British study investigates mobile phone effects on children

By , on May 22, 2014

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After using his iPhone for nearly half a day playing games and chatting with friends online, Joseph Canezal, 12 years old, drops his gadget and starts complaining about his eyes.

At the age of 9, Joseph already started wearing eye glasses with thick lenses and can no longer read his books properly without them.

But eye problems are not only the major effects of mobile phones on children.

This is what a recent major government-commissioned study called the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) launched by Imperial College London at the commission of the British Department of Health, is trying to find out as it seeks to look into the effects of mobile phone usage on the developing brains of children.

“It is the largest follow-up study of its kind in adolescents worldwide,” Professor Patrick Haggard, deputy director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said in a report from AFP News.

It is considered a “follow-up” study because a data from the World Health Organization already stated that there is no convincing evidence to prove the relation between use of mobile phones and children’s health.

The data however dates back about 15 years ago which makes it timely for present researchers to conduct a follow-up study on the same topic.

London-based children at the age of 11 and 12 will be tested and another test will be conducted two years later to measure the development of their cognitive abilities in relation to the use of their mobile phones and other wireless gadgets.

To measure the children’s cognitive abilities including memory and attention, the study will also engage the students in a classroom-based computerized task.

“Cognition is essentially how we think, how we make decisions and how we process and recall information,” Dr Mireille Toledano of Imperial College London, the principal investigator on the study said in the same AFP report.

With reports from AFP