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'Wi-Fi Illness' Spreads To Ontario Public Schools

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the puberty-has-similar-symptoms dept.

Canada 663

An anonymous reader writes "Readers of Slashdot might be familiar with Lakehead University's ban on WiFi routers a few years ago in Thunder Bay, Ontario because of 'health concerns,' a policy apparently still in effect. Now it seems a group of concerned parents in a number of communities in Ontario have petitioned the local school boards over similar concerns at public schools, where their kids are apparently experiencing 'headaches to dizziness and nausea and even racing heart rates' — symptoms that appear only when they are in school on weekdays, not on weekends at home. 'The symptoms, which also include memory loss, trouble concentrating, skin rashes, hyperactivity, night sweats and insomnia, have been reported in 14 Ontario schools in Barrie, Bradford, Collingwood, Orillia and Wasaga Beach since the board decided to go wireless ...' Besides Wi-Fi signals, could there possibly be any other logical explanation for kids having more symptoms of illness on school days than at home on weekends or in the summer?"

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Anonymous Coward (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258432)

We all know Wi-Fi was created to serve our reptilian overlords...

Mod the summary funny (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258434)

"Besides Wi-Fi signals, could there possibly be any other logical explanation for kids having more symptoms of illness on school days than at home on weekends or in the summer?"

Um, being in school doesn't count as a reason?

Re:Mod the summary funny (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258480)

As my mom used to call it... "Schoolitosis"

Re:Mod the summary funny (5, Informative)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258542)

That's obviously the joke.

Re:Mod the summary funny (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258574)

Unfortunately it overshadows a real problem. I felt crippling anxiety in school for 10 years (dropped out when I was old enough) and it was a waste of a good childhood. There are real reasons kids can feel this way. It doesn't have to be excuses, even if that was the easy thing to blame my problems on.

Of course WiFi didn't exist back then so it wasn't that, but I can understand how kids would feel awful at school and fine at home.

School can be a very uncomfortable place to be in, and an almost impossible place to learn in.

Re:Mod the summary funny (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258682)

I was fine all throughout primary and secondary school, but since coming to college I've noticed that I feel physically sick in the lectures, it was enough to make me stop attending lectures almost entirely (maybe I'll do better next year).

Admittedly it's a lot easier in college because attendance isn't mandatory and you can get up and leave with nothing more than a disappointed look, I can't imagine how I would've coped in secondary school (although not attending lectures isn't really "coping" I know, but I read the notes and so far have consistently been near the top of my class in most subjects so for now it'll do).

I think that on the off-chance the kids aren't faking it (and really, who hasn't done it at some time in their youth) their parents are doing them a disservice by simply trying to blame it on WiFi.

Re:Mod the summary funny (5, Informative)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258740)

I was fine all throughout primary and secondary school, but since coming to college I've noticed that I feel physically sick in the lectures, it was enough to make me stop attending lectures almost entirely (maybe I'll do better next year).

Could have been the lighting.

Some people are extremely sensitive to (C)CFLs, especially if they have a low CRI or a cold colour temperature. One of the lecture halls at college kept giving me headaches when I attended in the evening; then again, I knew it was the ceiling lamps, because I've had such issues in a couple of other CFL-lit areas in the past.

Re:Mod the summary funny (5, Funny)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258610)

In 5th grade, I always felt sick during math class, which was taught by a teacher that I really didn't like.

In my defense, their understanding of mathematics would have made any thinking person ill :-D.

Spectral evidence is irrefutable! (3, Interesting)

chub_mackerel (911522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258714)

Wi-Fi is the obvious culprit. The spectral evidence is clear and this apparently isn't the first time it's caused problems in children...

http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/chronology.shtml [salemweb.com]

Re:Mod the summary funny (1)

Joedeg (977009) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258802)

Wow, you get jokes.

Yeah... (5, Interesting)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258436)

because stress NEVER causes any of those symptoms...

NO: nothing... (except possible pheromones) (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258572)

Obviously it's the Wifi. There's nothing else on earth that's ever caused these symptoms in anyone, especially teenagers.

      So, why are the /. interested? Is the mere mention of 'technology' enough to exceed the threshold of importance?

              (Has Slashdot become a sewing circle?)

Re:NO: nothing... (except possible pheromones) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258818)

Get off my fucking lawn.

Re:Yeah... (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258776)

And stress is in NO way induced by the huge amount of information available on the Internet.

Re:Yeah... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258810)

Hey, I have those same symptoms at work. That's the cost of earning a paycheck in IT.

Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258438)

...being around other kids?

I don't know.... (3, Interesting)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258440)

" ..Besides Wi-Fi signals, could there possibly be any other logical explanation for kids having more symptoms of illness on school days than at home on weekends or in the summer?"

Maybe kids don't like being in school? I found myself more active and alert when at home as opoposed to school when I was attending.

WiFi at home? (5, Insightful)

leenks (906881) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258444)

Don't people in Canada have WiFi at home? Surely if the illness was WiFi related they'd be suffering at home, in cities, on planes, or any other populated place?

Re:WiFi at home? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258640)

Exactly. I'm canadian and don't know anyone without wifi at home. This is dumb stuff to get votes, nothing more.

Re:WiFi at home? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258768)

... or their neighbours? RF doesn't stop at your neighbours fence.

Re:WiFi at home? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258820)

The places listed are kinda .... undeveloped. But even so they have plenty of wifi there.

It's Black Mold (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258454)

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts it's a mold problem in the school. My guess is stachybotrys. Look It up, the symptoms match perfectly.

Re:It's Black Mold (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258548)

"Sounds like x, I read that it matches the symptoms perfectly" is exactly what produced this crap in the first place.

Re:It's Black Mold (1, Interesting)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258564)

Do you think WIFI radiation could encourage stachybotrys growth? After this, therefore because of this.

------
Some users are furious at Microsoft for rolling out a
buggy product without fully testing it first. [el reg]

Re:It's Black Mold (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258724)

No, but drilling into the walls to mount routers would allow spores to get out from behind the wall and into the open air.

Especially if they had a habit of getting or two holes wrong.

Re:It's Black Mold (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258822)

If they are drilling that many holes to install WIRELESS routers they are seriously doing it wrong.

Re:It's Black Mold (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258854)

Both when I was in college and now at my work place, there's externally mounted Cisco devices with high gain antennas mounted to the walls.

This is seriously bad medical House, M.D. style logic, but, there's a thin veneer of plausibility that if you drill holes into a wall full of black mold, the mold may be getting out through those holes.

Re:It's Black Mold (5, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258846)

If that were the case, the teachers and staff - who are exposed a lot more - would be getting symptoms too.

Here's a really easy test: Turn off all the wireless routers in the building and keep it a secret from the children and parents as best you can.

$5 says nothing will change.
=Smidge=

Re:It's Black Mold (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258632)

Mold my butt. If the kids are getting sick from radio waves, take away their cell phones. That'll cure'm quick!

Hmmm.... (2, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258456)

Could there be any other explanation? Uh, well of course. Schools are hotbeds of spreading sickness, this is nothing new. For this to really mean something, how about they look at places that have a lot of wifi going on without all the germ spreading. Maybe they could look at dense urban areas that have a lot of wifi yet everyone lives in their own apartment and aren't picking their nose and then getting a drink from the water fountain.

School boards are so.... Yea.

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258562)

Oh, please. The problem here is yuppies, yuppies, yuppies who never had any real life experience, who never felt any real pain, who grew up living in boring and sterile households, who were able to procreate. The thing called life that happens occasionally has finally caught their simple minds off-guard, and they're flailing around looking for the first thing to blame.

...and you are one of them, with your FUD about schools being hotbeds of sickness and filthy lucre. This isn't the ol' chicken-pox-in-preschool thing, and had many of these people actually been able to develop an immune system in the absence of obsessive Lysol-spraying and disinfectant-mopping, this wouldn't even be an issue. Man, it's like you morons think that occasional sickness is the exception, not the rule. Looks like all those sensational news scares and andvertising have penetrated into your minds.

Re:Hmmm.... (4, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258662)

Reminds me of a news segment about that peanut based food for Third World Children in order to get some protein in their diet. The reporter asked one of the docs supervising the program about peanut allergies. The doc responded that there are no peanut allergies in developing countries.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Funny)

BorelHendrake (1496471) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258758)

I am living in Barrie Ontario right now and I'm telling you Yuppies are the last thing you are going to see around here...

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258824)

...and you are one of them, with your FUD about schools being hotbeds of sickness and filthy lucre.

Wow, you're serious. I worked in a school for four years. Never have I contracted more passing illnesses in my life. I have a strong immune system and am in relatively good shape for my age. Maybe the FUD you infer is that of your perception. I'm simply stating facts. Schools are places where germs get spread. Just like airports, hospitals, and other places where a lot of people congregate. Get off the conspiracy wagon and look at a post objectively for once.

For the record, I follow George Carlin's advice. The only reason I wash my hands after going to the bathroom (unless I'm cooking or something, mind you) is when I shit on them.

Are you fucking kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258458)

Can you at least pretend to make a proper comparison instead of changing all the variables at once? Will humanity ever manage not to succumb to superstitions?

Re:Are you fucking kidding me? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258730)

No.

They're kids .. (0, Redundant)

dynchaw (1188279) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258468)

.. and they don't want to goto school.

GODDAMN IPHONES??? (5, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258472)

And the parents happily shell out for their kid's iPhones, yet protest school board meetings against WiFi in schools.

Re:GODDAMN IPHONES??? (2, Funny)

dmrobbin (560931) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258538)

I'm a math teacher THANK YOU!!

I'm at school i am sick (4, Insightful)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258474)

The symptoms, which also include memory loss, trouble concentrating, skin rashes, hyperactivity, night sweats and insomnia

Thats funny I read about this as a kid.

'I cannot go to school today, ' Said little Peggy Ann McKay. 'I have the measles and the mumps, A gash, a rash and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I'm going blind in my right eye. My tonsils are as big as rocks, I've counted sixteen chicken pox And there's one more-that's seventeen, And don't you think my face looks green? My leg is cut-my eyes are blue- It might be instamatic flu. I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke, I'm sure that my left leg is broke- My hip hurts when I move my chin, My belly button's caving in, My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained, My 'pendix pains each time it rains. My nose is cold, my toes are numb. I have a sliver in my thumb. My neck is stiff, my voice is weak, I hardly whisper when I speak. My tongue is filling up my mouth, I think my hair is falling out. My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight, My temperature is one-o-eight. My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, There is a hole inside my ear. I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what? What's that? What's that you say? You say today is...Saturday? G'bye, I'm going out to play! ' Shel Silverstein

Re:I'm at school i am sick (5, Funny)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258702)

How dare you! How dare you much an accusation that children would fake illness to get out of school!!
This is an outrage and I will not tolerate such lies sir!

Ridiculous (3, Insightful)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258476)

This is so ridiculous. It could be ANYTHING in the environment at these schools. Tainted water, Chinese drywall, toxic mold, contaminated food. The list is endless. But I can tell you one this it's not is the wi-fi.

Re:Ridiculous (4, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258522)

Maybe the kids are munching on Chinese routers while swimming in a contaminated pool? But seriously though, those all sound like classic symptoms of public school in general. I suffered most of them myself when I was in school, and the 802.11 standard wasn't published until about the time I started high school, and I didn't start to think of it as commonplace until a actually fairly recently (like, last 5-6 years or so). We certainly didn't have any APs in my school.

It's probably mold... or the soul-crushing depression of academic slavery.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258578)

Probably both.

Re:Ridiculous (4, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258530)

Hey man! No way!

It's the radio waves man!

They're trying to control your mind man!

But like, they screwed up man!

They tweaked the flux capacitors too high and shit man!

And now they are making the kids sick instead of washing their brains out man!

(please read in the voice of Cheech)

Re:Ridiculous (4, Funny)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258594)

Maybe we should convince them to issue tin foil hats to all the kids?

Yes (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258482)

"Besides Wi-Fi signals, could there possibly be any other logical explanation for kids having more symptoms of illness on school days than at home on weekends or in the summer?"

Yes, it is called "Believing shit that isn't real." Our minds can have powerful effects on our bodies and in particular on how we feel, since ultimately the mind is what does the feeling. So people believe that something causes a given set of symptoms, thus they experience those symptoms.

Happens all the time with the WiFi types. People have been up on the evils of "radiation" for a long time, WiFi is just their newest target.

Personally what I think the school needs to do is this: Tell people "Ok, for the next two weeks we are shutting down WiFi, you let us know if you get any better." However don't actually shut it off. Have the APs stop broadcasting SIDs and accepting connections, but leave the radios broadcasting at full power. Then after that say "Ok we are turning back on now, in a test mode, no data for two weeks. tell us if you feel worse." At this point shut the APs down completely.

At the end, when people say that during the "off" time they were fine and during the "on" time the problems came back, you get to reveal the test results and say STFU.

Seriously, if there is something to this WiFi thing how come we can't get any laboratory results on it? The answer to that is because there is nothing to it, it is all in the heads of the people who allegedly have the problems.

Just like cell phones (2, Insightful)

euroq (1818100) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258486)

Remember when everyone was scared that cell phones would give you cancer?

No-one ever calls in sick to their holidays (1)

neiltrodden (981196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258488)

It's no surprise that kids might feel or make more of symptoms when there is the possibility they could get out of doing something they'd rather not do. What I am surprised about is that people have noticed they are ill in school but not at home. There's about 8 wifi networks around my home, there's only *one* at work. The wifi is not the common denominator here.

Does this happen on Test Days (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258492)

Hmmm... I have 3 WiFi routers at home and have never been sick, Schools are also a hotbed for excuses. Starting with "My dog ate my homework" and now evolving into "The WiFi made me forget"

-Keith M
(Too lazy to sign up for an account)

Re:Does this happen on Test Days (2, Interesting)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258684)

School is just all stress. Stress is what causes most of those symptoms. Parents/Schools Admins don't give a shit because without school they wouldn't be able to do anything. keeping the kids away for 8 hours a day is a necessity for a smooth running society.

Predictable (4, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258504)

How much do you want to bet that these concerned parents are credulous proponents of alternative medicine?

I can imagine their rapt attention at reading how much danger their kids are in, and they trust someone with MD after their name (as if it's not a diploma mill degree anyway) more than an engineer or physicist.

This whole subject is dominated by that folk etymology mentality where something that sounds smart and appeals to an aging housewife's intuition gets spread around at bridge games and finds its way into Reader's Digest or whatever checkout aisle trash they flip through on the toilet these days.

Re:Predictable (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258544)

Yeah, the parents should realize that just because they didn't set up wifi, doesn't mean they're not "exposed" to it at home.

OTOH, what does a school need with wifi? School-wide wifi, I mean, not confined to the library and rooms. Is it really so hard to wire a school network?

Re:Predictable (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258800)

Some schools provide laptops for students, either temporarily (for a project) or more-or-less permanently (i.e. for the duration of the school year). You wouldn't want to have to plug into a jack and unplug every time you change classes.

Re:Predictable (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258582)

they trust someone with MD after their name (as if it's not a diploma mill degree anyway) more than an engineer or physicist.

Er, doesn't that behavior make sense? I wouldn't let a medical doctor to write a compiler for me, and I wouldn't let an engineering Ph.D. remove my appendix. The fact that alternative medicine is bullshit doesn't seem like a reason to disparage M.D.s.

Re:Predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258788)

Maybe he meant that neither your average MD or EE knows jack about the effects (or lack of) of electromagnetic radiation on living organisms.

Re:Predictable (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258652)

MD is a diploma mill degree? You don't know crap. Getting into medical school is very competitive and you have to spend four years on a bach degree, spend tons of time on extracurricular activities, and finally spend thousands of dollars applying/interviewing. Then you get to spend four years in medical school and a few more in a residency. Seriously, get fucked peach rings. Retard.

open a window (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258518)

I saw a test where they tested the air quality in the classrooms. The amount of co2 was 4 times higher than allowed if it was a workplace. I don't know if classrooms in Ontario has just as bad ventilation though. :)

Re:open a window (1)

asretfroodle (811847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258612)

Schools are workplaces. It's not just students in there.

Hmm... your statement sounds very interesting (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258860)

Are you perhaps employed in education or related to someone who is?

The way you say "not just students in there"...
Makes it seem that students are not really "people" - more like cattle or furniture or some other lower form of life.
You know... Like there are people who work for a living in schools, and then there are students.

From my experience, that sounds a lot like thinking of someone being closely connected to that sector.

Utter Bullshit (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258528)

Right now every one of you is literally in a sea of radio and magnetic fields. Every TV, radio, cordless phone, cell phone, police radio, satellite signal, and WIFI is travelling through your body. Now all of those things are fine but suddenly WIFI just goes to far? I can expect such bullshit from this country with a team of lawyers waiting to sue, but Canada?

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258560)

Well you pointed out a major problem of our times, the multiplicity of radio signals. Enough is enough do we really need wireless TV when we have cable TV? Who still listens to radio? and so on and so forth...

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258580)

Hey! The WiFi is clearly DANGEROUS. It should be banned so that spectrum can instead be dominated by terrible 2.4 Ghz cordless phones and RF leakage from microwave ovens!

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258700)

Yup, Feynman pointed this out in a interview. The fact that you can pick up Russian radio is because the signal is always there.

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

jbatista (1205630) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258844)

These are the kind of people who could get choked on a cordless phone, if you know what I mean.

Pure cincidence ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258534)

That the bulk of the illnesses happen on test days.

Most likely... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258536)

Stress.

Sick building syndrome. (newer buildings this may be a real issue)

Kids want out of school and will lie about anything to get out.

You infected your kid with hypochondria.

Your kid is weak and the world is gonna kill him.

But wifi? really? mmmmmmmmm no. Maybe those kids should stay in school for a little more of science class and learn why this is COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

Whats wrong with the children? (5, Insightful)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258556)

My guess, it's the parents. The parents want the children to be sick and press/force it upon the children to be sick. Its a common incident in lawsuits.

Parent: "Its ok, just tell me that your getting sick from the stuff at school. You don't need to hide it, just tell me."

Child: "But I'm fine, nothings wrong."

Parent: "Please, you shouldn't bottle these things up. Just tell me that its making you sick and I'll make it stop. Now please, don't hide these things from me."

Child: "But there really isn't anything wrong."

Parent: "Now we've talked about this, you don't need to keep secrets from me. Just tell me its making you sick because I know it is. So just be honest and go ahead and tell me its making you sick and then we can go have ice cream. And then we can talk to everyone about this because they will like to hear what you have to say."

Child after hearing they will get a reward and lots of positive attention for agreeing to claim it makes them sick: "Yes mommy, it makes me feel really ill and sick. Can we have that ice cream now?"

Keep instilling that its making them sick after a while mind over matter will happen and you'll have a child with a minor form of hypochondria that will claim its the school since they are getting rewards for it and lots of positive attention, the two things most children want it abundance.

Re:Whats wrong with the children? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258746)

My guess, it's the parents. The parents want the children to be sick and press/force it upon the children to be sick. Its a common incident in lawsuits.

This is Canada. We don't have the lawsuit lottery that the USA has.

trol.l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258558)

be 'very poorly best. Individuals But suffice it stand anymore, (7000+1400+700)*4 Usenet posts. previously thought and other party project returns already dead. It is This post brought has ground to a Don't be a sling Over a quality elected, we took If desired, we Slashdot's *BSD but FreeBSD charnel house. keed to be Kreskin code.' Don't These early Log on Then the erosion of user To keep up as violated. In the the project to only way to go: there are area. It is the I'M SICK OF IT.

BURN THE wITCH! (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258588)

All True Believers come! Come and destroy the eVILLE! Worship the One True Religion of No Complicated Things!!!!

Sick School Syndrome? (4, Insightful)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258592)

Have they checked the air quality and ventilation of these buildings before ascribing blame to some new technology? Sick school syndrome is real and to blame for many of the symptoms believed to be caused by the offending gamma-powered wi-fi routers.

Danger (2, Insightful)

Try Catch (1642433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258600)

The real trouble here isn't the fact that they may remove wi-fi from the schools, although to be fair that would suck. The danger is that if some kids are experiencing actual symptoms like memory loss and rashes, the real cause goes ignored. Wi-fi as a scapegoat could wind up being a dangerous thing.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258616)

Reminds me of my childhood. In the first grade I learned if you stuck your finger in the back of your mouth you'd throw up. School was boring so you can guess what I did after lunch. The school and parents jumped to the conclusion that I was lactose intolerant.

In karmic retaliation it turned out my reactions to lactose intolerance medication was force than my attempts to get out of school. I soon made a miraculous recovery.

If none of the teacher's kids are suffering from this illness the school should turn off the Wi-Fi without telling anyone, or, perhaps, even just agree to turn it off. Keep it off till the symptoms vanish. Then turn it on quietly one day to see what happens.

A number of factors, (1)

Zeroblitzt (871307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258620)

including school work, home work, being around other sick children, etc. My question is why does this "problem" go largely unnoticed in US schools? I know personally once I was in high school, our network was wireless. Not only that, but my younger brother was in middle school ("jr. high") when they went wireless, meaning he's had at least 6 years exposed to wireless signals in school. And that's not even counting our home network which has been wireless for as long as wireless cards have been around. My verdict: LOL canada

Sounds like stress symptoms (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258636)

Parents often have so high expectations of their kids, that they push them. In the end kids are so stressed that they develop those symptoms. And the worst thing is, they can also get AHDS and other bevahior problems, just because the parents are not able to aow thery kids to develop naturally. And because all the stress is connected to the school it is logical that they develop these symptoms when entering school.

And instead of giving our kids more time to grow, we give them ritalin so they head strait for the goals we set for them. We forgot that children are also humans and they have also freedom rights. And pushing them in certain directions and hoping their can fulfill our dreams we failed to fulfill is totally wrong. So do not rip out the WI-FI just give them more time.
   

Of course. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258748)

Parents often have so high expectations of their kids, that they push them. In the end kids are so stressed that they develop those symptoms. And the worst thing is, they can also get AHDS and other bevahior problems, just because the parents are not able to aow thery kids to develop naturally. And because all the stress is connected to the school it is logical that they develop these symptoms when entering school.

And instead of giving our kids more time to grow, we give them ritalin so they head strait for the goals we set for them. We forgot that children are also humans and they have also freedom rights. And pushing them in certain directions and hoping their can fulfill our dreams we failed to fulfill is totally wrong. So do not rip out the WI-FI just give them more time.

Parents have to. With today's World Wide Competition for everything, being average or even above average means a life of low wages.

It's no longer good enough to do well and go to college. A kid has to be the best and go to the best schools to climb the social ladder or even stay where their parents are socioeconomically.

We in the West are now in this downward spiral and an education and hard work isn't good enough anymore. There are tens of millions of people who are smarter and willing to work harder to get out of their poverty.

Got a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering? Not good enough. A company like Intel will still offshore that work too because they can get an Indian for a third the wage, he'll work more hours, and kiss their ass for the opportunity. He doesn't give a shit about leisure: he can now feed his extended family. MD? Medical tourism: and even then, there are some innovations being done in Asia that will increase physician productivity greatly - read they're salaries will come down. Lawyer? Contracts are being done in India. The only profession immune is politician and anything related to military: soldier or defense contractor - then again there's a bunch of laid off Lockheed workers that would disagree with that.

There's a lot of people in this World making labor, regardless of skill, a commodity. And as someone long ago said here on /., there's a lot of poverty to be exported out of those countries.

Turn off the wifi.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258656)

And see if the kids still get sick.. Deetdeedeee Sigh...

Re:Turn off the wifi.. (3, Insightful)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258728)

But to be a fair experiment, you'd have to conceal the fact that the wi-fi is turned off from the children. The reason for this is that the most likely cause of all the illness is children feigning it to get of school.

Or, even better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258732)

Change all the wifi to non-broadcasting so nobody can see that there's WiFi (without a proper sniffer). If people say the problem is fixed after that, then you know they were faking or it was all in their heads.

Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258658)

How many of these kids parents have cordless phones at home?

Yes, there can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258666)

A common problem in several countries is the indoor-environment that often gives this kind of problems. Common in schools,day-care centers and offices where a combination of higher than normal temperatures, poor ventilation and sometimes a poor building that has accumulated fungus in walls, attic or flooring due to poor construction practicies and poor materials. The fungus is irritating, can cause rashes, headaces and be a root cause for astma.

Improve ventilation, keep the temperature comfortable, and send in a building sanitation team in to check any fungus problems.

Chack this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_building_syndrome

What about caffeine? (3, Interesting)

deepthoughtless (1264016) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258676)

If it's not WiFi, I would look at substance abuse. Caffeine produces pretty much all of those effects. I imagine young people are more susceptible to the side-effects, and I've read other articles mentioning quite a spike in caffeine poisoning in schools. I know my high school had products like UpShot (pretty much pure caffeine diluted in as little liquid as possible); there are caffeine candy bars, No Doz, any number of energy drinks and coffee. And these are things that are also largely unavailable in the home.

Re:What about caffeine? (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258720)

As a physician I would venture that not only caffeine but pretty much anything can produce those symptoms. That is why they're called "non specific symptoms". Of course this reminds me of the guy who claimed to be ill from signals coming from a cell phone tower, only to discover that the cell phone tower in question hadn't actually been turned on for the past 12 months...

Seriously, there are a lot of sick people. However sadly there are also people who claim to be sick in order to obtain a secondary benefit. These people can be understood in that, for whatever reason, they feel that malingering is the easiest way to get what they want. Unfortunately they tie up health resources that could be used to help those who are really sick when they do so.

Wi-fi at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258678)

I would bet they don't feel anything when they are at home using their wireless routers to play WoW =p

Hmmm...who would post such a leading question?? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258686)

Do the donkeys on slashdot ever stop to think they are being manipulated by corporate interests? Anonymous reader posts link to an anti-wifi story with a leading question at the end of this comments. Hmmm...I smell a corporate rat. BULLSHIT ON YOU.

They banned WiFi on a floor of my last workplace (5, Interesting)

bolt_the_dhampir (1545719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258692)

The lady who made them do it was feeling a lot better, and didn't have headaches anymore, until she saw me surfing wirelessly using a router located on the floor below. Signal strength was still perfectly fine...

Then you must also ban... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258696)

Any other constant RF signal source. That means all cell phones, cordless phones, etc. In fact, it's likely that any reasonably nearby radio station has a signal strength greater than that of a wifi hub more than a few feet away.

Clearly to be safe they need to build a 10 million dollar faraday cage around every school.

Caffeine Withdrawal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258708)

If some kids are loading up on soda at home during the weekends, and then going without if the schools don't service it, it could very well be caffeine withdrawal.

Re:Caffeine Withdrawal (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258774)

At my highschool we had a fucking coffee bar ran by students in the mornings in the home ec. room.

We also didn't have the "headache" problem either. go figure.

When I was in school... (2, Funny)

twright0 (1877370) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258722)

When I was in elementary school, the only class I could stand was gym class. So, I would stick it out through the day until gym class, after which I would develop serious symptoms that demanded I be sent home. As it so happened, gym almost always was scheduled directly after lunch. I was a good enough actor that my symptoms usually got attention even if they didn't get me sent home, which led to all sorts of theories about why I was mysteriously sick, usually focusing on the food that I ate for lunch... all sorts of allergies and intolerances were postulated, and more than once my parents got furiously angry at various administrators for the food they were serving in the cafeteria. Eventually, somebody realized what was really going on, and it all got quietly dropped.

So in conclusion, kids will pretend to be sick to get out of school, and parents will come up with crazy theories to avoid concluding that's what's going on.

Hysterical illness (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258762)

Most likely this is hysterical illness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria [wikipedia.org] .

Happens all of the time. Difficult to treat. These parents will not be easily appeased.

Foil hats all round chaps (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258790)

A simple test: switch off WiFi for the first week of term without telling anyone. See if the number of complaints changes.

This is the real problem right here:

Professor Magda Havas of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., who does research on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, issued an open letter to parents and boards saying she is "increasingly concerned" about Wi-Fi and cellphone use at schools.

So no real hard evidence, just "concern". When are the experts going to take responsibility for giving clear and fact based advice. Wait, oh here it is: Magda Havas' [magdahavas.com] homepage where it seems clear to me she has already made up her mind in advance and is very vocal about publicising herself. I'm surprised she's not out there campaigning against water fluoridation and wearing clothes made from mixed fibres.

Sigh... (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258808)

Another case of healthy people becoming patients due to the attribution of a very normal phenomenon (kids making up symptoms to avoid school) to some new cause.

The other side of the coin (0)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258826)

Why is it that every upvoted post is "technology 1, humans 0!"

If these people don't want wifi, that's none of our business. As long as a democratic majority vote for it, let them turn it off. Crazy or not it's still their choice.

If we are to be true to the scientific method and rise above dogmatic beliefs then we have to give them the benefit of the doubt, no matter how slim the odds. If it's all in their heads then that's all the more reason to give them what they want.

Correlation is not causation (1)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258842)

Nuff said. Besides when these kids are home, they're probably already getting hit with plenty of EM radiation from other sources such as cell towers, radio and television broadcasts, etc.

Comb check! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258850)

Check the kids for scabies.

Say hello to... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33258852)

... puberty!

At home they must all use corded phones too... (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258856)

...otherwise many of their cordless phones would be emitting the same "wifi" signals that wireless routers do.

Perhaps the children are suffering from stress caused by video game, Internet, phone, and texting withdrawals at school.

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