I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Huffington Post's international series on promoting mindfulness in the use of our electronic devices. There is no doubt that our worlds - personal, professional and otherwise - will continue to be connected as never before.
Virtually, every day a news article or television piece appears on the dangers of our increasing connectivity. They range from texting and talking while driving through to the indiscriminate posting of personal information, including photos, that are online forever and accessible anywhere. This Huffington Post series will provide readers with tools and advice that will assist in understanding how devices and connectivity can fit into our lives in a safe and positive way.
Canadians 4 Safe Technology (C4ST) is an organization dedicated to ensuring that Canadians are aware of - and therefore able to make choices about - the health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in existing and emerging technologies. C4ST continues to work with medical and scientific experts to bring forward the latest research and developments regarding the harmful impact of wireless radiation and safe alternatives. Many members of C4ST use wireless technology, but we have learned how to use our devices as safely as possible. Here are 5 Steps to Reduce Your Exposure:
1. Cell phones: Keep cell phones away from your head (use the speaker or earplugs) and out of your pocket, bras, etc. Don't sleep with the cell phone on or near you. Turn it off or put it in airplane mode at night.
2. Cordless phones: Although it is inconvenient, remove all cordless phones. If you must have them, keep them away from high traffic areas and put them on a timer or turn them off every night.
3. Home Wi-Fi: If practical, remove the Wi-Fi in your home. If not, make sure it is not where someone is exposed all day, such as a bedroom or study. Put it on a timer or turn it off every night.
4. Baby Monitors: Never place the baby monitor by your child's bed. Use a wired monitor.
5. Smart Meters: If possible, opt out of any smart meters. If not, make sure the meter is not near a bedroom or other high-traffic area.
Any time a device is not powered down, the device is still connected, still receiving and emitting electromagnetic radiation (EMR). You would not sit in front of a microwave oven all day; reduce your exposure to EMR by storing your device in your purse or computer bag when you are out walking or in a meeting. At family time, consider having a spot where everyone stores their devices so that no one is distracted or exposed. If you regularly store a device in your pockets or anywhere on your person, now is the perfect opportunity to start carrying your phone in a personal organizer or the outer pocket of a purse, bag or backpack.
As the former president of Microsoft Canada, I know how important it is to stay connected to family, friends and business associates. However, making safe decisions for the safe use of your devices will help you optimize your health.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: