones. Communication over a cell phone is less personal, therefore people say and do things that they would never do to someone’s face.

Darling, you are only 11-years old, you have a lot of time before you need to have a phone. In the mean time, enjoy walking outside and actually looking at your surroundings, playing with your friends face-to-face, and not getting caught up in the worries or pressures from your friend’s texting. Be assured that there is nothing happening in cyberspace that is so important that you will not hear about it, likewise you will not have much of your precious time wasted by the ramblings of bored kids. You are a smart and creative person who will, one day, have a smart phone and be completely plugged-in. Until then, enjoy the liberation of being wired-free.



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