Concerned with the effects Wi-Fi in schools may have on their children's health, some Alberta parents are fighting to have better wireless management protocols in place.
Edmonton parent and public teacher Marcey Kliparchuk says she started to investigate the dangers of Wi-Fi four years ago, when a cell phone tower was going up next to her school.
"I quickly learned that many many medical organizations have put out warning and cautions about this issue," she told CBC News.
At Kliparchuk's urging, Edmonton Catholic Schools are now looking into any potential hazards Wi-Fi — which is carried by electromagnetic radio frequency signals — may pose in classrooms.
ECS trustee Marilyn Bergstra told Metro News the district will be looking for recommendations from administration.
“Although research data in this area remains somewhat inconclusive, it’s my belief that we have a duty to act within an abundance of caution when it comes to the responsible use of technology in our schools as it relates, in particular, to the health of students and staff,” said Bergstra.
Next month, parents across the province will have the chance to debate a resolution that could see control measures, such a installing switches that can turn off Wi-Fi in a classroom, or offering Wi-Fi-free schools.
If the bill passes, school boards and the government will be lobbied for change.
Some people are concerned that exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields can cause health problems like cancer, autism and leukemia in children. Others argue that some people have a heightened sensitivity to electromagnetic frequencies.
However, Tim Singer, director general of Health Canada’s environmental and radiation health sciences directorate, told the Edmonton Journal that "“Wi-Fi equipment, including what is used in schools, emits radio frequency energy at very low levels and the scientific evidence tells us that it is not dangerous to anyone, including children.”
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Sit down with your child and come up with a list of healthy snack options. Respect your child's wishes. Keep the door to healthy living open. Be sure to include some fruits and veggies.
Whether your child accompanies you to the grocery store or not; do spend some time reading the nutrition labels and comparing products together. Pay attention to the ingredients and, of course, portion size. Steer away from enriched products and foods that have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in them. (Enriched means that everything good has been stripped out, and the manufacturer had to put something back into it, but it has no nutritional value and HFCS is simply unhealthy, in my opinion.)
You don't think your kid, at any age, is going to cut up veggie sticks, make pretty little packages of apple slices (squeeze lemon juice on it to keep fresh), did you? If you want your child to eat healthfully, you are more than likely going to have to make pretty, appealing little packages of food for them to have readily available. (In their lunch boxes and at home, for after school arrival.)
As long as you are in charge of the packaging and promoting of the healthy foods, do so with a touch of humor and creativity. And be age appropriate, please. The younger set might enjoy 'ants on a log' (celery topped with cream cheese and raisin 'ants'), whereas the teenagers might like something more sophisticated like cheese and pear slices.
Kids often swap snacks, or lunches for that matter. "I'll trade you my healthy 'ants on a log' for your Twinkie." Again ... ask, listen and talk. Find out with whom he or she is trading with and ask permission to call the other parent to discuss trading options.
Do you like it when people tell you what to do? I sure don't. No one does. So, ask permission to call the other parent. Don't embarrass your kid. It's worse than eating unhealthy snacks.
You did your best to provide healthy foods. As the days, weeks, months and even years pass, you will have effectively provided enough nutrition and healthy living guidance to make a difference.