Remember, folks, if (a) it’s new, (b) it’s popular, and (c) it’s invisible, then you know what it is. That’s right. It’s a cancer-causing death ray inflicted by lazy-minded bureaucrats who wilfully want to kill your kids. Or “WiFi”, to you and me.
Yes, WiFi causes cancer now. And that’s official (kind of). How do we know? Well, it said so on the Internet. And, some parents campaigning to have it banned have been getting emails from all over the world “expressing concern” about the dangers of WiFi. Yep. Looks like it’s true alright.
As a result, and in no way an alarmist reaction, a school in New Zealand has decided to remove Wi-Fi from junior classes and replace it with cable-based internet. You know, because electrical cables have never hurt anyone.
WiFi is to remain in the senior classes. Presumably, senior kids have tougher WiFi-cancer resistant bodies (or maybe they are just more dispensable than the junior kids). But, actually, the school conducted rigorous research into this policy. And just how did they decide whether to extend this cancer-prevention move to kids over the age of seven?
Yes, that’s right. An opinion poll.
in a statement, the school said W-Fi would not be removed from the senior school due to the wishes of parents who were surveyed on the issue.
I guess the school were on a sticky wicket here. One of the campaigning fathers had previously lost a son to cancer and so was clearly impassioned and sincere in his wish to remove WiFi from the school.
However, as previously covered by Steve Novella on NeuroLogica, the empirical evidence is clear that WiFi poses no danger to health, in schools or anywhere else. In fact, the radiation absorbed by the human body from ambient WiFi is just around 1% of that absorbed from a nearby mobile phone that happens to be switched on.
(And, despite claims to the contrary, mobile phone radiation has also been established as being harmless to health).
Such concerns about WiFi are reminiscent of a series of previous scares about electromagnetic radiation (such as cell-phone masts, high-tension powerlines, and so on). Here’s a link to a science article on this from the Financial Times, in which (#humblebrag alert!) I myself am quoted.
It falls into that category of health concerns that fits an established template (like concerns about vaccination or video games).
The irony in all this is striking. Fears of WiFi, computers, and cell phones have become rampant throughout the modern world because of the ease with which technophobes can contact each other, via email, message boards, and so on.
Basically, such Luddism was barely possible before the arrival of new technology.