Mum influencer warns people to not let their children use an iPad while it's charging for one important reason
A 'mumfluencer' has taken to her Instagram page to warn other parents and carers about the possible dangers of using your iPad while its charging after she claimed to be able to feel electrical current through her seven-year-old daughter.
Mel Watts, who has 242,000 followers on her page @melwatts, posted a video in which she said that she rubbed her young child's back, while barefoot, when she was using a charging Apple device - and was shocked to feel a charge.
In the video, which was posted on Monday January 8, she explained that the incident happened on Sunday (January 7), when she was saying goodnight to her daughter Indie. She said: "Last night when I was saying goodnight to Indie I was rubbing her back and I could feel this really weird feeling. I thought it was something on her skin.
"She was playing on her iPad so I got my husband Nolan to come and he felt it too. We realised it was a current coming through the iPad, we've never felt it before."
Mel and Nolan, who live in New South Wales, Australia, then showed how they believe the device can conduct an electric current through someone's body. They touched each other's bare shoulders while holding each holding the charging iPad - and they claim they can feel the current coming off each other in the same way they could with their daughter.
Mel went on to say she had taken the device to an electrician to ask if it was safe to use. She said: "An electrician came over and he couldn't feel it until we realised he was wearing boots, we told him to take them off and he could feel it too."
She added: "It’s happening to all our devices in numerous power sources. We had an electrician come over and spoken to many who have no idea what it is. All our power is working great."
The mum-of four, who also shares Ayden, 16, Ivie, nine, and Sonny, five, with Nolan, also asked her followers in the video caption if they had experienced anything similar. The post received more than 1,000 comments.
One warned: "Never use a phone or iPhone while on charge." warned one. Another speculated: "I've read it has something to do with the current not grounding."
Others claimed that feeling the sensation is an indication there is a problem with the electrical wiring in the Watts' house, which could have incorrect grounding. Mel did, however, not say the electrician had found anything wrong with the wiring in her home. "The power's fine," she said.
Some people alleged that the situation only happened because static electricity had built up in the device, but it was harmless. Other people said the same thing had happened to them: "I get this with my smart watch, my arm starts to tingle and I take it off it doesn't feel right. I often wonder how much damage we are doing to ourselves," one person said.
Another said: "I get this if my laptop is plugged in! If it’s on my lap and I like rub my husbands shoulder you feel the static/velvet like buzz sensation but take the charger out and it goes away." A third added: "This happens to us when we have the electric blanket on and my husband asks me to tickle his back. I hate the fuzzy feeling, it gives me goosebumps."
It is possible for some of their devices to generate static electricity while using them, according to Apple's official website. A statement online reads: "Static can potentially build up on almost any hardware and could be discharged. This condition is similar to dragging your feet across a carpet and receiving a static shock when you touch a doorknob."
Thomas Faver, Director of Faver Electrical Services, told NationalWorld that he could not comment on Watts' claims as he did not know the specifics of the situation. However, he offered reassurance about feeling static.
He said: "Generally static is harmless, but it can cause panic in people if they feel it. But, we all know there are times when you feel a little eclectic shock. For example, if you are wearing certain clothing and then touch the metal rails in clothing stores. It causes a shock, but there's no harm."
He also advised, however, that people do not use any electrical device while it's on charge. "You're not supposed to use anything while it's charging," he said. "You are likely to move a device around while it's charging as you don't sit or stand perfectly still yourself, and that movement could cause damage internally to the device itself or to the charge cable. This could even leave live wires exposed." He recommends instead that people let their devices charge before safely unplugging them so that they can be used.
Faver, who is an electrician with more than a decade of experience, advised that if anyone has concerns about electrical safety in their home they should consult a professional.
Giuseppe Capanna, Product Safety Engineer at UK charity Electrical Safety First said: “The circumstances surrounding this persons experience are too uncertain to draw any conclusions. However, people can come into contact with static or current for a huge variety of reasons. Coming into contact with either doesn’t mean you’re necessarily in danger either, so long as your products are compliant and purchased from a reputable manufacturer.
"Friction is the biggest cause of static, it can be created from anything as common as walking on your carpet or moving about on your car seat. Most of us have experienced it and although not pleasant, it’s certainly not dangerous.
“Current, created from an electrical source, operates at various levels of power. On the basis you are charging your phone with a charger purchased from a reputable manufacturer or retailer your phone should be exposed to no more than 20 volts, the intensity of which you might feel this if you came into contact with it would also be determined by whether or not you were dry or wet, this would determine your skins natural resistance to current.
"More significant risks would occur if the phone charger was counterfeit, non-compliant or lacking essential safety components. This is more common when products are purchased from individual third party sellers on online marketplaces rather than known manufacturers. Ultimately the best way to keep yourself safe is to by your electronics and charging devices from reputable high street retailers or responsible manufacturers, that way you can rest assured what you’re buying meets safety standards and your exposure to risk is minimal.”