Schools in the U.S. and worldwide have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the U.S., an FCC Commissioner has encouraged schools to provide WiFi hot spots to families so kids can learn in virtual classrooms. An Illinois school district has turned empty school buses into WiFi hot spotswhere kids can visit and download their lessons. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Health has advised that it’s vital that parents reduce their kids’ exposure to wireless WiFi radiation because exposure is harmful to their health.
Safety Recommendations for Children Who Use Digital Technologies to Study at Home
Scientific Research Institute of Hygiene and Children’s Health in the Russian Ministry of Health and the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RusCNIRP)
March 25, 2020
(The recommendations were translated from Russian using Google’s translation tool and then edited for easier reading on the Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website.)
The following recommendations for distance learning at home are intended for children (up to 18 years of age) and their parents and grandparents and anyone who helps children study at home using digital technologies.
1. Children under 18 years of age who study at home should primarily use personal computers and laptops connected to the Internet via a wired network. When using a wireless network, the distance from the Wi-Fi router to the student should be at least 5 meters (16 feet).
2. The keyboard of the computer or laptop must be disinfected with an antiseptic every day before starting work. The monitor also needs to be treated with an antiseptic agent.
3. Before using the keyboard wash the hands of both the child and the adult who helps him or her.
4. To reduce the risk of visual impairment and musculoskeletal system disorders, provide a child working at a computer or laptop with a convenient workplace (the height of the table and chair should correspond to the height of the child), to exclude the illumination of the monitor screen.
5. The main light source at the child’s workplace should be located on the side of the screen (not behind the screen and not from the back of the person working with the screen). The brightness of the source should approximately correspond to the brightness of the screen.
6. The use of tablets for distance learning at home is acceptable for adolescents over 15 years old. Before using the tablet, you need to wash your hands and wipe the screen with a disinfectant (wet towel). The location of the Wi-Fi point should be at least 5 meters (16 feet) from the student’s workplace. The tablet is placed on the table on a stand at an angle of 30 degrees, the distance from the screen to the pupil’s eyes is at least 50 centimeters (20 inches). Do not use a laptop or tablet on your lap, in your hands, lying down and the like.