Children and Technology
Lowering Wireless Radiation in Your Home
BOOKS: Good Reads
- Cell Towers-Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? (2000) Edited by Blake Levitt, an award-winning medical and science journalist and former New York Times contributor. This book lists different chapters from different authors who contributed to a “Cell Towers Forum: State of the Science/State of the law” environmental conference December 2, 2000. This is a classic book with still very valuable information on FCC safety guidelines, legal aspects of the Telecommunications Act, cell tower sitings and case law. A good read for anyone interested in the complex issues surrounding cell towers or dealing with fighting cell towers. It makes this entire subject much more understandable.
Culture, Privacy, Security
- World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. Franklin Foer.( 2017) Our culture has immersed itself into intoxicatingly convenient technology. We have allowed computers to control the flow of information and inadvertently imperiled ourselves. The author argues that with only a few companies controlling most of the services we purchase through the internet we are becoming prey to misinformation along with a sobering lack of security and privacy. We are also outsourcing our brains by becoming so dependent on technology. Foer deftly exposes the dark side of technology in the age of automation and gives a warning that resistance to this overarching control of our lives is imperative.
- Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber. Joe Clement and Matt Miles. (2017) As schools rush to give every child a computer no one has asked if learning is improved or if there are downsides to overexposure to this digital technology. These observant and passionate teachers aim to educate and empower the reader, showing how excess screen time can cause social and emotional problems in students. Instead of enhancing learning, this technology is harming their education. The authors provide step by step advice to effect changes in schools and institute smarter ways to educate students.
- Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Adam Alter. (2017) This New York Times best selling author and professor of psychology dives into the methods of behavioral addiction and how technology companies have deliberately used this knowledge, engineering this into their products. He notes that compared to the 1990’and 2000’s these products are more efficient and more addictive. The old hooks of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs are being added to with email hooks, online shopping hooks and Instagram hooks. He teaches us why these products are so irresistible, why it is changing human behavior and what we can do to reverse engineer this in our lives in order to find a sane balance.
- The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. (2017) Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL. As a pediatric endocrinologist and UCSF Professor Emeritus, Dr. Lustig is best known for his work on identifying and preventing obesity in children by examining their addiction to sugary beverages. He coined the phrase “Coca Cola conspiracy” to underscore deliberate industry tactics to addict us to unhealthy drinks. He now puts cell phones in the same category as soda in it’s design for addiction. A seminal work that clearly separates what gives us pleasure with quick reward versus true happiness with long term individual and social benefits. The neuroscience behind addiction and contentment are clearly described. He thoughtfully examines our culture and shows us a path forward to both health and happiness. Superbly interesting and empowering.
Electromagnetic Fields and Health Effects
- The Body Electric. (1985) Dr. Robert O. Becker. This is a classic read on how an orthopedic surgeon examining tiny electrical impulses causing bone fractures to heal wound up studying regeneration of limbs and along the way obtaining a broader understanding of the effects of electromagnetic radiation. His book reads like a detective novel that is hard to put down. He pursues important research despite others in his field who dismiss him. Dr. Becker details how electrical currents affect all living things with sober and eloquent warnings in the last chapter about the continued rise of wireless devices on planetary health.
- Cross Currents: The Perils of Electropollution. (1990) Dr. Robert O. Becker. A fascinating read from an orthopedic surgeon who was a pioneering researcher in the field of EMF current and bone healing. He explains more about the newer research regarding all electric fields and how this can affect every system in our bodies. Well written. This book comes after his classic and wonderfully written “The Body Electric”.
- Electromagnetic Fields: A consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to protect Ourselves. (1995, 2000) Blake Levitt has written another important book which explains this complex issue with intelligence and clarity. She writes about the many facets of this issue even explaining in simple and not overwhelming detail electromagnetic frequencies and electricity. She then details how our bodies and cells generate and use electric signals to operate. Reports of impacts on humans and animals is included. The results of earlier studies which have been the basis of our modern research are highlighted and should not be ignored. This work is a good and easy read before diving into the newer research. It provides a solid foundation of knowledge for physicians, researchers and the public.
- The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life. (2017) Arthur Firstenberg. An astounding, provocative and essential reference on how electricity was discovered in the 1700’s along with scientific observations of biological and health effects of early researchers. Teachers, parents, students and those interested in both scientific history and/or health effects from electricity will truly enjoy this well-referenced, easily readable book which is, as other reviewers have noted, hard to put down.
- Overpowered: What Science Tells Us About the Dangers of Cell Phones and Other WiFi-Age Devices. (2014) Martin Blank, PhD. This is the new classic work discussing the latest science of wireless devices in a logical and organized fashion. He starts with his own disbelief that radio frequencies could cause biological effects, let alone biological harm. This is exceptionally well done and a book often recommended as one of the first to read the understand this issue.
- Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s on Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. (2008). David Michaels. With a unique style and shocking facts about industry efforts to bury and dismiss science (and sometimes scientists) this is another must read for all working to understand why tobacco took so long to be regulated and why toxins are still accumulating in our environment. David Michael’s is an epidemiologist and former Assistant Secretary of Energy and the Environment, Safety, and Health during the Clinton Administration, working on protecting the health of workers and the community around the nation’s nuclear weapon’s facilities. He has an insider’s perspective about clever industry tactics deployed with tobacco and still used today. His book is well-researched, fact-based and thoroughly referenced. You will feel much more enlightened after reading this book.
- Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation. (2010) Devra Davis, PhD. This is a very engaging investigative book, detailing how scientific inquiry in a sensitive area can lead to employment dismissal. Epidemiologist, noted author and founder of the Environmental Health Trust, Dr. Davis recounts the political underpinnings of the dismissal and discredit of many honest scientists working on cell phone radiation harm. She conducted direct interviews with the researches to fully document this series of events. Very much of an eye opener and a page turner.
Psychosocial Issues of Technology Use
- The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. (2014). Catherine Steiner-Adair, clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. As a clinical psychologist and school consultant Steiner-Adair writes about her experiences with children and how the use of technology can be disruptive to families and society. Well written and very engaging with valuable advice on how to deal with real-life situations. Highly recommended.
- Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat: Strategies for Solving the Real Parenting Problems. (2017) Naomi Schaefer Riley. Technology is becoming an integral part of childhood and is making life easier for parents who now have an convenient distraction for their kids. Mom and dad are finding out, however, that there are social and emotional effects of too much of this seductive digital technology. They now want to take control of parenting again. Riley advises it may not be easy as you have to replace technology with more time consuming human interaction. Be prepared for her “tough mommy tips”. This is sure to be a valuable resource guide to healthier parenting.
- Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment. (2014) Kenneth Rosenberg, MD and Laura Feder, Psy.D Is an authoritative text on the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral addictions. It defines behavioral addictions versus impulse control disorders and how best to treat them. It is a useful guide for clinicians.
- Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time. (2015). Dr. Victoria Dunkley. With the easy access to tablets, cell phones and computers at home and school physicians have now discovered excess use leads to dysregulation of emotions and behavior. This book offers step by step help to parents who recognize that excessive screen time is affecting their children’s behavior, emotions and grades. Well written by an experienced integrative psychiatrist, Dr. Dunckley has termed this syndrome Electronic Screen Syndrome. Very straightforward and readable with important basic information. Highly recommended to anyone who has a child using digital devices.
- The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. (2017) Florence Williams. The antidote to our technology seems to be a walk in the woods or in a local park. Florence Williams brings us the fascinating cutting edge science of why the experience of nature can enhance mood and creativity. It seems just the aroma of cypress can improve our disposition and lower our blood pressure. While many famous poets and musicians have gained inspiration in the wilderness, her in depth investigation explains why evolutionarily a connection to nature is vital to our health and humanity. She gives new meaning to the the phrase “nature heals”.