Children, the most vulnerable members of society, are being subjected to unprecedented levels of radiofrequency (RF) exposure. Not only is WiFi a central feature of the modern classroom, but cell towers and small cells are being built on or near school grounds. This section provides resources to help create a safer internet-enabled school environment for children, students and teachers.
Reducing RF Exposure at School
- Create Dedicated Zones. Wireless devices transmit RF signals to connect devices via WiFi and Bluetooth. Reduce RF exposure at school by limiting the use of wireless devices such as smartboards, tablets and laptops in the classroom. Instead, create technology-specific rooms e.g., computer labs and libraries.
- Disable WiFi and Switch to a Wired Connection. WiFi-enabled devices and routers constantly transmit and receive RF signals in order to form an active internet connection, using the air as a medium to do so. Connecting to the internet via ethernet cables eliminates this unnecessary exposure and provides faster internet speeds.
- Activate Airplane Mode and Disable all Wireless Antennas. When devices are not in use, every wireless antenna should be disabled to reduce unnecessary RF exposure. Keep in mind that activating airplane mode may not disable every antenna. Ensure that WiFi, GPS, NFC and Bluetooth antennas are disabled.
- Distance is Key. RF exposure from electronic devices such as WiFi routers and smartphones generally decreases with distance from the source. Ensure the distance between devices and bodies is maximized e.g., cell phones should not be carried on the body and laptops should be used on a desk.
- Limit Time Spent on Devices. Children will likely experience significantly greater RF exposure during the course of their lives compared to adults and from a younger age. Limit the amount of time students spend engaging with devices and educate them to be conscious of their daily usage.
- Avoid Wireless Bluetooth Devices. The frequencies used by Bluetooth devices are very similar to those used by WiFi routers. Wireless devices such as Bluetooth headphones, keyboards and mice all emit RF radiation close to the body. Wired alternatives are widely available and should be preferred over wireless options.
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