Cellphone Use Policy amongst Children and Adolescents in Israel and the World

  • In recent years the rate of cellphone use amongst children and adolescents around the world has grown significantly. At the same time the age of cellphone users has dropped. The rate of smartphone usage has also increased, and they have become commonly used by children and adolescents.
  • The widespread use of cellphones has many effects (both positive and negative) on children’s lives. Apart from the risk of radiation, there are other effects such as health, social, economic and culture-related ones (like addiction, sleep disturbances and more).

This widespread use gives rise to many questions such as should there be age limits for cellphone use? Should cellphone usage during school hours be limited? Is it possible to ban cellphone sales to children under a certain age? Should cellphone advertising aimed at children be permitted?


Cellphone Use Policy Amongst Children and Adolescents around the World

There is no uniform policy for cellphone usage amongst children and adolescents around the world. A World Health Organization (WHO) survey published in November 2014, investigated risk management methods and policies around the world, including with respect to personal exposure to radio wave emitting devices. Data were collected from 86 countries. One of the questions asked in the survey related to restriction of cellphone usage amongst children. Regarding this question, no countries reported a total ban on cellphone use by children.


Various countries apply restrictions on cellphone use by children such as prohibition of cellphone advertisements aimed at children, prohibition of sale of cellphones tailored for children or their use at certain times or under a certain age – for example:

  • In February 2015 the French parliament adopted a new law in France relating to the exposure to electromagnetic waves from wireless technologies. The law, called, “Sobriety, Transparency, Information and Consultation on Exposure to Electromagnetic Waves,” includes a clause in which it is stated that at the customer’s request, when purchasing a cellphone for children under age 14, a device that reduces exposure to radiation should be supplied.
  • In Russia, the ministry of health recommended that children under age 18 will not use cellphones (according to Russian National Committee for Protection From Non-Ionizing Radiation report from 2008).
  • In March 2014 a new law came into effect in Belgium banning sale of cellphones designed especially for small children under the age of 7 (The definition of cellphones for small children includes any cellphone produced especially for children under age 7). In addition, the law bans advertising aiming to encourage the use of cellphones in this age group.
  • In 2014, it was publicized that in the city Kasuga in Japan, the education council called for high school students to stop using their smart phones after 22:00. The council distributed posters and information leaflets on the subject to the high schools in the city, in order to encourage the students to give their smartphones to an adult for safekeeping between 22:00 and 6:00 in the morning. There was no punishment for those who ignored the instruction.
  • In Canada, Health Canada recommends encouraging children under the age of 18 to restrict their cellphone use.


Policy in Israel

In Israel, a number of bills have been proposed regarding cellphone use amongst children. The bills include, amongst other things, prohibiting advertising of cellphone devices tailored for children, and also banning sales, marketing and advertisement of cellphones to children under age 16.


At present, no progress has been made with implementing these bills.


The following is a brief review of the bills which have been proposed on the subject:

  • In 2013 the Protection from Cellphone Use and Restricting Their Advertisement Bill was proposed to the Knesset (proposed by: Dov Hanin, Muhamed Barake, Hana Suede, Afu Agbariya). The bill included: “Advertisements for cellphone devices geared towards minors will not be made”.
  • In 2011 the Full Disclosure Regarding Cellphone Use Bill was proposed to the Knesset by MK Yulia Shmuelov. The bill included the following instructions:
    • Obligation to include an information pamphlet that details the risks of cellphone use any time a cellphone is sold. The information pamphlet will have to specifically address the risks associated with cellphone use to children of different ages.
    • Ban on sales, marketing and advertising of cellphones to children under age 16 and ban on the use of children under this age in the marketing and advertising of cellphones.
  • In 2005 an amendment was proposed to the Consumer Protection Law (Restriction of the Use of Cellphones by Children Amendment) by MK Leah Ness. According to the proposal, the sale of cellphone devices to children under the age of 8 will be prohibited by law.




Updated on: 13.3.2018