By Cris Rowan

The evening meal is traditionally recognized as a social occasion involving family members, a table/chairs, and a home cooked dinner. When I was a child, dinners involved my two brothers and I suffering through an hour-long event where we had to listen to my father go on and on about work issues which were totally unrelated to us. I did though look forward to our family dinner ritual where each of us got to relay one good thing and one bad thing that happened to us that day...and we weren't allowed to interrupt! Looking back now I realized how incredibly formative our dinners were in helping me learn how to listen, wait my turn, and regulate my behavior to fit into the social unit we call a family.

Effects of prenatal exposure to WIFI signal (2.45GHz) on postnatal development and behavior in rat: Influence of maternal restraint.

By H Othman, N Ammari, M Sakly, H Abdelmelek May 30, 2017 doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.03.011

Pregnant rats were randomly assigned to four groups: control, WiFi-exposed, restrained and both WiFi-exposed and restrained groups. At adult age rats co-exposed to WiFi radiation and restraint demonstrated global oxidative stress in brain as well as anxiety, motor deficit and exploratory behavior impairment. As for serum biochemistry, phosphorus, magnesium, glucose, triglycerides and calcium levels were disrupted. Taken together, prenatal WiFi radiation and restraint, alone and combined, provoked several behavioral and biochemical impairments at both juvenile and adult age of the offspring.

CAUTION - Do not use screens when pregnant or when holding or feeding infants! Their brains and bodies are undergoing rapid development and are therefore more susceptible to radiation.

Coming Soon!

Balanced Technology Management Certification
BTM Champion Status Seal

Cris Rowan is creating an online training certification in Balanced Technology
Management (BTM) for parents, teachers and clinicians. Parents will be certified BTM Advisors, teachers certified BTM Facilitators, and clinicians certified BTM Instructors.

We'll keep you posted!

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

March 1, 2019 - Winnipeg, MB
Workshop for parents and professionals on impact of technology on children sponsored by Alloway Therapy.
Contact person: Patti Sutherland,, 204-296-3338

April 17, 2019 - Prince Rupert, BC
Evening workshop for parents on impact of screens on children sponsored by Prince Rupert School District No 52.
Contact person: Johanna Larson,

April 18, 2019 - Prince Rupert, BC
Workshop on impact of screens on children  sponsored by Prince Rupert School District No 52.
Contact person: Johanna Larson,

July 20, 2019 - San Diego, California
Presentation on impact of technology on brain/body physiology to teens attending Camp Unplugged sponsored by Palomar Christian Conference Center.
Contact person: Christie Walsh,(858) 225-8535 

Other Workshops & Webinars

Families Managing Media 2018
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 Elias Aboujaoude
Writing, reading, focusing, and remembering have all been transformed in ways we don't yet fully understand. 

By Emily Tate November 8, 2018
A new report authored by an analytics expert at the University of Pennsylvania and commissioned by BrightBytes, found that most education apps have no bearing on student performance, regardless of how often students use them.

By Sean Coughlan October 30
A professor of surgery says students have spent so much time in front of screens and so little time using their hands that they have lost the dexterity for stitching or sewing up patients.

By Jenny Anderson 
By Kentara Toyama June 3, 2015.
To wonder what ails American education is to open a Pandora's box of wicked problems ... but the problem is definitely not a lack of computers.

By Nellie Bowles October 26, 2018
America's public schools are still promoting devices with screens - even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether.

Curmudgucation October 2018
Article reviewing "  Show What You Know: A Landscape Analysis of Competency-Based Education " a report commission by XQ and produced by Getting Smart.

By J E Donnelly, C H Hillman, D L Castelli, J N Etnier, S Lee, P Tomporowski, A Szabo-Reed Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2016 48(6), 1223-1224
The relationship among physical activity (PA), fitness, cognitive function, and academic achievement in children is receiving considerable attention. The utility of PA to improve cognition and academic achievement is promising but uncertain; thus, this position stand will provide clarity from the available science.

By  R E Rhodes, C Lim Health Education & Behavior, 45(1), 112-123 February 2018 doi: 10.1177/1090198117704266 
The results showed that behavioral beliefs about health, interpersonal and educational/learning opportunities and control beliefs about lack of time, various incompatible parent/child factors, parental health, and bad weather were dominant themes. 

By K L Frohlich, S A Alexander, C Fusco November 14, 2012 
Social Theory & Health, 11(1), 1-18. 2048/10.1057/sth.2012.18

A high value is attributed to playing, particularly for its role in children's development, health and well-being. There is a recent awareness, however, that the way children play has changed considerably over the last few decades with a decline in 'free-play' documented. In response, there has been a call to resurrect free-play.

By J Wyszyńska, J Podgórska-Bednarz, K Dereń, A Mazur October 23, 2017. BioMed Research International, 2017, 1-8.  
Play is viewed as an important occupation in childhood and consequently in children's occupational therapy. However, few studies have explored the place of play in therapy practice. This study aimed to contribute to this knowledge gap by exploring play in occupational therapy in three European countries.

By T Skrede, M Stavnsbo, E Aadland, K Aadland, S Anderssen, G Resaland, U Ekelund, April 5, 2017 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(6), 1391-1398.
Physical activity, but not sedentary time, is prospectively associated with cardiometabolic risk in healthy children. Public health strategies aimed at improving children's cardiometabolic profile should strive for increasing physical activity of at least moderate intensity rather than reducing sedentary time.

This webpage was created by Cindy Eckard, the driving force behind Maryland's and the nation's first classroom screen safety legislation. Cindy focused much of her persuasive effort on the duty of care parents and teachers have toward children, and therefore focused on these very well-documented eye risks.

This article, by Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D., Action Network Advisory Board Member and the author of  Reset Your Child's Brain , is summary of brain research related to screen use.

This article, published in the Oct. 29, 2018 issue of Time, summarizes a large, population-based study by Jean Twenge showing strong associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents.

By Alan Mozes November 26, 2018
The survey asked parents of more than 43,000 children between the ages of 3 and 17 whether or not their children had ever been diagnosed with  autism  or an  autism spectrum disorder  (ASD), and  whether the child in question still struggled with an ASD.

Education Technology
This useful tool, created by the psychologist Richard Freed, author of  The Wired Child , (and CSTAN advisory board member) deals with the false facts and myths surrounding children's screen use. All of its claims are backed by research citations.

This thorough, well-written 2016 research paper by Working Group member Katie Talarico, MEd, and Christina Chu, MD, summarizes many of the health, mental health, privacy, and pedagogical issues associated with 1:1 programs.  With extensive citations, it's especially useful for skeptical audiences. The summary version is also extremely useful.

Group member Katie Talarico, working with Adrienne Principe of Concord Promise, also created this concise research summary (with links!) focused on children's and teens' overuse of cell phones. This three-pager could also be used in any context where evidence-backed arguments would come in handy!

This excellent PowerPoint presentation, created by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters for the October, 2018, NPE Conference, provides a comprehensive overview that might well be used in teacher and/or parent/teacher presentations.

This article from Dec. 2017, by Diane Ravitch of the Network for Public Education (NPE), summarizes many of the reasons Ed Tech is a threat to teachers and public education, primarily, as well as students. Note, however, it does not address many of the health issues for children.

This 55-page(!) tool kit, created by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Badass Teachers Association, is a comprehensive guide to help teachers understand the increased threats to education-related data made worse by the rapid adoption of education technology.

This is the conclusions section of a full report examining the Ed Tech industry, issued in 2017 by National Education Policy Center (NEPC). It is co-authored by Faith Boninger, a Working Group member. The  full report  is also available.

By Rob Waters, November 9, 2018
Combining education and technology is great-until it's not.

By Paige Leskin November 12, 2018

High school students at Brooklyn's Secondary School for Journalism staged a walkout last week to protest perceived "wrongdoings" at the school, which include the use of an online curriculum called "Summit Learning" that stresses independent learning.


Social Media, Internet & Mobile Technology

Why do kids struggle to look up from devices? The answer is persuasive design.

By Away For The Day
Cell phone policies from schools around the country to help you create the right policy for your school.

Research shows that middle schoolers do better with phones away during school hours. This movement is giving you-parents, teachers, school leaders, and concerned individuals-tools so that you can go to your school and help institute policies where phones are put away.

By Markham Heid Octo ber 29, 2018 Issue
Young people who spend seven hours or more a day on screens are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety than those who use screens for an hour a day, finds a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports.

By Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell November, 2018
More hours of screen time are associated with lower well-being in ages 2 to 17. High users show less curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability. Twice as many high (vs. low) users of screens had an anxiety or depression diagnosis.

By Susan Linn November 4, 2018
Rogers was one of few children's media personalities who refused to exploit kids for profit.
Writer James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue.

Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens. That child care contracts now demand that nannies hide phones, tablets, computers and TVs from their charges.

Video Games & Pornography

By D Vidaña-Pérez, A Braverman-Bronstein, A Basto-Abreu, I Barrientos-Gutierrez, R Hilscher, T Barrientos-Gutierrez June 15, 2018 doi: 10.1071/SH17017.
Over the last 20 years, the prevalence of sexual content has increased in video games with a 'Teen' or 'Mature' rating. Further studies are needed to quantify the potential association between sexual content in video games and sexual behaviour in children and adolescents.

By Ashley Voss, Hilarie Cash, Sean Hurdiss, Frank Bishop, Warren P. Klam, and Andrew P. Doan September 3, 2015
Although the patient in this case eventually overcame his gaming disorder, he still struggled to engage in meaningful romantic relationships and instead used pornography as a sexual outlet.l

By Frannie Ucciferri November 2, 2018
The popular game has become an easy way for scammers to trick kids into sharing way too much information

By Elysha Enos November 7, 2018 
Police urge parents to talk online privacy with their kids after 4 cases of sextortion reported

By Anya Kamenetz November 5, 2018
Today  it's much more common for extremists to initially reach out online. And that includes over kids' headsets during video games. 

By Georgina Mitchell November 6, 2018
Daniel Chapman, 22, was playing on his computer at about 8.30pm on October 2, 2016 when he told his parents he couldn't come to dinner because he was in the middle of a game.

Child & Youth Addictions

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings is tightening checks on the age of people playing online games, as China tries to tackle gaming addiction.

To Cam,  the word "addiction" explains his relationship to games: obsession, withdrawal, compulsion, lying, a total shift of values.

By B Q Wang, N Q Yao, X Zhou,  J Liu, Z T Lv July 19, 2017 BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Jul 19;17(1):260. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1408-x.
A moderate association between IA and ADHD was found. Individuals with IA were associated with more severe symptoms of ADHD, including the combined total symptom score, inattention score and hyperactivity/impulsivity score.

Researchers found children were increasingly making wagers with friends at school or gambling online at home. More than 70,000 teenagers are classed as problem gamblers, with 55,000 more at risk of becoming addicted.

Wireless Radiation

By Physicians for Safe Technology
Source for links on Wi-Fi radiation effects on humans, plants and bacteria.

YouTube Video Published August 30, 2018
30 min. video of Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe, Founder of Physicians' Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment and Trustee Radiation Research Trust speaking at Oct. 9, 2018 UK Childhood Cancer Conference on wireless radiation and childhood disease.

Children's Screen Time Action Network - Newsletter

The Atlantic
Reasons to read:  Not only do toy libraries bring communities together and democratize imaginative, social play, but they reduce the risk of Lego-induced foot pain in the the home.  

Reasons to read: An important new study has illustrated causation between reduced social media use and increased wellbeing. 

The Atlantic
Reasons to read: When students are given tablets as teachers under the guise of "personalized learning," it prevents kids from developing the essential social skills that form such an important part of early learning.

Children's Screen Time Action Network & Defending the Early Years
Reasons to read: In our most recent Action Network webinar, Dr. Carlsson-Paige provided insight into the effects of screen time on kids using impactful real-life examples. Once you've watched the webinar, read her new parent guide here!    

Buzzfeed News
Reasons to read: An important new study has found that the most popular apps for preschoolers are so overrun with ads that it completely disrupts the play experience. CCFC is leading a coalition of 22 advocacy groups asking the FTC to investigate the deceptive and manipulative advertising present in kids' apps on the Google Play store.

The Atlantic
Reasons to read: Last week's New York Times article on the digital gap between low-income and wealthy kids exposed how marginalized kids are facing hours more screen time than their wealthy peers. Here, read about how required screen time for homework leaves behind low-income students. 
Psychology Today
Reasons to read: Action Network members Drs. Meghan Owenz and Richard Freed write about the persuasive design techniques employed by tech companies to keep kids on ad-supported screens. Once you've read their piece, join our campaign! 
Science Daily
Reasons to read: A new study has linked increased screen time with decreased mental health in kids and teens. 
New York Times
Reasons to listen: As we saw above, more screen time results in more problems for kids. And in Silicon Valley, the same people who helped proliferate this tech have now concluded that it's not suitable for their own children. As one former Facebook employee put it, "I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children ." 

New York Times
Reasons to read: This shocking inside look at Facebook is further proof that Big Tech is operating with profits, not people, in mind.

Reasons to listen: In one Irish community, a school-sponsored family pledge against sole ownership of smartphones for kids has become widespread.

The Guardian
Reasons to read: A minister in the UK is telling parents to put down their phones and focus on screenless time with their kids.

The Guardian
Reasons to watch: Experts are telling parents to get their kids outside in order to decrease the risk of myopia. Worldwide, cases of nearsightedness are on the rise, and increased screen time at the expense of outdoor play might be a factor.

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. 2018