By Cris Rowan

Video games are a ubiquitous form of entertainment in today's children and youth, and while fun and exciting, video games have a dark side that parents, teachers and clinicians can no longer afford to ignore. The recent rise in mass killings by gun, knife and moving vehicles, has wrongly focused on gangs and gun control as a primary intervention. Society would be wise to shift attention toward understanding the underlying components of a mass killer. While there are likely multiple factors contributing to the origins of mass killers, we do know that all shooters are gamers, and that gangs use video games to practice the art of shooting. Immersion in a virtual reality of violence has profound impact on developing brains, highlighting the urgency in looking at what type and how much violent media our children are exposed to, and at what age. Regarding brain and body development, what children do determines who they become. Children who excessively engage in mindless, fast paced, violent media content, will have a much different brain and body than a child who plays outside in nature. The new generation video games contain substantial amounts of increasingly realistic representations of physical and sexualized violence. The mature nature of such games is not suitable for children under the age of eighteen, yet many children I work with are playing violent, mature content as young as age 3.Managing video game use by children is not easy, but well worth considering with reference to the negative ramifications of gaming overuse on child health and wellness. Three parameters are important to consider in video game management: duration, content, and age of first exposure. Children who start gaming later in childhood, and who follow expert guidelines for game duration and content (see below), will demonstrate less negative effects. Whereas children who play fast paced, violent video games for long periods, and who start gaming as a young child, will exhibit a greater number of below noted negative effects. It is advised that children who experience 3 or more of the following escalating conditions should work with their parents, physician and/or therapist to reduce video game duration, change to non-violent content, and quit violent gaming altogether if < 12 years of age. This is a hard step for most parents to take, and an even harder step for parents with children exhibiting adverse effects of video games. Parents cannot continue to look away from these potential or real problems in their children. What we resists, persists; what we look at, disappears. 

Cris in the News

Child Disrupted - World Premier
Thursday August 30, 2018 @ CAIFF

As a society, are we in danger of raising a generation of children disrupted by the overuse of technology?

Child, Disrupted is a short documentary film that explores the effects of technology on children's development. Through interviews with experts including Cris Rowan in the fields of neurological development, occupational therapy, addiction, psychology, and sociology, we uncover the reality behind our fears about the effects of screen time on children.

Is gun control really going to curb mass killings?

In the wake of yet another mass killing, this time in Toronto, Canada, is gun control really going to curb mass killings, or are there other fundamental causes that need to be addressed including mental illness and video games.
Published on June 2018
Cris Rowan's article is used to show a direct link between violent media content and aggressive behavior. Click  here to see the original article.

Can Video Games Cause Violence?
By Romeo Vitelle Psychology Today Apr 01,2013
What does a 2011 Supreme Court ruling mean for psychological research?

By 2018
Charts and graphs with information about US video gamers, their age, demographics etc, video game sales and crime rates.

By Meghan Keneally May 22, 2018
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick argues that violent video games have created young people who are "desensitized to violence.".

By Sherry Noik CBC News July 26, 2018
Toronto's Danforth mass shooting revives questions about mental illness and violence.

By Mark Gollom CBC News July 25. 2018
Dr. William Reid talks about his interviews with James Holmes, a series of sessions spanning about 24 hours.

By Dan Taekema CBC News July 7, 2018
Jon Styres's widow wants to know if the Canadian military trains its reserves to shoot to kill, even in civilian situations similar to the one that led, in 2016, to her spouse's death.

By John Paul Tasker CBC News July 5, 2018
New gun control bill in Canada doesn't go far enough in tackling disturbing trend in gun crime, critics say

Coming Soon!

BTM Champion Status Seal
BTM Online Training Certification

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!

Children's Screen Time Action Network

Children's Screen Time Action Network Conference - April 2018

Videos are online from the very first conference on reducing children's screen time which took place on April 20 and 21 in Boston! Watch keynote addresses--  by Doug Gentile, Matt Miles & Joe Clement, Richard Freed, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Victoria Dunckley- and breakout sessions addressing popular topics like persuasive design, screens in schools, young children and screen time, and more.

Click here to see interactive schedule, with links to all speaker slides and handouts.

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

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,

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,

Other Workshops

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.

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Visit our blog
Research and News Review
Childhood Development

Website launched July 21, 2018
There is an overwhelming amount of research that shows us how important it is to connect to nature, and disconnect from screens. We started #healthybynature because we know how challenging it can be to get outside & unplugged. We want to help make it easier to get outside, and share experiences with other moms, kids & families!

By Erik Peper, Richard Harvey, Lauren Mason, and I-Mei Lin
When students anticipate that they will perform poorly on exams or class presentations, they often slouch or collapse their posture, coincident with feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and defeat. This posture decreases the students' self-esteem, mood and cognitive performance.

By Kas Roussy CBC News  

Social Media, Internet & Mobile Technology

YouTube video December 12, 2016
Author and TED speaker Simon Sinek talks with Tom Bilyeu on Inside Quest about millennials and how addiction to technology is leading to addiction and costing them relationships, jobs and personal satisfaction.

By Annamarya Scaccia July 6, 2018
A recent study published in the journal Pediatric Research found that "technoference" - the term for excessive tech use that interrupts parent-child interactions - can cause poor behavior in kids.

By Charles Hymas July 5, 2018
The research involving almost 200 families found that children whose parents were addicted to their phones were significantly more likely to have behaviour problems.

Editorial by Canindia News Online July 6, 2018
In most cases, if not all of them, there is no pressing need to check or forward phone messages while at social engagements or when spending time with family.

By Hilary Andersson, BBC Panorama July 4, 2018
Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter make sure their platforms are designed to get users addicted to what they have to offer, Silicon Valley insiders have told the BBC.

By Simi Bassi & Joyita Sengupta CBC News
By Matthew Braga CBC News June 22, 2018
Messenger Kids took feedback from parents and experts, says Facebook, but critics argue children aren't ready.

Video Games & Pornography

By Caitlin Gibson December 7, 2016
Video games are more addictive than ever. This is what happens when kids can't turn them off.

By Annie Rueter July 14, 2018
The World Health Organization added "gaming disorder" last month to its 11th International Classification of Diseases, but for most professional video gamers and esports players, it's no big concern.

By Angela Murphy June 28, 2018
Occupational therapists like Cris Rowan are concerned about the effects of all of our technology on brain and social development in our kids.  She cites some red flags for overuse that all parents should be aware.

By Angela Murphy July 4, 2018
Reflective thinking can create the change we need.  Angela Murphy uses Cris Rowan's 10 Steps to Unplug Kids to give  some critical tips on how to re-connect with your children.

By Christa Melnyk Hines Jul/Aug 2018 edition of Vibrant Life
How video games affect a child's brain and behavior.

By Joseph Bien-Kahn June 30, 2018
The thriving erotic-gaming industry that originated in Japan is now going global.

By Ramona Pringle CBC News
CBS News May 31, 2018
Many of the tech titans choose to power down when they leave the office, following industry giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who restricted their own kids' access to technology at home.

By Steve Warren June 9, 2018
"It has been so good for my mental health," Cowell told the paper. "It's a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made me happier."
University of Tasmania 
Video game 'loot boxes' are psychologically akin to gambling, especially for adolescent gamers, new University of Tasmania research has revealed.

By Charles Hymas July 5, 2018
The UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Children (NSPCC) has campaigned for years, for the social networking companies to design safety into their businesses such as simple technical blocks to prevent sexual predators finding children's location, sending out mass friends requests to entrap them or invading their privacy.

Child & Youth Addictions

By Allan Adamson June 22, 2018
Research has shown that excessive gambling can have the same effect on the brain as addiction, and  excessive video gaming  may have the same effect.

The UK's NHS is set to fund an internet addiction centre - with a focus on gaming disorders. It will offer treatment and advice to families as well as conduct research.

Don't let your apps, games, and smartphone control you. Once you understand what's happening in your brain while you use technology, you can do something about it.

By Tanner Dedmon June 9, 2018
Playing Fortnite  too often has reportedly gone too far for one player with reports emerging that a nine-year-old girl has entered rehab due to her gaming addiction.

Wireless Radiation

BC Centre for Diease Control Prepared April 14, 2016
The use of RF-emitting devices has increased dramatically over the years with the evolution of wireless technologies. This review looks at the physics of RF; exposure limits; the effect of exposure to RF and suggestions to reduce persona exposures to RF.

YouTube video July 15, 2018
A video to share to help educate your own schools, town managers, boards of health, librarians, senators and state representative. Most simply have no idea wireless is toxic.

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