Israeli Ministry of Education Limits Cell Phone Use on School Grounds

With the opening of the school year in Israel, the Education Ministry issued new guidelines limiting the use of mobile devices by students. The guidelines were issued following an appeal by two lawyers, Vered Cohen and Raanan Bar-On. The new guidelines allow use of cell phone in schools only in designated areas.

By Dafna Liel, for Israel Channel 2. http://norad4u.blogspot.com/2011/09/israeli-ministry-of-education-is-going.html

Students are not allowed to speak on their cell phone while in school: new guidelines published by the Ministry of Education on August 30th, 2011, significantly restrict cell phone use by students on school grounds.

According to the new guidelines, students should refrain from talking on their mobile devices on school grounds and if necessary they should use only text messaging or headphones.

Students who wish to talk on their cell phone would have to go to designated areas.

The new guidelines set up by the Ministry of Education were issued following an appeal made last May to the Education Minister, Gideon Saar, by two lawyers, Vered Cohen and Raanan Bar-On.

In their appeal, the lawyers urged the Minister to take action against the widespread use of mobile phones by students, which is very common even amongst students in the first grade.

Professor Siegel Sadetzki, Director of the Cancer & Radiation Epidemiology Unit in the ‘Gertner Institute’ in ‘Tel-Hashomer’ Hospital, and the representative of the Ministry of Health told ‘Channel 2’ that “we recommended to reconsider the age in which cell phone use would be allowed, however, we cannot sweepingly ban the use of cell phones”. She added: “We recommend precautionary use of cell phones but we do not think it is necessary to prohibit the use completely”.

Children and youth are more vulnerable to damage from cell phones’ radiation “There is concern of an increased risk of developing malignant tumors from the use of cell phones, and children and adolescents are more vulnerable to the damage of electromagnetic radiation” explained Cohen and Bar-On presenting the recent recommendations of the ‘Council of Europe’ to limit children and adolescents exposure to radiation from mobile devices. In their appeal the lawyers wrote:

“Although two bills were introduced to prevent mobile phone use in order to protect the health of students, this complicated issue hasn’t been resolved so far.” They added, “this issue concerns the lives of our young children and therefore, we should take action preemptively.”

Bar-on and Cohen also explained that the risk exists even for students who choose not to use a mobile device. “The fact that some children choose not to use a mobile phone is not protecting them as the radiation is affecting them despite being ‘passive,’ because other children use the cell phones on school grounds.”