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Wireless Networks Thread, Parent concerns about wifi safety in Technical; Hi all I am working in a primary school as a volunteer helping with some IT projects (keeping fingers crossed ...
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    Parent concerns about wifi safety

    Hi all

    I am working in a primary school as a volunteer helping with some IT projects (keeping fingers crossed for a paid role soon!).

    A wifi network has recently been installed in part of the school. The head has received some queries from one parent who is worried about the scare stories in the media about wifi safety for kids. He wants me to try and put some information together so he can respond to the parent properly.

    Does anyone know what the most recent official advice is on this? From Googling I can see that the HPA are due to report on it later this year, and that it appears that the WHO says it's safe (because there's no reliable evidence that it isn't) but the Council of Europe say it shouldn't be in schools until there's clear evidence that it IS safe.

    Is there any official advice I need to be aware of? Thank you.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    This is not the first time it's reared it's head. The parents who complain probably all have mobiles and so do their offspring... there's more radiation from those. I'll try to track down some officialdom for you, but the gist is that wifi's not a problem.

    EDIT
    Here you go: The World Health Organisation is pretty reliable usually! Electromagnetic fields and public health | WHO

    From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short- or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 18th April 2012 at 06:23 PM.

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    ICTLady (18th April 2012)

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    plexer's Avatar
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    As they're primary I'm guessing the answer will be no but do their kids have mobiles?

    Ben

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    ICTLady (18th April 2012)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    The Council of Europe however can be filed in amongst the same reliable source as the Daily Mail.

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    ICTLady (18th April 2012), SimpleSi (18th April 2012)

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    As they're primary I'm guessing the answer will be no but do their kids have mobiles?

    Ben
    The answer will be yes even in primary these days I'm afraid

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    Yeah, that

    Our general position is:

    Schoolname has yet to see evidence linking use of Wireless networks to ill health. What Schoolname has found is that Wireless networks provide opportunities to use ICT in ways (and areas) where it would otherwise be absent. Schoolname considers student safety as our most important responsibility and will review our postion should a credible, repeatable peer-reviewed study indicate a causal link between WiFi use and health problems.

    Further reading:

    BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare – Bad Science
    Wi-Fi Wants To Kill Your Children… But Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch sells the cure! – Bad Science
    Beeb coughs to Panorama WiFi-scare travesty ? The Register
    There was also a thread on here discussing it: http://www.edugeek.net/forums/networ...0-tonight.html

    Or you could hand them this :

    Wifi alert.jpg

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    ICTLady (18th April 2012)

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    Thank you all!! That's pretty much what I had gleaned from Google but really useful to know how it is working out there in the field, especially your school statement, @pete. I shall suggest that wording to our Head.
    @plexer, they don't have mobiles but I'm sure their parents all do. AND........... there is a microwave in the school kitchen...........

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    It's probably worth adding that with public hotspots, general coverage in public areas can often exceed what is in schools, plus wireless coverage in schools isn't exactly a new or uncommon thing. Might help allay any fears if you invite the person asking the questions to query safeguards etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    It's probably worth adding that with public hotspots, general coverage in public areas can often exceed what is in schools, plus wireless coverage in schools isn't exactly a new or uncommon thing. Might help allay any fears if you invite the person asking the questions to query safeguards etc.
    Might help cause fears if you let people know how much radiation they're generally receiving anyway: http://xkcd.com/radiation/

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    Michael's Avatar
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    To my knowledge, the majority of UK ISPs will supply a wireless capable router when you sign up, so there are a lot of people out there using wireless everyday. In every street there are a growing number of public and private wireless networks, as there are in schools and businesses. Personally I don't know of anyone who's suffered ill health due to wireless, with the exception of people who live very close to mobile phone antennas.

    It should be noted however that the power of a mobile phone antenna is possibly hundreds or thousands of times stronger than a single mobile or wireless access point.

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Covered pretty well (and wryly, I should add) in an earlier thread on t'geek.

    http://www.edugeek.net/forums/behind...eless-ban.html

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    There is no real way of assuaging the doubts of people who don't grasp that living life is harmful to a long life but necessary at the same time

    As others have said, mention that wi-fi radiation is far far far less than mobile phone radiation and then if they come back with we don't use mobiles for that reason then explain that they'll need to find a specialist school that is more in keeping with their personal life choices

    Si
    PS I'd get the head to tell them where to go BTW - not you

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I know of primary age kids with mobiles, my 7 year old has friends with them but she's not having one.

    Ben

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    Hi
    The WHO has increased wifi to a type 2b cancer risk.
    Israel has banned the tv advertising of home wifi.
    France have concerns, they plan to ericadate wifi in public buildings and schools within 5 years.
    I'll find the link in a bit

    All of the advice is from the latest study in 2009. Things have moved on a lot since then, stronger signals etc

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    This is probably the report that started the latest round of concern and press mis-reporting about the EU banning WiFi and mobiles in schools:

    Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

    However some counties have taken precautionary measures - I believe France and Austria are ordering the removal of WiFi and limiting the use of mobile phones in their primary schools..



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