Exploring ten myths and facts regarding child mental illness origins and treatment.
By Cris Rowan

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, research studies documented an alarming rise in child and youth mental illness . The long-term effects of imposed isolation of families and removal of family support networks are largely unknown, but early reports during the Covid-19 pandemic indicate an alarming escalation in child/youth mental illness . Historically, empirical evidence regarding the origins of psychiatric disorders has taken a back seat to industry-driven pharmaceutical studies e.g. the cure preceded the cause, with an alarming rise in use of psychotropic medications for children with problematic behaviors. Presently we are witness to an escalation in the use of screen-based devices (in homes and schools) with consequences threatening both their physical and mental health. Children are increasingly sedentary, isolated, overstimulated and often neglected resulting in problematic behaviors which again, can present as mental illness. A lack of pragmatic and thorough research surrounding mental illness has significantly muddied the waters, often confusing and further misdirecting child mental illness diagnosis and treatment. As mental illness soars in children and youth, the salient question needing an answer is "What are ALL the factors contributing to child mental illness?" This article explores common myths and known (but often understated) facts regarding mental illness, and could assist parents, health and education professionals in preparation for the upcoming onslaught of child and youth mental illness.

Cris in the News


1.5-hour webinar presented by Cris Rowan pediatric occupational therapist, biologist, international speaker, and author of "Virtual Child - The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children" for parents of teens participating in the 2019 Camp Unplugged in California.

By Krita Riihimaki 

Montessori teacher and filmmaker Krista Riihimaki interviews experts from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, occupational therapy (Cris Rowan), sociology, and addiction, to  reveal the truth behind her worries about screen time and child development.

Available for  Purchase or Rent. Click  Here to view trailer

Less Screen, More Green: The Mindful Tech Plan is digital detox made fun using the powers of nature, mindfulness and being truly connected 

By Kerry Crofton Published January 21, 2020 

Now there's a way to find tech balance and use social media, smartphones, WiFi and "Smart" devices more safely. Concerned about phone or screen addiction and the disconnect from others and nature, especially youth and indoor kids? An international team of experts (including Cris Rowan) offer their latest research and recommendations. 

Click Here to buy from Amazon.

Sharenthood: Why We Should Think before We Talk about Our Kids Online

By Leah A. Plunkett Published September 10, 2019 

From baby pictures in the cloud to a high school's digital surveillance system: how adults unwittingly compromise children's privacy online. In this incisive book, Leah Plunkett examines the implications of "sharenthood" - adults' excessive digital sharing of children's data. She outlines the mistakes adults make with kids' private information, the risks that result, and the legal system that enables "sharenting."

Click   Here  to buy from Amazon.

The Invisible rainbow - A History of Electricity and Life

By Arthur Firstenberry

The 60-cycle current in our house wiring, the ultrasonic frequencies in our computers, the radio waves in our televisions, the microwaves in our cell phones, these are all distortions of the invisible rainbow that runs through our veins and makes us alive. But we have forgotten.

With 5G coming, it is time that we remember. 

Click   Here  to buy from Amazon.

Screened Out 
By John Nyatt Available on Demand May 26, 2020 

Screened Out is a provocative look at screen and smartphone addiction and how the tech industry hooked global consumers, and continues to groom future generations of screen addicts. In this timely documentary, filmmaker Jon Hyatt explores all the ways in which we are addicted to our screens, how the tech industry hooked global consumers, and its greater impact on our lives. From smartphones, portable tablets and social media, the tech industry has designed these fun immersive technologies, but are they good for us? Are we too dependent on our devices? What keeps us hooked? How is it impacting our children?

Click Here to view trailer.

Screenagers - Next Chapter
By Delaney Ruston  

High Stress, Anxiety and Depression are experienced by millions of young people. We follow physician and filmmaker, Delaney Ruston, as she discovers solutions for improved adolescent well-being in the digital age. (runtime about 69-minutes)

Click   Here  to view trailer.  Screenings now available On-Line .

Film created by Joni Siani and No App for Life.

Celling Your Soul is a powerful and informative examination of how our young people actually feel about connecting in the digital world and their love/hate relationship with technology. It provides empowering strategies for more fulfilling, balanced, and authentic human interaction within the digital landscape.

Workshops & Webinars

Children and Screens
Over three sessions, learn form pediatricians, child psychologists, neuroscientists, educators and parenting experts about evidence around screen engagement from early childhood through adolescence.

Video recording for purchase and download
Top experts in the field discuss the latest research regarding brain science and screen addiction in children and teens.

Ideally, summer is all about outdoor recreation and screen-free fun. But with cancelled camps and parents working during the summer of COVID-19, many children will be left to their own devices...literally!

Families Managing Media 2020
The Screen Solution Workshops will leave you feeling equipped with the tools needed to help you reset your child's screen habits. From video games to smartphones, we'll show you how to make practical changes in your day-to-day life with proven strategies and replacement activities to establish a balanced screen use at different ages.

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Research and News Review
Childhood Development
By Alyson Klein for Education Week on December 2, 2019
It's not clear what impact this early screen time has on students' K-12 outcomes. But recently, scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress declined in both fourth grade and eighth grade reading, leading experts to question whether excessive screen time could be having an impact on students' long-term reading skills.

By Theresa H. Rodgers for USA Today on January 16, 2020
Adults' digital habits could be hazardous to children's speech and language development. It's time to act.

By Beata Mostafavi on May 26, 2017
Even in low amounts, interruptions to parent-child time caused by digital technology are associated with greater child behavior problems, a new study suggests.

By Jackie Salo for New York Post on January 9, 2020
State Sen. John Rodgers' proposal would punish anyone under the age threshold found with a cellphone with up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both. He  argued that young people are too immature to use cellphones, citing the role the devices play in fatal car crashes.

By Sarah P Weeldreyer on September 11, 2019
Denying a teen a smartphone is a tough decision, and one that requires an organized and impenetrable defense.

By Sandee LaMotte on November 4, 2019 for CNN
A study scanned the brains of children 3 to 5 years old and found those who used screens more than the recommended one hour a day without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain's white matter - an area key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills.

By Mai-Han Trinh, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Sonia L. Robinson, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(1):71-78. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4488 on November 25, 2019
In this study of 3895 children aged 1 to 3 years with screen media time, the findings suggest that a range of parental and child characteristics are associated with screen time. Screen time habits appear to track from as early as infancy, emphasizing the need for earlier interventions.

By Rani Molla on October 29, 2019
Tweens and teens from families that make less than $35,000 per year spent nearly two hours more with screen media each day than their peers with incomes over $100,000, according to data from media nonprofit Common Sense.

By William Hinkley, Neil Heffernan, and Helen Lee Bouygues for reboot on March 2020
New study shows that students writing down math problems increases high school math outcomes.

By Rebecca Ruiz on Mashable September 2019
A guide for anxious parents.


By Natalie Wexler for MIT Technology Review on December 19, 2019
A study of millions of high school students in the 36 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that those who used computers heavily at school "do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after accounting for social background and student demographics."

By Jamie Ducharme on September 24, 2019 for Time
A JAMA Pediatrics analysis of dozens of past studies on screen time and academic performance found that the types of screen-based technology kids were using-rather than the total amount of time they spent looking at screens-seemed to have the strongest bearing on learning.

By Beata Mostafavi on March 25, 2019
Research finds that parents and children talk and interact less with electronic books compared to print books.

By William Hinkley, Neil Heffernan, and Helen Lee Bouygues for reboot on March 2020
New study shows that students writing down math problems increases high school math outcomes.

By Victoria Dunckley on Aug. 29, 2014
Is interactive screen-time causing more harm than vilified television?

Nature and Green Schools

By Jim Robbins on January 9, 2020
A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.

Green School Links
Post Covid-19 education guidelines indicate that schools should prepare to operate at 50% capacity. Obvious initiatives include that half of each classroom spend half of their school day outside. This initiative requires schools to form liaisons with community governments to repurpose outdoor spaces to organize "green classrooms" in parks, on beaches, and in forests. Established green classrooms could accommodate before and after school programs. Find out how you can start this exciting initiative now!

Green Schools Curriculum Guidelines (Ontario)

Green Schools (Nova Scotia)

Nature Club Kids (Virginia)

Green Schoolyards America has put together a website for schools with focus on how to create outdoor schools to accommodate Covid-19 guidelines. Included are radio interviews, webinars, and handouts.
Mental Health
By Bruno Harle for Trends in Neuroscience and Education Volume on 17, December 2019
S tudy reports that clinicians should also be aware of the existence of cases of recovery or dramatic improvement after parents accept to stop screen exposure for a few months, associated with daily moments of dyadic interaction, since this intervention has repeatedly been found to be effective with no known side-effects.
By Greg Bullock on August 1, 2017
Computer and mobile device screens can be a source of pain for people with light-aggravated conditions like migraine, research is now showing that a particular type of device screen can also provoke light sensitivity in patients with post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
By Arianne Cohen on December 2, 2019 for Fast Company
The review of 41 studies of 41,871 youth, published in BMC Psychiatry,  shows that 23% of young people engage in dysfunctional  phone habits  that cause such problems as neglect of other activities or anxiety.

By Matthew A Lapierre, Pengfei Zhao and Benjamin E Custer published August 31, 2019 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.06.001
Study shows the association between smartphone use and smartphone dependency, and the deleterious effects of loneliness and depression within late adolescents. Recommends Health practitioners should communicate with patients and parents about the links between smartphone engagement and psychological well-being.

By Clifford Sussman published in Attention Winter magazine 2017-2018
Children, adolescents, and young adults with ADHD have proven to be one of the groups most vulnerable to extreme cases of problematic internet and video game use, leading to catastrophic consequences in grades, social life, emotional well-being, and relationships with family members.

Screen Addiction
By Mark D Griffiths in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy 4(5) on  December 2013  DOI: 10.4172/2155-6105.1000e118
Researchers in this study, have suggested that the excessive use of new technologies (and especially online social networking) may be particularly problematic to young people.
By Daria Kuss and Mark D Griffiths on August 29, 2011 doi: 10.3390/ijerph8093528
This literature review provided empirical and conceptual insight into the then emerging phenomenon of addiction to Social Network Sites . Nearly 10 years on, how does this relate to the issues we are seeing today?
By Meredith E Ganser, MD on September 12, 2019 for Psychiatric Times
It was almost becoming a recognizable pattern: child starts playing a videogame, child won't stop playing videogame, parents remove access to videogame, child flies into a rage with sometimes terrifying consequences. Yet, while this pattern was often predictable, it was difficult to name.  Gaming disorder seems to be a fitting diagnosis, but its existence as an independent mental health condition remains highly controversial, with many researchers and clinicians divided on this issue.
By Petros Lenounis and James Sherer on September 9, 2019 for the inquirer
The devastating effects of addiction - to alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, opioids - are well documented.  But video and computer games, cybersex and online porn, Internet gambling and surfing, texting and emailing, social media platforms, online auctions, and shopping can be every bit as addictive as substances.

By Madison Medeiros on September 19, 2019 for She Knows
Gabb Wireless's phones stick to the basics, offering call and text options with a limited number of pre-installed apps, including a camera, a calculator, a calendar, and FM radio. 


By Julie Bindel on October 1, 2019 for Spectator USA
Like tobacco, porn is highly addictive. It ruins lives. It doesn't cause cancer or heart disease, but, worse than tobacco, it exploits people and damages relationships.

By Jim Waterson for The Guardian on January 31, 2020
British Board of Film Classification report finds parents are in denial or largely unaware of what their children view online.

YouTube video uploaded February 11, 2019
In this short video, Dr. Robert Weiss discusses the fact that sex and porn addiction are not about sexual activity and orgasm. Like all other addictions, sex and porn addiction are about emotional and psychological escape.

By Gail Dines for The Boston Globe, reproduced on Fight The New Drug on September 19, 2019
What kids aren't telling parents about porn on social media. Adult content is rampant on social media. Here's what parents need to know.

Published on Your Brain on Porn website.
Article includes neuroscience-based commentaries & reviews of the literature, and neurological studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users and sex/porn addicts (Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder).

The Culture Reframed  Program for Parents of Tweens and  Program for Parents of Teens build young people's resilience and resistance to hypersexualized media and porn while promoting their healthy development. This  free online program provides culturally competent, research-driven, age-based educational videos, downloads, and resources for parents.

Videogames and Violence

Video Games and Online Chats Are 'Hunting Grounds' for Sexual Predators
By Nellie Bowles and Michael H. Keller for New York Times on January 1, 2020
Criminals are making virtual connections with children through gaming and social media platforms. One popular site warns visitors, "Please be careful."

By Cassie on GameSparks.
There's a stereotype that the only people who play video games are adolescent boys. This image has persisted over the years, yet with the rise of smartphones, the gaming demographic has dramatically shifted. While video game manufactures might still cater to the male 18-25 demographic, the truth is more than 50 percent of the gaming audience is made up of women.

By Ed Orr on November 6, 2019 for Gamespace.com
Young gamers in China are facing a shut down as a new law limits under 18 game time to 90 minutes and only between 8 am and 10 pm. Players under the age of 18 won't be able to spend whatever they want.
By Charles Hymas on August 11, 2019 for The Telegraph
Instagram, Facebook and Youtube face fines of millions of pounds for showing harmful videos under the UK Government's first crackdown on social media.
By Jason Proctor for CBC News on January 29, 2020
Schools should be educating students about changes in the brain from violent videogame exposure and banning playing videogame's on school grounds.

Published on End Sexual Exploitation February 3, 2018
With more children online this potentially exposes them to increased predatory behavior. Children are at a high risk of being exposed to sexually exploitive content on SteamLearn About Parental Controls on Steam.

By Cross Country Checkuo for CBC Radio on November 9, 2019
While some experts argue that video games can release dopamine in a way similar to addictive substances, others caution that there are likely underlying mental health conditions behind those diagnosed with so-called gaming disorder.  

At-Home Learning

By Children & Screens
With COVID-19 causing widespread school closures, children are being given alternate resources, some online, to study outside of the classroom. Temporary solutions being devised for remote education range from online classroom tools like Google Classroom, to Zoom and podcasts by teachers. While parents are adjusting to this new scenario, during this time it's also important to help kids stay focused on learning and avoid overuse of games, social media, and videos.

Wireless Radiation

The 2019 EMF conference video content contains critical protocols for the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of EMF/EMR-related illnesses ideal for health care providers, first responders and others. 
As of April 24, 2020 there are now over 250,000 signatories from 214 nations & territories urgently calling for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites.

Zone'in Programs

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

Tech Talks for Therapists   - 5 hour training for educators and therapists; includes Tech Tool Kit.
Tech Talks for Families 10 half hour sessions for families on tech management; includes Tech Tool Kit.

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  www.zonein.ca/virtual-child/

BUY NOW ON Amazon.com 

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.
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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Zone'in Programs Inc. and Cris Rowan are seeking your support and assistance to ensure sustainable and productive futures for our children. Find out more about how you can help us!
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6840 Seaview Rd. Sechelt BC V0N3A4 
Tel: 1-888-896-6346
Fax: 1-877-896-6346
© Zone'in Programs Inc. 2019