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wifi in schools

(71 Posts)
wholemeal Sat 18-Oct-08 09:23:27

There seem to be may views about the safety of WiFi in schools. I have recently seen the site wifiinschools.org.uk, which describes scientific papers suggesting adverse health effects from WiFi. They mention epilepsy, precocious puberty, cognitive impairment, pregnancy, male fertility and brain activity....
What are people's views? Is there anything that parents can do if they are concerned about their children using WiFi, but most schools have it?

SqueakyPop Sat 18-Oct-08 09:39:13

Hmm - very strange link.

I wonder if they are talking about peer-reviewed studies. I'd like to know their hypotheses before they come up with correlations.

I loved the one about mobile phone use in pregancy and bad behaviour in their children once they reached the age of seven. I have to imagine that the confounders are far more significant, such as bad parenting in general (including yapping on the phone and ignoring the kid - yes, due mobiles, but nothing particular sinister about the little chap's brain development).

needmorecoffee Sat 18-Oct-08 09:41:29

I'd want proper studies done before it was allowed.
Whats wrong with plugging the computer into the wall socket?

FAQ Sat 18-Oct-08 09:42:36

shouldn't laugh - but the first thing I thought as I read the 3rd paragraph on the linked page was "oh yes like they used to say microwaved food (even oven cooked food warmed up again) was dangerous because of the micowaves that got into the food}"

RubberDuck Sat 18-Oct-08 09:43:47

Wi-Fi Wants To Kill Your Children! - an interesting look at the science by Ben Goldacre.

Particularly this bit:

"But there are far bigger issues, and ones where Panorama were unambiguously scurrilous. They spent a long time covering “electrosensitivity”. There are over 30 double blind studies of people who believe that their symptoms, such as dizziness and heaches, are caused by immediate exposure to electromagnetic signals: essentially these studies all show that sufferers cannot tell when a source of signal is present or absent".

Personally, I'm not worried.

SqueakyPop Sat 18-Oct-08 12:29:19

There's nothing wrong with being tethered to one spot, coffee. But then there's nothing really wrong with being mobile with a lappy either.

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sat 18-Oct-08 12:46:52

adverse health effects from WiFi... pregnancy ???

MerlinsBeard Sat 18-Oct-08 12:51:53

wholemeal, you have 3 posts all to do with wifi in schools

are you a journalist (or researcher?) in which case this would need to be in media/non member requests and you should pay MNHQ

RubberDuck Sat 18-Oct-08 13:26:12

HAHA Soupy I missed that. Virgin birth for the modern age... "it was the WiFi, honest!"

willali Sat 18-Oct-08 13:53:45

ffs you wouldn't get out of bed if you beleived all the spuruous "research" done by people at not very good Universities and/or paid by people to come up with "evidence" to support a pre selected "conclusion"

needmorecoffee Sat 18-Oct-08 14:01:50

well, given the research on mobile phones was rubbished for years I'd be wary of wi-fi too. I want to see proper reserahc and safety studies.
When we campaigned to stop a mobile mast going up opposite my house we won cos of the research that used to be laughed at.

wholemeal Sat 18-Oct-08 18:49:07

No, I'm not a journalist, Mumofmonsters. I only found this site this week. Very useful one too! I am concerned about WiFi though. I thought there might be others out there who were also concerned and had had some good ideas of how to deal with most schools now using WiFi and their children having to use them. Has anyone come up with a good solution for their children? There must be others concerned, I'm not that odd smile.

The Article by Ben Goldachre may be criticising the Panorama programme, but that doesn't mean that the good science done on the subject can be rejected too - and there seems to be a lot out there.

MrsGhoulofGhostbourne Sun 19-Oct-08 10:08:16

Well if wifi is a problem then they should also steer clear of almost every coffee shop round here, and EVERY McDonalds!

WhizzzingAroundOnABroomstick Sun 19-Oct-08 10:10:58

needmorecoffee - in a class of 30, you can't always plug every PC into the wall / internet connection, hence the need for WiFi. To be honest these days it's practically all aorund us anyway - can't really avoid

willali Mon 20-Oct-08 09:10:32

whizzing - tpotally agree. To do a proper study on the health effects of wifi you would have to follow a group over several years (wifi has not been around that long) compared with a control group of similar aged subjects and because wifi is all around these control subjects would have to be in some far flung place where a wide range of different environmental factors could not be ruled out as a caause of any different health outcomes to those in the wifi exposed group. It cannot acurately be done and neither can it be done now when wifi has not been around that long. I would rather enjoy the benefits of technology that worry about any minimal chance of harm which in practical terms could never be proven to be caused by wifi in any event

wholemeal Mon 20-Oct-08 09:34:26

If there are risks from Wifi, then how irresponsible of the Government and decision makers to allow the technology throughout schools, public places, cafes, public transport etc, without the necessary safety studies having been done. Surely there must be some scientists advising the Government who should have noticed that it will not be possible to do good long-term safety studies if everyone is exposed? It seems crazy to me that people can be exposed to something whether they like it or not which may seriously affect their or their children's health, but there is no way of testing its safety! Looks like greed winning over common sense to me.

willali Mon 20-Oct-08 17:14:19

cars on the roads have a very serious (and provable) effect on people's health (inddeed life). Should they not be allowed also?

A bit extreme and facetious I know but the point is that with progress comes, sometimes, risk. You are assuming wifi DOES cause negative effects. No-one knows this- neither , for the reasons I have previuosly set ut, are they likely to be able to with any accuracy. We all accept risk all day every day as a part of life.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Wed 22-Oct-08 17:56:38

I think some of the worry is not about wifi but that children are sitting in classrooms with wifi for huge periods each day. I don't understand the science but it's something to do with the accumulated effects on a childs developing brain. I'm not sure how many schools actually have wifi, my primary school does not.
As for the research, remember when people laughed at the smoking gives you cancer research? Sometimes the technology moves quicker than the research can.

Reallytired Wed 22-Oct-08 19:46:04

lol...

I expect that a lot of kids have Wifi in their houses, or their neighbours have it. Or mobile phones, microwaves, power lines.

I think the only health risk that Wifi has is driving people nuts when it doesn't work. Wifi can be really tempermental especially in schools where they have cheap systems.

I don't think that Wifi is the the biggest health and safety concern in a school. I worry more about aging electrics in a school having to cope with huge numbers of PCs. The number of multiway adapters used in schools is really scary. I fear taht sooner or later a school will have a major electrical fire.

maverick Wed 22-Oct-08 19:55:21

Sense about Science do this leaflet about all sources of radiation:

www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/project/256/

TequilaMockinBird Wed 22-Oct-08 19:57:05

I live in a wireless city so wi-fi is becoming more and more common.

Shopping in the city centre on a weekend, stopping for a coffee in Starbucks/Costa or waiting at the train station for a train....wherever you are you will be in contact with wi-fi soon.

WhizzzingAroundOnABroomstick Wed 22-Oct-08 19:58:24

As a former H&S person now working in a school, I worry more about the state of H&S in the workshops + the lack of common sense of some of the pupils! (& the lack of interest shown my the school management when the concerns are voiced hmm)

wholemeal Tue 04-Nov-08 21:53:48

I have had a look at the 'sense about science' site. I think it is a shame that the scientists that have contributed to it appear not to have read a lot of the scientific literature on the effects of mobile phones and microwaves. There are damaging effects of mobile phones and these are published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals. See scientific research.

BeckyFisseux Wed 05-Nov-08 16:47:27

The "science" that the wifiinschools site is quoting is generally not peer-reviewed or published in any kind of reputable journal, often, if you read the actual papers the results are not what is being claimed or are being wilfully misrepresented, the results have very often not been replicated... I could go on. It's interesting that the site has been set up "by scientists" - no names, no details of any qualifications, no mention of expert fields of study, no mention of papers published by the authors. It's far more likely to have been set up by one person pursuing their own agenda - which, in cases like this, I've found, is more often than not, to sell you ridiculously overpriced "protection" equipment that does you no good, you don't need, and purports to protect you from a non-existent threat.

When it comes down to it, there is *no good evidence* that Wifi has any adverse effect on children, adults or animals.

Kind regards,

Becky

squeakypop Wed 05-Nov-08 21:10:01

I think you are on to something there, Becky.

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