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Gunner, Gamer or Shooter - Which one can be controlled?

By Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist

Hearts everywhere go out to families and friends of victims of the mass killing at Sandy Hook School. Bewildered as to why the shooter did such a heinous crime, society is quick to assign blame to poor gun control or too much video gaming, without really giving any consideration to the profound complexity of this issue. Clearly the shooter is the problem, not guns or video games, and determining causal factors is not black and white. Obsession with guns, or compulsive use of video games, are not problems in and of themselves, but should be looked upon as symptoms of underlying problems, which deserve careful examination. If parents, education and health professionals better understood some of the problems that cause children or youth to develop unhealthy attachments to guns or video games, they could intervene in a preventative manner, and stop a "gunner" or a "gamer" from turning into a "shooter". Trying to control guns or video games to stop shooters, is only looking at the tip of a very large iceberg, one that is growing incrementally. 

Cris in the News


CBC's BC Almanac interview with Mark Forsythe about the impact of technology on the developing child on Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM PST.

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Part I of II 67 minute webinar "When is tech too much for your child" sponsored by Scholars Choice featuring Cris Rowan.

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Upcoming Foundation Series Workshops


One in three children enter school developmentally vulnerable, one in four are obese, and one in six have a diagnosed mental illness. For parents, health and education professionals, the Foundation Series Workshops provide research referenced information, tools and techniques to enhance child development and learning. Give your child and school the edge they need to grow and succeed!


Vancouver - Marriot Hotel - February 18, 19, 20, 2013

Winnipeg - Fairfield Inn - March 18, 19, 20, 2013

San Francisco - Bentley Reserve - April 15, 16, 17, 2013



Zone'in Products

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


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.


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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.


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. 


Multiple media use tied to depression, anxiety

On December 4, 2012 for Michagan State University News

Using multiple forms of media at the same time - such as playing a computer game while watching TV - is linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression, scientists have found for the first time.


Mirrored morality: an exploration of moral choice in video games

By Weaver AJ et al on November 15, 2012 for Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking

The majority of players made moral decisions and behaved toward the nonplayer game characters they encountered as if these were actual interpersonal interactions.


'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America

By Lisa Long on Dec. 16, 2012 for Huffington Post Parents

Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says "It's easy to talk about guns, but it's time to talk about mental illness" as she relays her own struggles with her son who has a mental illness and is violent.


On December 17, 2012 for Game Politics

Researchers from Ohio State University concluded that those "people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played" while "those who played non-violent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period."


Day of ceasefire for online shooters - Dec. 21, 2012

Antwand Pearman who runs GamerFitNation, proposed a demonstration of peace he calls the "Day of Ceasefire for online Shooters" On December 21, for 24 hours, Antwand is calling on his fellow gamers to cease playing online shooter games to show "that we as gamers give a damn".


Students and Video Game Addiction

On December 13, 2012 for Inside Higher Ed

In one of the most authoritative studies, a longitudinal study of 3,000 third- through eighth-graders in Singapore, researchers from Iowa State University and elsewhere found 9 percent of gamers to be "pathological," meaning that their gaming damaged multiple parts of their lives, including school performance. 


Residential center for internet addiction sees big demand

On November 13, 2012 for Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire

In what is probably the biggest evidence yet that the Net addiction therapeutic specialty has arrived is that there is now a residential center devoted exclusively to treating the affliction that, by all accounts, is growing by leaps and bounds.


Internet Addiction: The new mental health disorder

By Dr. Mercola on November 24, 2012 for 

"Internet use disorder" will be recommended as an area that needs further study in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM), which means it may become an actual mental health disorder very soon.

Film Clips


TED Talks - Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games

How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.


Violent video games and the Tetris effect

Dr. Andrew Doan reports that playing social games promotes social behaviour, and playing anti-social games promotes anti-social behaviour.


Violent video games promotes violent thoughts and school shootings

Dr. Andrew Doan reports that repeated exposure to violent media content desensitizes children to violence.


CBCs The National - Desperate Choices

Coverage of one parent's tough decision regarding attaining a future for her developmentally disabled daughter.  

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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!

Zone'in Programs Inc. 2012
Tel: 1-888-896-6346
Fax: 1-877-896-6346