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.
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.
New gun control bill in Canada doesn't go far enough in tackling disturbing trend in gun crime, critics say
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Virtual Child - The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children
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.
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.