Some British schools dismantle Wi-Fi over health fears

Parents and teachers fear that electromagnetic emissions from 801.11 radios can be harmful

Some British parents and teachers are pressuring public schools to ban and even dismantle Wi-Fi nets in public schools, because of health concerns.

The move, reported in a story by The Times, could spark a debate over the evidence or lack of it that electromagnetic emissions, in this case, from 801.11 radios can be harmful.

Any such debate will send a shock through wireless LAN vendors, for whom the education market is a critical growth area.

But it's also the latest in what seems to be a rising number of wireless controversies involving school-age and sometimes younger children, covering not only emissions but also privacy, security and safety, and acceptable use of cell phones, WLANs, and RFID.

Parents convinced the head teacher at one prep school in the United Kingdom to dismantle the school's WLAN. "We listened to the parents' views and they were obviously very concerned. We also did a lot of research. The authorities say it's safe, but there have been no long-term studies to prove this," he told The Times.

The story reported on two other schools where health concerns voiced by parents led officials to scrap WLANs in favor of wired networks. A mother of a student at another school likened those concerns to the debate over cell phone, and cell phone tower, emissions. The news story quoted her as saying, "Many people campaign against mobile phone masts near schools, but there is a great deal of ignorance about wireless computer networks. Yet they are like having a phone mast in the classroom and the transmitters are placed very close to the children."

One teacher at still another school claims the WLAN made him so ill he was unable to teach.

"I felt a steadily widening range of unpleasant effects whenever I was in the classroom," he said. "First came a thick headache, then pains throughout the body, sudden flushes, pressure behind the eyes, sudden skin pains and burning sensations, along with bouts of nausea. Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?