• 13 DEC 14
    • 0

    ‘Safe use of technology – Your guide’ a new video by WiFi in Schools Australia (WISA)

    A notice from WiFi in Schools Australia (WISA):

    ‘Safe use of technology – Your guide’ a new video by WiFi in Schools Australia (WISA) published 12 December 2014

    Link to video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ7o1sRjj2A

    The video raises awareness on the new recommendations from the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) for the safe use of wireless radiation emitting devices. Since these recommendations have not yet been made publicly available to students and parents, WISA have produced this short informative video on DETE’s publications.

    DETE’s ICT Policy now puts the responsibility of ensuring the safe use of wireless devices (tablets, laptops etc) onto principals, who in turn, have to ensure that parents and students acknowledge the correct usage according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

    Parents from WISA raised wireless radiation safety concerns with DETE continually over the last two years – urging DETE to seriously consider the potential long-term health risks to children, future legal ramifications, and the need to reduce unnecessary exposure. As a minimum precautionary measure, parents from WISA have been calling for DETE to educate students and staff on the safe use of WiFi enabled devices and to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

    In passing the responsibility onto parents and students, DETE is covering their legal liability for student use of wireless devices. Their installation of wireless access points may meet current standards for individual devices based on the current thermal based standard. However, who is going to be held responsible for ignoring the impact of multiple devices (30+ laptops and tablets in a classroom + mobile phones + WiFi access points) and the cumulative effect of simultaneous use of all these devices over the duration of a student’s school life?

    The Australian standards that are being applied to classrooms were developed for individual Radio Frequency (wireless radiation emitting) devices. More importantly, these standards are based solely on short-term heating of body tissue. They do not take into account any biological effects that may occur from prolonged or cumulative low-level wireless radiation exposure.

    The Australian Radiation Protection Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is tasked with setting the standard. Their factsheet 13 states, “some research has indicated that non-thermal effects resulting from low-level RF exposure may also occur. However, the existence of these effects and their implications has not been sufficiently established to allow for them in the Standard.” In relation to children ARPANSA say “research relating to children is limited and the possibility of harm cannot be completely ruled out’, yet it is ARPANSA’s standards that allow children to be indiscriminately and involuntarily exposed in a classroom setting.

    Since ARPANSA is tasked with setting the standard, it is time for ARPANSA to take responsibility, get coherent and issue clear precautionary advice. Advice that schools can use to implement an effective ICT policy that covers multiple electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, in a real-life classroom setting.

    In the absence of protective standards, parents, students and staff need to get informed on the safe use of technology and reduce wireless radiation exposure.

    For more information – http://www.wifi-in-schools-australia.org/

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