By Cris Rowan

Increased use of cell phones and tablets in schools has reached a point of 'no return', as evidenced by education government's refusal to fund books. While parents like to think these devices are being used for educational purposes, quite often they are on social media or playing video games. Teens now log in an average of 9 hours per day of entertainment technologies at home, and then continue this mindless entertainment at school. Student gamers who arrive at school late, or not at all because of late night gaming, are generally unmotivated, sleep deprived, and attention deficit. Engaging these "gamer brains" has become a far-reaching and often desperate challenge for many teachers. Technology management policy in schools is either non-existent or grossly inconsistent between teachers, allowing students to do whatever they please with their devices. Defiance of authority is now endemic in schools, leaving teachers to increasingly barter school work for screen time. While using screens as a reward for work might provide 'short term gain', the 'long term pain' is dubious and can prove to be potentially harmful.

Tech Giants Target Children
In December, Facebook released Messenger Kids, the first major social network designed specifically for children under 13. Commercial Free Childhood has organized a letter to Mark Zuckerberg which details the growing body of research showing that excessive social media use is harmful to adolescents, and the dangers of indoctrinating even younger children into social media use.  There is no age restriction for Messenger Kids, and its design is clearly meant to appeal to kids as young as four or five years old. Facebook claims that Messenger Kids will provide a safe alternative for the children who have lied their way onto social media platforms designed for teens and adults. But the 11- and 12-year-olds who currently use Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook are unlikely to switch to an app that is clearly designed for younger children. Messenger Kids is not responding to a need - it's creating one. It will appeal primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts. Given Facebook's enormous reach and marketing prowess, Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children.

Cris Rowan from Zone'in Programs Inc. joins Commercial Free Childhood in signing the petition to oppose Facebook targeting of children in launching Messenger Kids.

Click here to see the letter from Commercial Free Childhood to Mark Zuckerberg.

Click here to sign our petition to show your support in opposing Facebook's Messenger Kids.

WHO - Gaming Addiction is a mental illness!

The World Health Organization has moved to classify video game addiction as a mental illness, opening the doors to treatment.  Its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition "gaming disorder".

The draft document describes it as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes "precedence over other life interests".

Cris in the News

Are Our Kids Becoming Too Sedentary?

Cris Rowan, Zone'in was interviewed on The Shift With Drex. Cris gives an explanation of how the brain is being rewired, in what she call Gamer Brain, which explains increased attention deficit, impulse control, aggression, learning difficulties etc and paves the way for understanding increased defiance in school settings.

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

April 20, 2018 - Boston, Massachusetts
Cris will be presenting workshop on impact of technology on children at Children's Screen Time Network international conference.
Contact person: Jean Rogers, 617-896-9377,
May 8, 2018 Winnipeg, Manitoba
Workshop for early childhood educators and health professionals on impact of technology on children sponsored by Healthy Child Manitoba.
Contact person:  Shannon Dennehy, 204-945-3610,   Shannon

October 15-18, 2018 - Long Island, New York
Digital Media and Developing Minds - second national congress and Exposition by  Children AND Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development and Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory.

November 15 and 17, 2018 - Maple Ridge, BC
Workshops for early childhood educators and health professionals on impact of technology on children sponsored by Ridge Meadows Early Child Development Committee.
Contact person: Roberta O'Brien, 604-467-6055,

Other Workshops

Families Managing Media 2017
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.

Dr Nan Stevens Research On The Zone'in Program

Dr. Nan Stevens, a teacher educator at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC is presently conducting an action-based research study with two intermediate teachers in the Kamloops-Thompson School District (SD#73). 


To find out more about Zone'in Programs and the products we offer click here.

Students making sensory items including Squish Balls and Lavender Bottles


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Research and News Review
Childhood Development
YouTube Video by Real Battle Ministries December 9, 2017
Facebook LIVE Webcast for members of the Ophthalmic Photography Society on December 8, 2017.

By Pam A. Mueller, Daniel M. Oppenheimer First published April 23, 2014
In three studies, the researchers found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand.

CBS Video April 24, 2015
Special standing desks installed at a San Rafael elementary school are getting rave reviews from teachers, parents and students. John Ramos reports.

NBC News Video October 22, 2015
Students at Vallecito Elementary in Northern California are taking a stand, getting rid of their old desks for taller ones that include a nifty feature for fidgety kids.

CNN Video December 9, 2015
An Alexandria, Virginia, school adds standing desks to its middle school classrooms to improve students' focus and increase their physical activity. CNN's Kelly Wallace reports.

By Erik Pepper November 25, 2017
Participants found it much easier to recall/access negative memories in the collapsed position than in the erect position and conversely it was easier to recall/access positive images in the erect position. Thus, posture awareness and posture change should be incorporated in prevention and treatment of depression.

Social Media, Internet & Mobile Technology

By David Benoit January 7, 2018
Two activist shareholders want Apple to develop tools and research effects on young people of smartphone overuse and addiction.

By Laurel Wamsley December 12, 2017
The country's education minister said he will tighten the ban on phones for elementary and secondary school students, except for educational purposes and emergencies.

By Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten W. Bos April 3, 2017
In this research, They test the "brain drain" hypothesis that the mere presence of one's own smartphone may occupy limited-capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance.

Video by CBC Marketplace, March 24, 2017
As new science fuels the debate about cellphone safety, we take a closer look at a little known message inside your cellphone's settings and manual telling you to keep the device 5 to 15 mm away from your body. CBC asks why this message exists, why it's so hidden, and whether Health Canada is doing enough to protect us.

BBC News November 16, 2017
A Canadian man took distracted driving to a new level by setting up his own entertainment system on his steering wheel with string.

By Delaney Ruston MD December 5, 2017
Concerns discussed over AI devices in homes such as Amazon's Alexa and Echo, and Google Home particularly regarding very young people.

By Victoria L Dunkley M.D. November 24, 2017
Screen Time Side Effects: Are your children are experiencing electronics-related symptoms that mimic mental health. learning, and behavior issues? Take this quiz.

By Jean Twenge November 14, 2017
Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens. What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? Click Here to link to Research Article.

By Katherine Sellgren BBC News, December 28, 2017
Playing on electronic devices certainly doesn't help their waistlines, but do you ever wonder what regular device use is doing to their eyesight?

Video Games & Pornography

Published by Fight The New Drug September 20,2017
Convictions of rape by those aged under 17 years old have almost doubled in just four years in the UK, extreme pornography is fueling this alarming rise in the number of child rapists.

By Rebecca Robbins December 4, 2017
Akili Interactive Labs plans next year to file for approval with the Food and Drug Administration. Do data is available to confirm or collaborate this claim.
By Katherine Cross October 25, 2017
Loot boxes and the way they run dangerously close to a gambling mechanic in mainstream games.

By Nate Church November 30, 2017
"the ideal solution would be for the game industry to stop having gambling or gambling-like mechanics in games that are marketed to kids."

By Nick Statt December 29, 2017
A feud between two Call of Duty players led to the death of a 28-year-old Kansas man, who was shot and killed by police after a fraudulent 911 call sent a SWAT team to the man's private home. 

Child & Youth Addictions
By Peter Hess November 30, 2017
A new paper presented by a team of radiologists at Korea University report smart phone addiction changes teenagers brains. This article suggests that the evidence doesn't hold up and more research is need.

By Paul Lewis November 19, 2017
Justin Rosenstein imposes limits on his use of Facebook, particularly the allure of "likes" which he describes as hollow as they are seductive. He should know, as he was the Google Engineer who created the Like button in the first place.

By Aishwarya Kumar December 13, 2017
The alarming aspect of the double murders is, however, the fact that the boy was addicted to an online game, 'Gangster in High School', that challenged the players to kill and get away with it.

Radiological Society of North America November 30, 2017
Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet.

By A Torres-Rodr√≠guez, M D Griffiths, X Carbonell, N Farriols-Hernando, E Torres-Jimenez December 5, 2017
Research examining Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) has grown markedly in recent years. However, research on its psychological treatment is still scarce, especially with respect to efficacy of specific programs.

Wireless Radiation

National Toxicology Program, May 27, 2016
In 2016 FDA's National Toxicology Program released preliminary findings from $25 million study showing brain and testicular tumors in male mice and rats from low level exposure to cell phone radiation.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) December 13, 2017
California released warning not to carry cell phones in pockets, put close to face, or sleep with next to bed.

By Katie Singer December 4, 2017
Introductory-level resources for concerned citizens who want to get informed.
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.
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.

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. 

Care to Donate?
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!
Contact Us
6840 Seaview Rd. Sechelt BC V0N3A4 
Tel: 1-888-896-6346
Fax: 1-877-896-6346
© Zone'in Programs Inc. 2017