"Examining all fears will help people think better."
—Jenny Cyphers


A mom sent something for anonymous posting, about fear of radiation from wi-fi exposure. She had a link to a study. Because those sites have advertising, and I wasn't very impressed by the articles anyway. You can go to the original discussion Radical Unschooling Info, 2015, and I'll link them at the end of this page in case that original discussion disappears someday.

The good parts are below anyway!

Alex Polikowsky:
Making decisions based on fear, especially if they are a possibility, we are not talking about a child jumping in front of a moving vehicle, will at minimum, impact the trust the child has in your ideas and advices.

Keep telling them they will be sick if they eat at fast food places while they see many others that are healthy and thriving doing it.

Wifi scare is another fear mongering thing that goes around in waves.
Fear of electromagnetic waves? What if I tell you they are everywhere and that even earth has it?? (hey I am a huge Aurora Borealis aficionado!!)

Living with all this fear is not fun and it is anxiety inducing. Anxiety is a terrible state for you or your child to live in. Learning thrives when there is peace and safety.

Feeling unsafe because your library has wifi and making life about the dangers around is a soul sucking way to live for your children and for yourself.

Surround yourself with all that is positive and beautiful including amazing wifi!

Sandra Dodd:
It's easy to find something scary. It's easy to get people to come to a webpage (so that they see advertising, or so the site owner makes money) by publishing scary things.

More people love to be scared than love to be soothed and reassured. Clicking on webpages is cheaper than going to ride a roller coaster.

It's easy to WRITE things that are scary. But about the article.... they're talking about iPads. They're describing iPads as transmitters. I don't believe they are "transmitters" as any article might have been describing them, any more than a hardwired home phone is "a transmitter," even though speech can travel through the amplifier and wires and be perceived by an ear elsewhere in the world.

And the studies talk about ten years, and three decades. The first iPad came out in 2010.

Joyce Fetteroll:
Many articles take a research finding of "maybe, possibly there's something in these findings but it needs more study" and turn it into, STOP USING THIS, IT'S KILLING OUR CHILDREN!" That's because "Maybe possibly" is boring so doesn't sell magazines. "RUN IN PANIC!" is fear inducing so does sell magazines.

It's natural to want to be safe rather than sorry. In fact it's natural to listen to fears. Evolutionarily speaking if an animal runs when frightened but is wrong, nothing is lost except dignity. If an animal doesn't run when frightened but there is something wrong, they're dead. We're wired to listen to our fears.

But these warnings aren't about known dangers like earthquakes in LA or tornados in Oklahoma. This is about protecting your kids from shadows that might be dragons.

So while your family hunkers down behind dragon-proof walls, your kids' friends will all be out playing happily as though dragons don't exist

Maybe dragons *will* eat them all and your family will be safe. You'll have the last (very sad) laugh. But if it turns out there are no dragons, what quality of life will you have imposed on your kids out of fear? What will it have done to your credibility and trustworthiness?

If you really want to protect your kids, don't put them in cars.

And keep them away from fat. Oh, wait. Turns out that's wrong. There never was evidence that fat makes people fat and absolutely no reason a low fat diet should have been suggested.

Make reasonable, thoughtful choices, such as not strapping a phone to a child's head. ;-)

Jenny Cyphers:
The last time someone came into an unschooling discussion about the big scary dangers of radiation, I said the same thing....

Playing outside in the sun is far more dangerous and has far more radiation than any wifi. It's the number one source of radiation around us as humans. If you're going to fear radiation, then fear the sun and keep your kids inside doing inside activities.

Sandra Dodd (quoting Alex some):
Alex wrote "Living with all this fear is not fun and it is anxiety inducing. Anxiety is a terrible state for you or your child to live in. Learning thrives when there is peace and safety."

Yes, yes, yes. -=- how do we protect young children while still respecting their choices, and desires. Especially if they still choose something that is dangerous despite being given information regarding the dangers. -=-

#1, 'How do "we"' is a problem. The person is asking (I think) whether WE will support HER limiting her child. Each of us acts after consideration of what we know and believe, what our priorities are, what other factors (partners, grandparents, home-owner/landlord, religion, local laws)... But I acted with and toward my children as a partner in the way, in each moment, that seemed sensible and helpful to me, as much as was in my power in that moment. If I didn't do great, I would plan to do better in future moments. If I was happy with my actions, I'd try to remember what I was thinking so I could do that again in the future. But there wasn't a "we" except me and the child I was dealing with.

#2, if a parent declares something to be dangerous after having read someone saying it _might_ be dangerous, and if the parent "gives information regarding the dangers" as though it is absolute fact, many things will be more difficult, regarding unschooling, in that family.

Reading critically and thougtfully, considering in light of what one sees and knows to make sense is what intelligence is. Anyone can read half an article and recite something and run around saying the sky is falling. Unfortunately, many people do that with regularity.

Jenny Cyphers:
To go even further, microwaves are everywhere, all around us, all the time and you can't escape them. You could potentially dig a giant bunker underground and avoid all bad things, but you may get sick from lack of fresh air and sun.
Joyce Fetteroll:
Oh, but then you risk Vitamin D deficiency! Which can be caused not just by staying inside but by hyper vigilance of putting on sunscreen.
__________ section marker________

Sandra Dodd:

I disagree with this that Jenny wrote "-=-You could potentially dig a giant bunker underground and avoid all bad things-=-

Being flooded in radioactive alkali water!?
[Perhaps these fears would be stronger in New Mexico/Arizona]

Vapors from old burial sites?
Spirits from ancient burial grounds?
Government shut-down from lack of archeological clearance for potential burial grounds?
Ghosts of government officlals who failed to make it home after coming to shut down giant underground bunker construction?

Joyce Fetteroll:
Radon! That's a big thing at least in New England. It's not a problem if you're living above ground but it can be a problem in basements.
Jenny Cyphers:
Yeah, I was running through all these contingencies in my head :)

You can find danger and fear EVERY where! Dang this earth is scary ...... unless it isn't. I'm glad our life isn't full of dangerous everythings!

Alex Polikowsky:
Read here! Biggest danger of them all because it is everywhere!

The point is that we can drive ourselves into a hole! And people are making money out of scaring others.
Dihydrogen-Monoxide—The Truth

Back out of the watery bunker:

Robin Bentley:
I really like this book: Bad for You - Exposing the War on Fun

From one review: "Pyle and Cunningham argue that under the guise of protecting children, adults have created a youth-phobic society, in which "fear of the new" is the overriding impulse. They attempt to expose this mind-set and encourage readers to think critically about what is supposedly bad for them. This book is funny, mind-boggling, entertaining, and completely educational."

They have a timeline I especially like. (click to enlarge)

Sandra Dodd:

REAL radio transmitters—AM and FM radio towers—are sending radio programs right through me all the time, but only when I turn on the car radio can I perceive them.

In the UK, there has been a fear of electricity oozing out. In Downton Abbey, the maids have a little meter of some sort to check the outlets, it seems. Wall outlets have on/off switches (all? Just more modern homes?)

Here's a guided-meditation/relaxation/hypnosis recording called "I Will Overcome Fear of Electricity" that can be purchased at amazon.co.uk for 99p.

In the UK, there was a big 19th century fear of diseases being spread by breathing on each other. Vapors. Ill vapors. So people still tend to sleep with windows open, and people started having separate beds and separate bedrooms. They were afraid of cholera, small pox, I don't know what all. Afraid of other people's breath, they let in a ton of coal-smokey air (depending where the window was).

In Korea, there is a fear of sleeping with a fan on. It will kill you.
South Korea's Quirky Notions About Electric Fans

If Korean dramas are to be evidence, every hospital room or sick room seems to have a vaporizer, but not a fan. :-)

So we have fears we act on, but adding to that set of fears doesn't seem like a good idea. Maybe removing fears, if we have spare time, will be more useful.

I love Joyce's examples about what is adaptive and what's natural. "Evolutionarily speaking if an animal runs when frightened but is wrong, nothing is lost except dignity."

If a parent runs frightened from too many things, they will lose dignity, the child's trust (as Alex pointed out), and their ability to unschool as happily and effectively as they could have if they had been calmer and more accepting of risks.

Alex Polikowsky:
Here is a post that gives a different perspective of the dangers of electromagnetic fields:
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity

Note in 2018: The link Alex brought is short and simple. The next post was by the sort of person it was describing.
[Name redacted]:
I've not read the article, but we don't use wi-fi, only things connected with wires. My younger son is EMF sensitive and sleeping using an earthing mat (or spending time barefoot outdoors) helps both him and me.

That led to 36 responses about sensitivity and grounding. It's fairly interesting, but was about earthing mats and static-electric shocks and veered away..

back to radiation...

Robert Gottlieb:

I have wifi in my house. I have both of my kids wired for their computers ( for speed not wifi concerns) and both have devices that connect via wifi (tablet, smartphones, laptop). I connect via wifi with my laptop as does my wife. I've seen no harm to any of our family members as a result of all of this.

I believe the anxiety you provoke in a child when you share a fear with them is far more damaging, in most cases, than the actual issue itself. I agree that this is probably link bait and no iPads do not transmit anything dangerous to you! I have two iPad 2's and again no health issues here.

Alex Polikowsky:
EMF is everywhere! The earth has it, the electric wires in your House! Electric appliances, battery operated things, motors,...

It is impossible to live away from it and even if you would be out away from civilization the sun and the earth are still there and you are still getting it😱. We are all doomed

And I am glad earth's magnetic field is actually protecting us from much more damaging radiation sent to us by the sun :)

Even if they cause beautiful Auroras!

What really causes the Aurora Borealis?

-=-The grounding mat (or sheet) is an amazing invention that allows you to do earthing while you're inside a building. It just plugs in to the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod (US and Canada only).-=-

They plug in to the ground spot on the outlet, as though that's the opposite of plugging into the electricity? Or plug to a grounding rod? That's questionable.

But "to do earthing while inside" does suggest that people who go outside and touch the ground are "doing earthing outside." That is SERIOUSLY several steps removed from living on the ground, on Earth.

I've lived in houses with concrete floors, mostly. Being on a wooden platform not far from the ground doesn't seem much different, to me, though.

Jenny Cyphers:
The irony, to me, is that earthing is all about connecting to the earth's energy, which presumably is about emf's that occur naturally in/on the earth.
Sandra Dodd:
People are electrical. Brains work with electrical impulses. Maybe slowing their brains (IF this did that) would help people sleep better. But if this set of ideas has truth, then wouldn't it suggest that barefooted people are slower thinking than people with shoes? There's certainly been that prejudice/stereotype for at least a couple of thousand years. 🙂

Have people become more or less electrical since leather-soled shoes were so largely replaced with rubber-soled shoes?

It seems to me to be looking fearfully at minute factors instead of seeing so much good and joy in fearless interactions with other people.

There are other parts in that discussion about high-altitude radiation (air travel) and about the materials over the years of cooking equipment (and stainless steel production not being problem-free), and the granite bedrock in Cornwall, reporting-bias in medical studies, tests on animals in Korea, and X-rays.... any link to the discussion above can get a person back to all that, but I want to get back to wifi.
Eva Witsel (quoting the original question):
--- Especially if they still choose something that is dangerous despite being given information regarding the dangers. ---

My children have never been attacked by our wifi so I don't consider wifi 'dangerous'. I'm a telecommunications engineer and I don't think there's definite proof wifi is either safe or harmful. What I do know for sure is that stress and fear are really really really bad for your health. So my priority for my children is to 1) provide them with a living environment that's not stressful and 2) not to scare them.

They use wifi on their ipads all the time. The only thing I ask them to do is when they bring their ipad to our bedroom, is to switch off the wifi before they go to sleep. And I didn't tell them to do this because 'wifi is dangerous', I just thought that it would be better. And they totally agree with me, because the batteries don't run out as fast that way ;-)

Don't bring all the scary, negative and dark stories from the internet into your home. It will make your home and your lives scary, negative and dark. The most important thing you can do for your children's health is to provide them with a happy, calm and loving home.

Jo Isaac:
==how do we protect young children ... Especially if they still choose something that is dangerous despite being given information regarding the dangers.==

There are things that are dangerous that I absolutely protect my son from. Running across busy roads when he was smaller, for example. I help him avoid shellfish because he has a severe allergy to it - but he knows it's dangerous to him because he's experienced a reaction and he would never have any intention of still choosing it.

But our wifi isn't proven to be dangerous to him at all - not like crossing roads, not like shellfish in his case (though he could also grow out of that allergy, too). After looking at the science, i'm not convinced wi-fi/EFM's are dangerous. Not convinced enough to limit my life (I'm lucky enough to work from home, often with my laptop on my lap) or his.

There is dubious weak scientific evidence, as much as there is on wi-fi at least, that stress can cause cancer. So if you believe wi-fi causes cancer, but limiting wi-fi is causing stress, which can also cause cancer, where does that leave you?

(I don't believe stress can cause cancer, but I do believe stress and control cause other health problems, including mental health problems, and erode trust and relationships between parents and kids).

Alex Polikowsky, quoting someone, maybe in a section I didn't bring here:
"My goal is to say that our fears/ concerns are not necessarily unfounded. And, if acquiescing to the fears doesn't cause a problem and limit your family, then giving into them should not be a problem."

Any fear? All fears??

I rather question my fears, yes even my spider fear, than live in it or give up and surrender.

Living in fear is anxiety inducing and pretty negative. Being thoughful works much better for unschooling than giving in to fears.

Thinking that being fearful of unfounded and unproven things is not a problem will change how you see things and your life experiences.

Jenny Cyphers:
One could potentially reason that by examining all fears we are effectively training our minds to think better 🙂

Jenny was too polite with "one could potentially reason that..." YES, examining all fears will help people think better.

I'm stopping there, but the discussion, between October 3, 2015 and October 25, 2015 with a reprise in April 2017 really is a good read. People went on to talk about pylons, that granite in Cornwall again, cancer, my use of the term "jack off" (with those from the "wanker" zone defending me), re-wilding... It was a topic with width and depth, and a fair amount of humor.

Here's where it picks up after Jenny's statement about the examination of fears: (you might need to click "read more" when you get there)

In case the facebook group is gone when someone reads this, the articles linked up top, those that had spooked the mom who wrote in, were these:
Controversial Paper Suggests Wi-Fi Exposure More Dangerous To Kids Than Previously Thought

The study the article was discussing: Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences



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