Mobile phone radiation and children

At what age should a child be given a mobile phone? Increasingly, children seen with one are getting younger.

This is driven by the inevitable demands of school life and the increasing amounts of time children spend outside home, in addition to the fact most parents work and want a convenient means to keep in touch with their kids, a very important communication need indeed! To ensure meeting this objective responsibly, there's a story elsewhere on this site about how its usage by children can be regulated via the concept of a simple contract.

But my comment here is more concerned with the ongoing debate of the radiation hazard on young brains.

The director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany testified recently at a Congessional hearing, describing the situation as a critical public health issue, and called on the US government to support further research into the effects.

Professor Carpenter advised that precaution is warranted even in the absence of absolutely final evidence concerning the magnitude of the risk especially for children. And new studies are coming to light on increased probability of tumour growth in the head region, with a possible explanation that radiation from a mobile phone penetrates far deeper into the brain of a five-year-old than that of an adult. This issue and related research findings will be further explored in a feature.

For the present time, the question is not so much as to ban mobile phones outright for children which is an extreme swing reaction IMHO.

Rather, as parents, our questions should be about when our children should be given one, and  regulating its use, not only for teaching fiscal prudence and other lessons but more importantly, for their future mental health. 

Violent behaviour in primary school

Today my nephew came home, with two red gashes on his face! Apparently he had bumped (accidentally he says) into another boy earlier. Then while my nephew was in conversation with a friend, this other boy came up, pulled my nephew's cheek and scratched him. injuredface

I advised his mum to visit the school teacher, and ensure both boys apologised to each other so that they can put the issue behind them and move on.

I would call it part of growing up.

Later while speaking with his teacher, his mum was told that the other boy had some violent tendencies.

Of course, such behaviour can't just be explained away like that.

We will be monitoring the situation. Feedback on this is welcome :(

Exercise alone is not enough!

Today I read in Mind Your Body (the ST Thursday supplement) that exercise alone does not prevent heart disease. It must go hand in hand with eating right. That's obvious, one might say! However, I do come across people who think otherwise.

In the story I read, this guy was running 2 to 3 times a week before he was diagnosed with blocked arteries. His doc told him he could have dropped dead while running...if he had not been found out about the blockages!

That was in 2000 and the operation followed soon after.

Now he cuts out all that rich, oily food like Hokkien mee and char kway teow, all fried stuff, and eats red meat just once a month. His staples are now white meat, fish, raw vegetables and fresh fruits. His memory of extreme bodily discomfort adjusting after the bypass now keeps him from eating unhealthy food.

Since 2005, he's into marathoning!  This year he'll be doing the half-marathon at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December.

A close friend is also training for this marathon. Since early this year, he has dramatically cut his weight and eating healthily...and looking more and more trim :)

For those who want a leg up on this exercise thingy, absolutely critical pre-requisites are that you must be determined and committed.

For the exercise part, you could look out for a suitable gym and instructor...though this could be expensive. Or check out a fitness program that you can try in the comfort of your own home, no more than 15-20 minutes a day alternating with 15-20 minute interval runs about twice a week.

Like anything else, we need to know how and where to start. That's where professional guidance comes. You could try googling turbulence training with Craig Ballantyne for a start. It's working for me!

Finally, whatever course you take, I think we owe it to our loved ones to do all it takes to keep healthy and trim. Eat moderately and exercise regularly. Personally, I find it also helps me to better manage the daily stress of living!

Ode to mothers!

Last Friday we went to see "The Day the Earth Stood Still" at the request of my nephew and niece. It was at the end of an afternoon's outing with them and when my wife joined us after work, her movie suggestion was taken up very enthusiastically by the 7-year-old and 12-year-old :)

Without spoiling (hopefully not much!) of the movie for those who have yet to see it, what struck me was the movie premise for the averting of imminent disaster for the survival of humans as a species. "Yes, there's another side to you" says Klaatu the alien as he witnessed an emotional scene between mother and child. And upon that observation that humans can show selfless love, humans were saved!

The continued health and wellbeing of the species was thus contingent on the love of mother and child! (hence the classification of this blog under health & wellbeing!). 

It brings home to mind that very often this power of the love of mother for child (taking just the mother's angle) can often be underestimated when it is in fact critical for the health and wellbeing of a family, hopefully ably supported by an appreciative father.

In conclusion, I wish to convey my whole hearted appreciation of all mothers (and their assistants!) during this school break.