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Brain Drain - How technology disrupts early brain development
A common belief by today's parents is that early use of technology by young children is harmless, and might even prove beneficial to their developing brains. Promises of improved cognition, eye/hand coordination, visual motor control, reaction time, and even foundation skills for future surgeon occupations are touted by digital media designers. Parents repeatedly report that if they don't engage their child with early use of technology, the child will be missing out, be behind their peers, and may never catch up their lost 'techno skill set' to be able to compete for eventual jobs when they grow up. These beliefs that technology is indeed good for young children, are daily reinforced by the parent's own technology use patterns, as parents who are high users of technology raise children who are much the same. This article is intended to detail aspects of early brain development that are particularly vulnerable to technology (TV, violent video games, fast paced cartoons), and proposes parents adopt Steve Jobs tech rules for his own family - no handheld devices for children under 12 years of age.

In order to understand the impact of technology on the developing brain, it's imperative to review what we already know about normal brain development. This essential knowledge about the developing nervous system, will prepare parents and teachers to be able to more clearly define and understand how early exposure to technology can disrupt the development of their child's brain .

AAP develops policy guideline for child exposure to violent media content
Virtual violence - violence experienced via media or realistic technologies - is an inescapable component of children's lives, and research shows that without guidance or controls it has the power to make children more aggressive, violent and fearful.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement, " Virtual Violence " in the August 2016 issue of Pediatrics, which reviews the evidence of how virtual violence impacts children, and offers guidance to parents, media producers and pediatricians.  Click here to read more

Recent rise in mass shootings involving police officers, raises questions regarding early and prolonged exposure to violent video games.

By Dave Grossman 2013
Dave Grossman is the author of "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" and "Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill"

By Doug Gross, CNN August 26, 2013
The long-running debate about violence in video games was rekindled in 2013 with reports that an 8-year-old boy who police say shot and killed his elderly caregiver had been playing "Grand Theft Auto IV," a game rated as appropriate for adults.

By Craig Goldstein October 23, 2014

Cops 'n' RobbersThe game was controversial when released as the player is the 'robber' and must shoot the 'cops'.

Hatred (video game) - T he player-character is a mass-killing villain who hates humanity and begins a "genocide crusade" [1]  to kill innocent civilians and police officers.

New Books
Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids-and How to Break the Trance By Nicholas Kardaras

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras will examine how technolog - more specifically, age-inappropriate screen tech, with all of its glowing ubiquity - has profoundly affected the brains of an entire generation.

Order the book on Amazon here .

Published August 9, 2016

ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic

A groundbreaking and definitive account of the widespread misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-and its serious effects on children, adults, and society.

Order the book on Amazon  here .

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Cris in Film

F ilm producer Krista Riihimaki interviewing Cris Rowan for her documentary "Child Disrupted" profiling the impact of technology on children and youth to be released this fall .

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

September 23, 2016 - Sechelt, BC
Workshop for general public on the impact of technology on children sponsored by Blissful Yoga.
Contact person: Georgia Cyr, 604-989-2358

October 20, 2016 - Vancouver, BC
Workshop for teachers and parents on the impact of technology on children sponsored by Vancouver Waldorf School.
Contact person: Jennifer Breckon, 604-985-7435 loc. 202

October 31 - November 11, 2016 - Online University Course
Course on impact of technology on children  for doctoral OT students sponsored by Pacific University, Portland, Oregon; co-instructor Dr. Chantelle Bernier .
Contact person:  Sandra Pelham Foster,  503-352-7351

November 5, 2016 - Maple Ridge, BC
Workshop for early intervention staff on attachment and addictions sponsored by Maple Ridge Child Care Resource Centre.
Contract person: JoAnne White, 604-467-2273
November 14, 2016 - Windsor Ontario
Workshop for therapists on impact of technology on children for Digital Dependency Awareness: Free to Play conference sponsored by Problem Gambling Services, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare .
Contact person: Shawn Rumble, 519-257-5111 Ext 76984.

November 16, 17, 2016 - Edmonton Alberta
Keynote and workshop for child care workers on impact of technology on children for Health and Wellness Summit sponsored by Alberta Parenting for the Future .
Contact person: Kathryn Wey,  780-963-0549.

Research and News Review

Childhood Development

By Richard Freed August 14, 2016
Even amid the trappings of our tech-obsessed culture, children's connections to family and school are still the most important factors in their lives.

By Aug 1,2016
Petition to get signatures so that we can enact legislation to put warning labels on digital screen devices that kids use.

By Ron Taffel Nov 6, 2014
Over the past decade or two, seasoned therapists who treat young people have been seeing some increasingly worrisome trends.

Newsletter produced by Mid-South Early Childhood Direction Center, Summer Edition 2016


By The Economist June 9, 2016
The biggest gains will come from preparing new teachers better, and upgrading the ones already in classrooms. The lesson is clear; it now just needs to be taught.
Social Media & Mobile Technology

By Erik Peper, June 18, 2016
Improve your sight-avoid the epidemic of eye irritation and compromised vision.

By Yagana Shah The Huffington Post August 13, 2016
It's every parent's worst nightmare. Their child meets a person online and agrees to meet them offline.

By Meeri Kim June 20, 2016
Labelled a case of Munchausen by Internet, a modern take on a mental disorder that involves faking an illness for the purpose of extracting attention and nurture from others.

By K J Dell'antonia July 12, 2016
Parents looking for a way to get children moving and off the couch this summer have found a surprising new ally: Pokémon.

By Brian X Chen New York Times July 20, 2016
NOT long ago, many parents wondered at what age they should give their child full access to the car keys. Nowadays, parents face a trickier question: At what age should a child own a smartphone?

Science Daily June 27, 2016
Sending text messages on a smartphone can change the rhythm of brain waves, according to a new study. People communicate increasingly via text messaging, though little is known on the neurological effects of smartphone use.

By Victoria Dunckley June 30, 2016
Screens are preventing kids from practicing social skills - and it shows.

By Ellen Toronto, June 28, 2016
Can we be mindful when we are using the Internet? That is, can we pay attention to the experience using our faculties of concentration, our moral compass and our capacity for empathy?

Technology Balance

By James Bullen and Anne Tarasov Aug 10, 2016
Half of the 1,000 respondents spent two hours or less with family and friends. 

Website by James Heim
Technology's fast development reduces diversity and freedom.

Video Games & Pornography
By Nicholas Kardaras August 11, 2016
Immersive and interactive games that are fine for adults can cause a blurring of reality in younger users.
By S W Krauss, S Martino, M N Potenza 2016 Jun;5(2):169-78. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.036.
Study examined the prevalence of, and factors associated with, men's interest in seeking treatment for use of pornography, using an Internet-based data-collection procedure of 1,298 male pornography users.

Important study on the effects of pornography on marriage.  It is is the first to rely on nationally representative longitudinal data.

Technology Addictions & Psychotropic Meds
By Maia Szalavitz June 25, 2016
Once we understand that addiction is neither a sin nor a progressive disease, just different brain wiring, we can stop persisting in policies that don't work, and start teaching recovery.

Article includes an infographic by Rawhide Boys Ranch they created that breaks down this addiction and how to help teens.

By John Bonazzo August 3, 2016
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras argues that juvenile tech addiction is a public health crisis.
Audio The Diane Rehm Show July 27, 2016
Guest host Derek McGinty and a panel of guests discuss therapies designed to treat compulsive web use among young people and what parents and teens should know.
Tech Radiation

Newly-released study on cellphone radiation and cancer in rats conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) found one in 18 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer

Published by Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST) July 26, 2016
Join other Canadian parents taking action by emailing the Minister of Health and your local MP to have these standards updated to reflect this wireless world we live in.

YouTube video published June 10, 2016
Interesting how they are framing it as the Disney movies helped him come out of his autism. But in light of what we are seeing, could it be the other way around?

By Melanie Hemp with Amy C. Eytchison June 23, 2016
Research tells us that our kids need chores as much as they need entertainment or educational activities to make them empathetic, self-sufficient, and even happier as they grow up.

By Melanie Hemp July 8, 2016
Follow on to the "Cores" article, with some tips to help you make serving the family a new habit in your home. 

YouTube video published Feb 12, 2015
Studies say that 4 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact can increase intimacy. To test this theory out, we brought in six pairs in different stages of their relationship and had them try it.

Erik Peper, Annette Booiman, Mei Lin, and Richard Harvey, Biofeedback Volume 44, Issue 2, pp. 66-72 DOI: 10.5298/1081-5937-44.2.04
Article describes how body postures can project nonverbally how a human being feels and how postural changes affect thoughts, emotions, and energy levels, and conversely, energy levels, emotions, and thoughts affect posture.

By Jill Werman Harris June 
Leaving for sleepaway camp is, for many children, a major step toward independence. Today, when cellphones keep parents and children in nearly constant contact, the fact that most camps have phone-free policies makes breaking away even more of a challenge.

WifiWifi in Schools Update

Wi-Fi In Schools and Libraries

25 July 2016,  Italy - The Local
"Turin is planning to cut back on Wi-Fi in state schools and government buildings over concerns that radiation might damage people's health."

22 July 2016,  NBC K5 Western Washington's Home Team
Safiya Merchant

09 July 2016,  Safe Tech for Schools Maryland
Petaluma Parents for Safe Technology

25 March 2016,  Oklahoma -The All American Banner
(See page 4)
Jerry Flynn, Captain RET, Canadian Armed Forces.

Medical / Scientific Advocacy

25 July 2016,  O'Dwyer's | Inside News of Public Relations & Marketing Communications
Jack O'Dwyer

19 July 2016,  O'Dwyer's | Inside News of Public Relations & Marketing Communications
Jack O'Dwyer

29 June 2016,  College of Naturopathic Medicine
(01:50:55 video) 
Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe

Scientific Research
September 2016,  Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, Volume 75, Part B, Pages 43-51
Martin L. Pall, Ph.D.

Legal / Legislation

20 July 2016,  Missouri Education Watchdog
Cheri Kiesecker

11 July 2016,  Environmental Health Trust

July 2016 Environmental Health Trust
Parents Write To the FCC: Be On the Right Side Of History 

Articles / Various

14 July 2016,  JBA Healthy News
Phil Anderson 

12 July 2016,  Missouri Education Watchdog
Cheri Kiesecker

10 July 2016,  Wall Street Journal
Stuart Green

16 June 2016,  Canada - CTV
(02:02 minutes)
Joanne Schnurr 

29 April 2016,  Alaska Public Media
Annie Fiedt

Acknowledgement - The above links where first published in the NACST Newsletter July 2016.

Zone'in Products

Sedentary, neglected, isolated, and overstimulated, the new millennium child can no longer pay attention and learn. Zone'in Products are designed by an occupational therapist to enhance child development and learning, ensuring successful futures.


Zone'in - enhancing attention, learning and self-regulation.

Move'in - teaches children to print, the foundation for literacy.

Unplug'in - builds skill and confidence in activities other than technology.

Live'in - media literacy guide for home, school and community.


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Virtual Child - The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children

Virtual Child

By Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist.

Virtual Child  documents the impact technology has had on the developing child, and proposes tools and techniques to manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use.  

Need more info? Visit


About the Author
Cris Rowan is a pediatric occupational therapist committed to enhancing child health and academic performance. Well known activist, speaker, sensory specialist and author, Cris is the "Go To" expert on child learning, development and technology overuse. Cris has provided over 200 workshops for health and education professionals, and is currently developing the Creating Sustainable Futures Program for a First Nations Community.
Training & Consultation

Instructor training for Foundation Series Workshops places pediatric occupational therapists on the cutting edge as experts in the field of technology's impact on child development.

Zone'in Training

Innovative team-based approach to manage balance between activities children need to grow and succeed with technology use.

Cris Rowan is now offering private phone/Skype consultations. 

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