Don’t get the wrong, I love Wi-Fi, and especially free Wi-Fi, just like the next guy. And the Internet is filled with articles that talk about the advantages of having access to an Internet connection everywhere in the world.

Still there are very few – actually, I haven’t seen one until now – articles that discuss the risks and concerns related to the Wi-Fi technology, and especially free Wi-Fi. Here are the key things that you should be aware of.

1. Free Wi-Fi will destroy your privacy

The minute you connect to an open network, your data is jeopardized. All your precious files may be accessed by a villain attacker, who may run an exploit application from his own smartphone. Gone are the days when hackers had to work from their basements, using powerful computers!


It’s surprising, but about 40% of US adults think that free Wi-Fi is quite safe, and 5% of them believe that free Wi-Fi is actually very safe to use. The appealing idea of accessing our favorite Internet websites without paying a dime overshadows rationality, it seems.

2. Wi-Fi may affect your health

These days younger and younger children have smartphones and tablets. Often times, it’s because their parents want them to live a better, happier life! Electromagnetic fields, also known as EMFs, are everywhere, though. Your microwave oven generates them, your cordless phone generates them, your Wi-Fi router generates them, and the list goes on.


Research shows that exposure to ultraviolet light, a high-frequency EMF, can cause cancer. X-rays, who are used for various medical procedures, aren’t much lighter on your health either. And since these EMFs cause trouble, people wonder whether Wi-Fi signal has similar negative effects or not.

People were really scared about what their mobile phones’ EMFs could do to them back in 2000. According to a Data Alliance source, a survey in the UK highlighted the fact that close to 30% of the respondents feared EMFs. These days that percentage is down to about 5%. The explanation is quite simple: smartphones and tablets have become a part of our lives. We simply cannot live without them!

Sir William Stewart, Chairman at The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, stated that children should not use mobile phones, and that the providers should choose their antenna locations carefully.

3. Wi-Fi changes parental control rules

Speaking of children, by accessing free Wi-Fi networks they may also get access to inappropriate websites. Sure, you have done your job as a parent, installing a filter that blocks the bad sites, but all your work is in vain the minute they step out the door.


Several Internet providers offer built-in parental control filters. You can also install a filtering system on your own network. But if your kids have a smartphone or tablet, the only solution is to install dedicated applications on these devices. Of course, even these solutions have their limits. They are unable to determine the type of conversation that your children may be having with their so called social media “friends”, who may be wolves in disguise, for example.

Sure, you could also install screen activity recorders, but these applications tend to slow down the phones a lot, burn their batteries within hours, and can be bypassed as well. The best solution is to teach your children to be responsible on the Internet, while making use of parental filters as well.