A Whangarei mother is concerned that WiFi technology in classrooms will see children spend their school years in a "soup of radiation".

Tracey Gates said the drive by some schools to have every child use wireless laptops or handheld computer devices flew in the face of international warnings about heavy exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

Ms Gates has been trying to raise awareness about the issue after Maunu Primary School's plans to increase classroom WiFi capability and implement a "bring your own device" policy for all pupils.

"I did some research and was swamped with negative information ... I'm not targeting my son's school. I want people to become more informed."


She said she had aired her concerns at a recent PTA meeting and asked the school to give parents more information.

Maunu School principal Cleve Bloor said he was satisfied the school had the best information before it went ahead with the WiFi installation. The Ministry of Education and then Ministry of Health had assured him the equipment would not harm staff or children, he said.

But Ms Gates said international research did not back that up; instead it found too much exposure to WiFi could be harmful for developing brains and bodies.

Hard-wired computer access was cheaper, more secure, faster and did not carry the same controversy about health effects, she said.

Safer Wireless Technology New Zealand is urging the Government to fund its own research on the health impacts of EMR. Spokesman Stuart Reuben, a retired cardiologist, said the country was bucking international trends in pushing for wider use of WiFi and handheld devices in schools.

The New Zealand standard for allowable EMR is one of the highest in the world at 450 microwatts per square centimetre, compared with Sweden where the maximum is 1 microwatt per square centimetre, Dr Reuben says.