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Neuroscience of Video Game Violence - Cells That Fire Together, Wire Together

By Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist


Every parent who has a child with an obsession or addiction to video games, is "on alert" following the recent family shooting in New Mexico where a 15 year old avid video gamer shot and killed his parents and three siblings. Many parents are reeling in shock, trying to come to terms with the recent rise in shooters who are gamers, and are asking the hard question "Do violent video games cause aggression", and more importantly, "Is my family at risk? ". At this time, looking to brain science and research is essential in order to determine a path toward safety and wellbeing, of children and their parents. This article is designed to highlight brain science and research to explain what happens to the developing brain when it is exposed to prolonged violent media content. This article also highlights a conjoin issue regarding video game play, child neglect. Video game overuse or addiction is not the problem in and of itself, but rather a symptom of something more pervasive and threatening. We have devolved to be a society addicted to technology, and as a result, are neglecting our children. The results are horrific. 

What's New

Zone'in Products, Foundation Series Workshops, Training and Consultation are evidenced by research found on the Zone'in Fact Sheet which profiles the impact of technology overuse on children. The research has been compiled topically with alphabetized researchers cataloged at the end of the Fact Sheet. Research categories are as follows: 

  1. Technology Use: usage statistics; technology addiction prevalence
  2. Physical Impairments: developmental delay; obesity, cardiovascular disorders and diabetes; movement deprivation, sensory overstimulation, elecrtromagnetic radiation, sleep disruption
  3. Mental Disorders: human detachment and mental illness; psychotropic medication, restraints, and seclusion rooms, touch deprivation, pornography and risky behavior
  4. Social Disorders: communication, aggression and declining empathy,
  5. Academic Performance: attention deficit; failure to print and illiteracy, "education" technology;
  6. Implications and Solutions: costs, technology screening an management, playgrounds as epicenter for child development and learning
Foundation Series Workshops


VancouverSutton Place Hotel - February 18, 19, 20, 2013

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Winnipeg - Fort Garry Hotel - March 18, 19, 20, 2013

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San Francisco - Location TBA - April 15, 16, 17, 2013

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 Workshop Preview     Workshop Schedule     Sample Handouts     Webinar Version
ParentsParents - Sign Up for Disconnect to Reconnect


Connection to technology is disconnecting child development and learning.


Learn how you can manage balance between
activities your children need for growth and success,
with technology use.


Only CDN $25 per person


VancouverSutton Place Hotel - Sunday February 17 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm

Download Flyer                                           Register Now               **** Deadline Jan. 31st ****


Winnipeg - Fort Garry Hotel - Sunday March 17, 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm

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San Francisco - Location TBA - Sunday April 14, 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm

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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. 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. 

Research Review

Tiny Distractions Can Double Mistakes

By Tia Ghose and Live Science for Scientific American on Jan. 22, 2013
Just a three-second distraction, such as glancing at your phone, can divert your attention and double the number of mistakes you make.

Internet Addiction Symptoms, Disordered Eating, and Body Image Avoidance

Rachel F. Rodgers, et al for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. January 2013, 16(1): 56-60.
Findings support the self-presentational theory of Internet addiction and suggest that body image avoidance is an important factor.

News Articles

Teen planned to attack Walmart after killing family

By Colleen Curry for ABC News on Jan. 22, 2013

The New Mexico teenager who used an assault rifle to kill his mother, father and younger siblings told police about his love for violent video games during the interrogation, especially Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto.


Psychiatry Has No Answer to Gun Massacres

By Peter R. Breggin, MD on December 22, 2012 for Psychiatric Drug Facts
We know exactly what happens when the government pushes mental health services, because we can examine their results. The VA, state mental hospitals, and county clinics offer little else than drugs. Or consider the scandals involved in government-run foster care where children are routinely subdued with drug cocktails.

Jury Awards $1.5 Million in Suicide Malpractice Suit
By Dr. Peter Breggin on Nov. 27, 2012 for Huffington Post
Family physician was found negligent in reportedly prescribing Paxil for 10 years to a popular high school teacher an basketball coach without seeing the patient, and then doubling the Paxil dose and adding Zyprexa by telephone, which ultimately resulted in his suicide.

Teens, Screens, and Metabolic Syndrome

By Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. on Jan. 2, 2013 for Psychology Today
Evidence suggests that screen-related activities cause stress, inflammation, and changes in blood sugar regulation, all of which contribute to risk for metabolic syndrome, a combination of conditions related to blood pressure, lipids, blood sugar regulation and obesity, that leads to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease when they occur together.

Joe Biden Meeting with Video Game Industry On Guns
Huffington Post on Jan. 11, '13
Looking for broader remedies to gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden is reaching out to the video game industry for ideas as the White House seeks to assemble proposals in response to last month's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. 

Makers of Violent Video Games Marshal Support to Fend Off Regulation

By Eric Lichtblau on Jan. 11, 2013 for the New York Times
The $60 billion industry is facing intense political pressure from an unlikely alliance of critics who say that violent imagery in video games has contributed to a culture of violence.

Now is the Time - President Obama's plan to protect children and communities by reducing gun violence

In summary 1) Closing gun background check loop holes. 2) Banning military-assault weapons. 3) Making schools safer. 4) Increasing access to mental health services.

Violent game developers are virtual child molesters, says politician

By Kevin Parrish on Jan.25, '13 for Tom's Guide
While Obama failed to address video games in his initiatives to reduce shooters, read what Missouri and Utah have done!


We're raising drug-taking, teen Rambos

By Bob Sexton For Jan. 20, 2013 for Star Tribune

A study of 14 mass shootings showed thirteen of the 14 shooters were on a psychotropic drug, such as Ritalin, Prozac, or Luvox. The article also stated that known but rare side effects of these drugs were suicidal and homicidal tendencies. 


Disney joins JAKKS, LA billionaire to bring toys to life

By Ronald Grover | Reuters - Tue, Jan 8, 2013

When a device's camera is trained on any toy specifically designed to work with DreamPlay, it triggers one of thousands of preset animations that appear on the device's screen and seem to be unfolding in the real world. Now toys are virtual.


Vancouver designer's inflatable vest helps autistic kids focus

By Erin Ellis on Jan. 20, 2013 for the Vancouver Sun

"We've used it at home and used it when we take Danny out to a restaurant, and the results are phenomenal. It calms him down, it comforts him. It's very fast-acting. He pumps it up and he feels good, and unlike medication, it doesn't have any side effects. It's wearable therapy" says David. 

Video Clips


Dr. Peter Breggin on Medication Spellbinding13 minute YouTube video by Dr. Peter Breggin, renown child psychiatrist and educator on the danger of prescribing psychotropic medication on children. 

Peter R. Breggin, MD on Antidepressants and Suicide - Congressional Testimony

26 minute YouTube video profiling Dr. Breggin's testimony to Congress revealing pharmaceutical company's hiding of negative research results regarding anti-depressants. 

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!

Zone'in Programs Inc. 2013
Tel: 1-888-896-6346
Fax: 1-877-896-6346