Note: This article has been updated in April 2022.
If you have ever been on a flight before, then you will remember what it is like sitting and waiting for that exhilarating moment of take-off as the flight attendants make sure everything is as it should be. It is usually around this time that you will be reminded to put your device on flight mode or turn it off completely. Have you ever wondered why this is a necessary safety procedure during a flight?
Flight mode is a great way to reduce your risk of getting exposed to EMF radiation. Read on to find out more about the explanations and reasoning behind this.
When you put your phone on flight mode, here's what happens
The term “aeroplane mode” came from in-flight practices, but the practical applications of this feature on your cell phone extend beyond just air travel. What exactly is the correlation between EMF radiation and putting your phone on aeroplane mode? Let’s start by looking at your cell phone.
This little device has at least 4 radio antennae and could have up to 13 altogether. Examples of radio antennae on your device and what types of radio waves they pick up are:
- WIFI 2.45 GHz
- WIFI 5 GHz
- Bluetooth 2.4 GHz
- Cellular LTE
- Cellular 5G
In other words, your cell phone acts as a mini radio tower that we carry around and use on a daily basis. When your device is connected to a cellular network such as Bluetooth or WIFI, it sends out radiofrequency or wireless signals. This wireless signal is known as Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation. Antennae on your cell phone can be located at the top, bottom, side, or even back or front of the device. So unlike the classic cellular phone design where the antenna is pointing up, antennae on a modern smartphone could well be pointing towards your body.
When you put your phone on flight mode, these tiny radio antennae are disabled and your phone loses connectivity. That's how you reduce EMF radiation exposure. With modern technology, you can now select which particular antenna that you'd like to switch off; for example, you can switch off the Bluetooth antenna only, or the WIFI or cellular one and so on.
During a flight, radio frequency signals generated by your phone can potentially interfere with a plane’s sensors or radio equipment. This is why putting your phone on aeroplane mode or switching it off entirely is essential before a flight takes off.
What does electromagnetic field radiation entail?
Now we know how flight mode helps cut down on EMF radiation exposure – but are you really aware of what EMF radiation actually is? Electronic devices emit electromagnetic field radiation, and this is usually a composition of shallow frequency and radiofrequency radiation. Electronic devices with batteries or plugs generally emit extremely low frequency waves (ELF). Radiofrequency is usually emitted when the phone or electronic devices are connected to WIFI routers, cell towers, or Bluetooth devices.
Previous studies on EMF radiation show that many people use smartphones and in doing so, inevitably expose themselves to the radiofrequency and ELF radiations emitted by their phones. With that in mind, whenever you use your phone close to your body – especially for a long time – you get higher exposure to EMF radiation.
This radiation is usually harmful, and medical research links this to several health concerns. Common health issues related to EMF radiation include tinnitus, fatigue, insomnia, heart palpitations, skin rash, and headaches. Serious problems caused by exposure to EMF radiation includeissues with fertility, DNA fragmentation, cancer, and cell damage.
According to a 2018 study by senior NTP scientist John Bucher, Ph.D, male rats showed clear evidence of brain and heart tumour growth following prolonged exposure to EMF radiation. This study verified the link between radio frequency radiation and tumours in male rats.
Putting your phone on flight mode
Nowadays, everyone uses electronic devices in some way or another, and everyone mainly uses cell phones. Prevention is better than cure; hence you can prevent yourself from prolonged exposure to EMF emissions by putting your phone on aeroplane mode whenever possible.
You may think that putting your phone on aeroplane mode can leave you bored, but there are many things you can do while the phone is on aeroplane mode. These include:
- Taking videos and pictures
- Listening to downloaded music or podcasts
- Reading previously downloaded e-books
- Setting reminders or alarms
- Making lists
- Playing downloaded games
You can still connect to WIFI manually with your phone on aeroplane mode, which would then allow you to use apps that require an Internet connection. This way we are turning off all other antennae except for the WIFI antenna – and one antenna generates far less EMF radiation than multiple antennae! By having WIFI on with aeroplane mode you can:
- Read and respond to emails
- Browse or post on social media platforms
- Send messages on social media platforms
- FaceTime or video call
- Make audio calls on Internet-based apps
- Stream movies
When to use flight mode
You can always use aeroplane mode and enjoy the benefits of this fantastic feature at any time. We share a bit more about the benefits of using flight mode during the following occasions or periods of day below.
1. Anytime during the day
The truth is you don’t need to wait for a specific time to use flight mode – you can do it any time of the day! Taking time off your device is a healthy habit and you don’t need to remain connected all the time, so turn on flight mode during your down time periods of the day.
2. At night
It is a good habit to switch on aeroplane mode at night as you won’t actually be using your phone while you sleep. The lack of notifications or new messages at night will guarantee you better sleep which contributes to better overall health, too.
3. When you are around kids
You can put your phone on flight mode when your kids are around, especially as younger kids are most susceptible to EMF radiation. Children can still use cell phones in flight mode – for example to play downloaded games and apps that don't need Internet connection.
4. Low battery life
Whenever you realise your phone is running low on battery, you should turn on flight mode as a power-saving method. And thus you can reap the benefits of reducing EMF radiation exposure too!
Besides adhering to flight safety regulations, switching on aeroplane mode during a flight will also help you save on unnecessary cellular data fees and of course, reduce exposure to EMF radiation.
Are there other solutions to help reduce EMF radiation exposure?
It is difficult to run away from connectivity these days, which means that there may be periods of time when you find it impossible to keep your phone on flight mode. In such cases, try to keep your device as far away from you as possible to decrease the levels of EMF radiation exposure. You can also take other measures to reduce exposure such as wearing EMF protection clothing like an EMF blanket or an EMF hat.
At Radia Smart, we offer a wide range of EMF protection clothing as well as all manner of tips and advice to help raise our customers’ awareness of electromagnetic field radiation. Feel free to browse our blog to learn more about limiting your level of exposure to EMF radiation or get in touch with us with any enquiries today!