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Mobile phones don't cause brain cancer in children, new study claims

A study of 7- to 19-year-olds found that using a mobile phone doesn't increase the risk of developing brain cancer -- but still recommends using a hands-free kit if you're worried.

Take those tin foil hats off your rugrats, because a new Swiss study says kids who use mobile phones don't raise their risk of getting brain cancer. 

Researchers interviewed children between 7 and 19 years old about how often they used their mobiles. They found the 352 children studied who had developed brain cancer weren't any more likely to be phone addicts than the 646 kids who didn't suffer from the disease.

Also, the areas of the brain that receive the highest amount of exposure to a phone's high-frequency electromagnetic fields weren't at a higher risk of becoming cancerous.

The researchers also asked some of the children to provide phone records, to see exactly how long they had a mobile phone. They found brain tumour risk was related to the time elapsed since the mobile phone subscription began, but not to the amount of use. That could be due to the fact that children with brain cancer were more likely to have chased down the information from their networks, the researchers told WebMD.

The study's authors also noted that brain cancer rates haven't increased along with mobile phone usage in the US and other countries, which seems to indicate phones aren't a factor.

Earlier this month, a survey of studies among adults found that evidence is pointing away from the hypothesis that mobiles cause brain cancer in grown-ups.

So, should you be worried about melting you or your babies' brains? In general, the lack of strong evidence of a link between mobiles and cancer means it's not worth panicking. But even the authors of this latest study aren't suggesting we strap an iPhone to our kids' heads quite yet. They still expressed concern about more kids using mobiles more often, and suggested scientists keep an eye on the trend.

A recent World Health Organisation report also called for scientists to keep a close watch for a link between mobiles and cancer, due to the increase in long-term, heavy use.

If you're concerned, encourage your tyke to stick to texting, or use a hands-free headset to keep the phone's radiation away from their delicate bonce. Choose a phone that's light on emissions. Or just take it away -- after all, a 7-year-old with a mobile may grow up to be just a tad obnoxious.

Note that stickers like the PhoneShield may do more harm than good, according to the US consumer protection body. We also beg you not to use your speaker phone in public, lest we give you a sore head by punching you in the face.

The study was published in this month's Journal of The National Cancer Institute.