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anyone else concerned about danger of WIFI in schools?

(61 Posts)
kalo12 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:38:49

My child's school has just announced that they have installed WIFi extensively throughout the school. I am horrified. I have done a bit of research on the internet and found a very good website www.wiredchild.org
which explains the dangers, especially to children, of having multiple wifi devices altogether.

There is a wealth of new research coming to light of the dangers of WIFi and many countries are making proposals to ban it in schools entirely (and in some countries, public places in general).

Britain has the second highest levels of radiation from wireless devices in the world - hundred times higher than some countries.

Can't schools just use wired connections?

Anyone else concerend about this? Is this something to worry about?

tilder Sun 02-Dec-12 21:45:23

No.

Mendeleyev Sun 02-Dec-12 21:46:12

No

Mendeleyev Sun 02-Dec-12 21:46:42

grin

Hulababy Sun 02-Dec-12 21:46:45

We have wifi at the school I am at, as does DD's school. I have wifi at home too. It isn't something I worry about tbh.

forevergreek Sun 02-Dec-12 21:47:01

everywhere you go now has it. its unavoidable. go for a coffee at starbucks they have it, get you hair done they have it, shopping centre have etc etc

TessabelleDaydreamer Sun 02-Dec-12 21:47:51

Not really, there are bigger things to be concerned IMHO

ISeeSmallPeople Sun 02-Dec-12 21:47:55

No. I have it at home. As do most sane people.

I feel no need for a tin foil hat. smile

baublesandbaileys Sun 02-Dec-12 21:48:21

nope

TessabelleDaydreamer Sun 02-Dec-12 21:48:52

*concerned about!

Yes. My toddler glitches and malfunctions near WiFi so nursery will be difficult

RedZombie Sun 02-Dec-12 21:49:44

No

LynetteScavo Sun 02-Dec-12 21:53:45

I'm not concerned. Should I be? We have Wiff at home and in all my DC's schools, and I have it at work...and I think DH must too.

We have big telephone mast near schools too.

Should I freak out?

nightcat Mon 03-Dec-12 09:39:12

kalo, I am with you on this one, no one seems to be concerned about any longer term problems vs short term benefit. I also hate the idea of the "smart" electric/gas meters that are forthcoming apparently.
Cant see how it can be avoided though, short of removing one-self from it to a remote faraway country sad

Went to ENT dr a few years ago with ear problem and even before examining me, he asked if I use mobile phone much as he sees lots of people with brain tumours located nr the ear they use the phone. In the end, no help from ENT, but my ear was fixed thanks to osteopath. I still only use the phone when I really have to.

No. Do you not have any wifi in your neighbourhood? I can see multiple wifi networks in my house. Same as my work, my smart phone is connected to the wifi.

Themumsnot Mon 03-Dec-12 09:42:41

No.

MrsGeologist Mon 03-Dec-12 09:43:48

Yes! <dons tinfoil hat>

Handily, these also block out the mind reading rays.

Seriously though, WIFI is everywhere. If there are long term health problems that we cannot yet forsee, we're ALL fucked, so why worry?

CinnabarRed Mon 03-Dec-12 09:49:29

You might just as well worry about radio waves, which are all pervasive and have been around for a hundred years.....

BahSaidPaschaHumbug Mon 03-Dec-12 09:56:02

Unless you're intending to home educate and never let your child set foot in someone's home, a shopping centre, airport, hotel, train, library, anywhere in a town centre, any school or university, coffee shop, restaurant or choose to live in timbuktoo I think you may not be onto a winner with that one.

Meanwhile, here is a useful site for you I think.

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Mon 03-Dec-12 09:58:02

No.

I have wifi at home.

Looking at the connection thingie, so do all my neighbours.

And lots of local businesses.

I think there's wifi bouncing around all over the place.

Even if the school got rid of it - it's everywhere. What difference would it make?

never let your child set foot in someone's home

That doesn't even work unless you live in the middle of nowhere. Most people can see their neighbours wifi. Just look into your phone or computer's wireless network connection thingie. But then I guess the OP doesn't have a mobile or TV. They all work on this invisible radio wave isn't it shock.

Unfortunately any negative health effects from WiFi will not be stopped by avoiding it in schools. WiFi is everywhere. I don't have it in my home but can pick up signals from 3 different WiFi networks from my neighbours - when I have tech savvy guests staying they love it because they can piggy-back on to these.

DDs school does not have WiFi, but she is exposed to it everywhere else we go.

WiFi may be harmful to a small extent, in that some people may get diseases triggered by it. But that can be said about anything we have in modern living - the chemicals in the environment and in our food, the general stresses of everyday living, pollution, etc. and a whole host of other modern factors.

Oh FFS. Something else to freak out about at 3am sad

OpheliasWeepingWillow Mon 03-Dec-12 10:44:36

Bad drivers
Choking
Kidnappers

Yes

Wifi - no. Really, no

ByTheWay1 Mon 03-Dec-12 10:48:10

The problem with wifi in schools is that the central hub usually has to be much more powerful than a home wifi - once our head teacher realised this - and the fact that said central hub was just outside his office - he had wired networking to each corridor put in place and then smaller, lower powered wifi hubs there.

I am a bit concerned - I don't have a mobile or cordless phone in the bedroom, and our wifi is off when not in use.... but then my dad (and my gran - his mum) died from a brain tumour - both were strong users of the early analogue mobile phones.... which of course couldn't do any harm

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 11:13:03

There is a wealth of new research coming to light of the dangers of WIFi

Please cite any and all peer-reviewed research published in reputable journals that demonstrates the dangers of WiFi signals in real-world scenarios.

wiredchild is not a "very good website". It's a crap website peddling half-truths, blatant bollocks and hysterical scare-mongering.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 11:14:22

Yes, you aren't nuts!

IwishyouaMerryChristmas Mon 03-Dec-12 11:20:13

Nope, can't say I am to be honest OP.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Mon 03-Dec-12 11:23:37

No, get a grip.

Wired wouldn't work in dc's school.

They all have personal ipads which are used in class.

And no I'm not worried about it. Although no-one knows the actual long term risks the WiFi wavelengths are low energy and are on what is considered to be the safe end of the spectrum.

Oh ofc they have ipads at school. A friend has a child going to reception next year. She said the schools all have ipads for the reception kids. I was shock. Many modern devices expect you to have wireless connections. They don't have a ethernet plug.

Even my nintendo DS for years ago only connect to wireless. I think their school printer is on wireless too. Since mine is. I can't imagine the days when you actually need to connect a printer to your computer!

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 11:33:59

ByTheWay, I think your head teacher is wrong misinformed. Pretty much all WiFi access points (the small, portable hotspot-type excepted) will be able to generate up to the maximum permissible signal strength. You don't get super-powered ones, they're all the same.

There are legal limits to WiFi power levels. For example, ETSI EN 301 893 is the standard you want for 5GHz 802.11n WiFi. That limits power to 23dBm which is about 200mW. I can't put my hand on the equivalent standard for 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n but I think it's about the same.

Note that these are substantially lower power levels than allowed for mobile phone usage plus the use-case is very different. You don't tend to hold your WiFi-equipped laptop up to the side of your head when you're using it. And, as radiated signal strength drops off very quickly over distance (inverse-square law), that makes a lot of difference.

IwishyouaMerryChristmas Mon 03-Dec-12 11:50:43

Very informative post Snorbs.

I'm envy of your technical knowledge and understanding!

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 12:11:27

Aha! Found the one for 802.11b/g/n at 2.4GHz: ETSI EN 300 328. I knew I had it around here somewhere.

Maximum permissible power levels are 20dBm which is 100mW. Less than I thought.

milkwagon Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:14

Do you read the Daily Mail per chance?

NulliusInBlurba Mon 03-Dec-12 15:09:36

For the tin foil hat wearers among you, apparently there is some sort of paint that can repel the evil wi-fi rays hmm. A woman once bought a router from me - obviously not a wi-fi one - and said she was having every room in her house painted with the stuff because their friends had a child who had unfortunately developed leukaemia, and they lived near an electricity mast. So the woman had put two and two together and come up with a significantly larger figure than four - she insisted the electricity mast had to be responsible, therefore she had to protect her family by blocking out every wi-fi signal, too. I'm not sure what she proposed to do with signals coming through the windows, or through the floors if she lived in a flat. Some people just get bees in their bonnets about things and refuse to listen to sense. I prefer to protect my DC by making sure they're not obsessed with making mobile calls.

Thanks for the practical information, snorbs - much more useful than hysteria.

You mean this NulliusInBlurba http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8279549.stm

It doesn't sound very 'safe' to me. The paint has magnetic particles grin. Or is it just the electric fields around power lines that are dangerous, and not the magnetic fields?

ByTheWay1 Mon 03-Dec-12 15:45:29

What gets me most I think is that we now live in this electromagnetic "fog" ALL the time and yet no studies have been done (or publicised at least) on the effects this is all having on long term health - I guess because they have not been round long term yet.

I'm not hysterical just curious - why WOULDN'T continual low level electromagnetic radiation have any effect.... electromagnetic wavelengths at various parts of the frequency spectrum HAVE been found to cause long term harm - X-Rays, gamma rays, parts of light itself UVA and B are all harmful to the human body in some ways especially when subjected to them repeatedly or over long periods of time....

NulliusInBlurba Mon 03-Dec-12 15:46:18

"Or is it just the electric fields around power lines that are dangerous, and not the magnetic fields?"
I have no idea what this woman was thinking exactly, but I certainly wouldn't want my house covered in the stuff. I suspect she was just terrified by the lack of control that comes when someone close to you seems to inexplicably fall ill sad and she was just looking for something, anything, to blame as a way of 'protecting' her own family from the same fate. Logic doesn't really come into it.

ByTheWay electromagnetic radiation has been around us for, um, forever. As you say, even visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We have radios and TVs since the 20s at least (I don't know if my 80yo grandma has radio when she was young). And the crucial difference between all the rays you listed, x-rays, gamma rays, visible light, etc, is that spectrum we use for communication is very low frequency. They are all below infrared (and microwave fyi). The longer the wavelength, the lower the energy it is in the wave.

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 16:59:40

why WOULDN'T continual low level electromagnetic radiation

Because the key phrase there is "low level". We are continually bathed in electromagnetic radiation from the universe as a whole and the Sun in particular. For instance, on a sunny day at our latitude you can expect to be hit with close to a 1000W of multi-frequency radiation from the Sun. That's ten thousand times more radiation than you would absorb compared to sitting there with the aerial of a WiFi access point stuck up your bum.

The other issue is that not all electromagnetic radiation is the same. High-energy electromagnetic radiation is powerful enough to disrupt the structure of atoms. This is known as ionizing radiation and can be very dangerous. UV light, X-rays, gamma rays etc are all ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

Lower-energy electromagnetic radiation simply isn't strong enough to disrupt atomic structure. Such radiation is consequently known as non-ionizing radiation. The worst non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation can do is to cause localised heating and even then you need a lot of it. For example, the hundreds of Watts of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, all concentrated into one small spot, that a microwave oven has to generate to be able to heat food.

WiFi signals are significantly lower energy than even infrared light. They are most definitely non-ionizing. Plus they're generated at low overall power levels. They're simply not powerful enough to cause damage.

nightcat Mon 03-Dec-12 17:57:44

True for ionising/non-ionising radiation in the context of structural/physical damage to molecules/atoms.
However even low level electromagnetic radiation has a polarising effect on other electromagnetic fields whether biological or man-made - after all we do get interference between various sources of electromagnetic radiation - and all our cells do have a v v weak electromagnetic potential.
Don't they tell us to switch off mobiles when flying or in hospitals? This is on the man-made scale, but none of this is ever considered in terms of effect on our cells. My 2 pennies worth..

thixotropic Mon 03-Dec-12 18:03:43

I have one thing to say on the subject of radiation sources.

The.Sun.

And not the bloody newspaper. Really everything else is utterly piddling by comparison to what comes off that baby.

thixotropic Mon 03-Dec-12 18:05:26

Xpost with Snorbs.

ArkadyRose Mon 03-Dec-12 18:08:09

Anyone who actually believes the rubbish on that wiredchild site deserves the sleepless nights of worrying they're going to give themselves for reading such bollocks.

That people actually believe such tinfoil crap is a sad indicator of the level of scientific teaching in this country.

nightcat Mon 03-Dec-12 18:20:22

Anyone interested could scroll about half way in the link below how ELF (extremely low frequency) can affect people, examples being sleep, epilepsy as well as therapeutic uses.

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 19:10:13

nightcat,

even low level electromagnetic radiation has a polarising effect on other electromagnetic fields

Really? Are you suggesting that, say, a low level of microwaves can change the polarisation of, eg, light? Because to my admittedly non-expert view, that sounds like Nobel prize-winning physics. Please cite any and all peer-reviewed research published in reputable journals that demonstrates this effect.

after all we do get interference between various sources of electromagnetic radiation - and all our cells do have a v v weak electromagnetic potential.

What's the connection? Please cite any and all peer-reviewed research published in reputable journals that demonstrates this effect.

Don't they tell us to switch off mobiles when flying or in hospitals?

Er, yes, but I don't see the connection between this and human effects. They also tell us not to drop our mobile phones in the bath. Does that mean that humans shouldn't get wet?

This is on the man-made scale, but none of this is ever considered in terms of effect on our cells.

That is simply not true. There's an enormous wealth of research out there on the effects of electromagnetic radiation of varying energies and duration on living cells, individual organs and entire organisms. As a starting point, try the World Health Organization.

kalo12 Mon 03-Dec-12 21:21:19

I thought the WHO had classed wifi rays as a class 2B carcinogen - the same as cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes, which I certainly wouldn't want pumped in to my child's classroom 9-3 everyday.

I know wifi is everywhere, but the website suggests that it is the multiple devices in a confined space like a classroom. I'm not very technical at all but it is a bit worrying when other european countries are proposing to ban installation in schools, (infact I think I read that Germany and Israel already have)

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 21:48:44

The WHO said no such thing regarding WiFi signals. Or cigarette smoke, for that matter. Cigarette smoke is a WHO class A carcinogen (ie, it's known to cause cancer).

What the WHO did say was that there is limited evidence that mobile phone use might cause an increase in the risk of gliomas (a rare form of brain cancer). Because of this limited evidence, it's classed as a 2B carcinogen - there might be a link but there isn't enough science to be sure either way.

I noted previously the significant differences between mobile phone signal strength/usage and those of WiFi systems that means that any risks presented by mobile phones are not necessarily applicable to WiFi. It's like the difference between being hit with water from a fire hose and that from a water pistol.

Regarding use of multiple devices in a confined space, if there is a WiFi access point in the classroom then the total signal strength will actually be lower than if there the access point was a long way away. The WiFi transceivers will automatically scale back their signal strength as they won't need to be operating at full power to get a good connection.

Here is the WHO's summary of its findings. I really do suggest you pay more attention to the source documents and the science behind it and less to made-up, scare-mongering bollocks such as the website you linked to.

Snorbs I think we should let kalo go back and live in a cave. By the way, are you using a computer to type on mumsnet? Do you know you are sitting very close to a radiation device?

kalo12 Mon 03-Dec-12 22:10:37

I just remember an article in the TES some time ago discussing the dangers and how children were more vulnerable because of their thinner skulls.

I know you can't stop progress though and its just brilliant being able to watch a bit of a film on your phone whilst waiting at the bus stop, or checking your ebay account from the dentisit wating room. hmm

Snorbs Mon 03-Dec-12 22:13:46

Nice ignoring of all the points I raised, kalo.

Let's not let facts get in the way of some good old scare-mongering bollocks, eh?

Kalo you can't even tell wifi from mobile networks can you? You use the mobile network on the Internet at the bus stop. I haven't seen a dentist offering free wifi either so it's also likely you will be on the net through the mobile network there as well. Those have nothing to do with wifi. You might as well be comparing wifi to electric car charging stations giving out harmful radiations.

CinnabarRed Tue 04-Dec-12 08:57:10

Anyone else now a little bit in love with Snorbs?

MrsGeologist Wed 05-Dec-12 22:44:00

Yes, Cinnabar, science gives me the horn grin

ColdHardyJill Fri 07-Dec-12 20:22:29

How disappointing. Someone asks a question 'are you concerned' to receive a surprisingly high proportion of sarcastic, ridiculing answers. There's just no need, why not be supportive? 'no, I don't think you should worry, that site ignores the science.if you want more realistic information try ... .com'
I assumed this site would encourage a more supportive culture in these forums.
I personally don't know much about radiation, and had I been pregnant 60yrs ago I probably would have let the hospital xray my unborn kid, a practice which was accepted as safe for a time, and it's now known to increase chances of cancer. Good on you kalo12, there's no harm in questioning what you are suspicious of, and seeking more info.

lookWho Wed 12-Jun-13 18:44:25

Thank you ColdHardyJill I totally agree with you - I found this discussions while trying to research the dangers of Wi-Fi in schools. I am also concerned as my little D started full time this year.

Reading through all the comments above, I was shocked as I also thought that this site would be more open-minded and supportive of another members 'completely legitimate' worries over her child. I know it's been a few months since the debate started however I thought I'd update you on the fact that France have recently banned Wi-Fi in all their schools!!!

So, for what it is worth, I think Wi-Fi in schools is something we should all be concerned about and should not idly dismiss without further researching and debating etc. After all modern technology has been evolving so quickly, how much research on its safety has there been before they have been dished out to the public.

France looked at the long term research conducted thus far and have concluded that they are not going to risk their children's health just because the service providers of wireless Industry say it is safe - they are obviously going to be bias. After all didn't the Tabaco industry do the same years ago.

In a modern world with so many new gadgets (some very useful and others I agree are essential now) how do we protect our children in the classrooms? It's simply not good enough to state that just because children are already exposed to a layering effect from the electromagnetic smog wherever they go now that we should not worry about it the schools. Due to the directness, proximity and continual exposure (even though it is low) that the children subjected to throughout the day is the harmful effect. At home you can turn the Wi-Fi off when not in use but at school they are exposed all day whether they are using it or not and that it what concerns me the most.

kalo12 - I hope there will be a safe solution for all our kids... thank you for raising the issue x

Ragusa Wed 12-Jun-13 21:18:21

Not worried, no, because there seems to be no giod evidence it's harmful anf like other posters have said, wifi is everywhere.

I also don't rate that site (wiredchild). It looks amateur and the websites it links to are equally rubbish.... some nonsense about curing cancer with vegetables hmm

allison1234 Mon 17-Jun-13 13:16:28

Kalo keep researching this subject. There are 1800 peer reviewed studies to suggest there are biological effects from wifi. Its exactly because 'its everywhere' that we need to keep it out of schools. Our children are there approx 35 hours a week and are therefore subjected to pulsed radiation for the whole of that period. It is the NON-THERMAL effects which are harmful, and these are NOT covered by any safety guidelines in the UK. Indeed the UKs Chief Medical Officer said our safety guidelines were outdated about 10 years ago and think how much more widespread wifi is now! Until the mobile companies can offer conclusive proof that it is 100% safe, why would any parent think it ok to take the risk instead of a wired system?

specialsubject Mon 17-Jun-13 16:27:09

nothing in life is 100% safe and we are all going to die. Asking for 100% proof of anything except the effects of gravity shows a level of scientific ignorance that is quite embarrassing.

If you believe all this, you'd better get off the internet, stop using a mobile or cordless phone, cut off the electricity to your house (generates e-fields - aren't you worried?), and go live in a cave to stay away from sunlight. You will of course need vitamin D supplements.

alternatively you could learn the basic science which shows that this is all bollocks. Studies done by real scientists, not the purveyors of woo, have never shown any problems.

allison1234 Mon 17-Jun-13 19:02:14

I am astounded at the aggressive nature of your comments!! Do you work for a mobile phone company??? Anyway - I won't bother to justify myself to you - but Kalo, please look at this and do what is best for you and your children. Don't take my word for it... look at real scientists and real studies... there are plenty out there. Anyway - thats my last word on it - didn't realise mums on here got so insulting!

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