Investigation underway into risk mobile phones pose to child health

Student Using Tablet

An investigation has begun into whether wireless technology in smartphones and other devices affects a child's brain development.

The test, which is funded partly by the government and partly by the mobile phone industry, will be carried out on 2,500 London schoolchildren ranging for 11-12-years-old.

Approximately 160 schools in and around London will be sent invitations from today to have some of their pupils take part in the investigation.

Initial tests will be conducted and then they will be repeated in 2017 to determine whether prolonged use of a mobile phone, or any other wireless device has had an impact on the child's cognitive ability.

Researchers from Imperial College London will be leading the organisation, and they say that very little is known into the dangers, if any exist, that such devices pose to the mental development of young children.

Previous investigations have only ever involved adults as there was once a belief that the radio waves omitted from mobile phones could cause brain cancer. No convincing evidence was ever discovered.

The NHS advises parents to limit their children under the age of 16 to only using mobiles for essential tasks, and if possible these should be done with a hands-free kit.

Lead investigator Dr Mireille Toledano told the BBC that: "The advice to parents is based on the precautionary principle given in absence of available evidence and not because we have evidence of any harmful effects.

"As mobile phones are a new and widespread technology central to our lives, carrying out the study is important in order to provide the evidence base with which to inform policy and through which parents and their children can make informed life choices."