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Tech Diet - Four Tech Tools To Help "Tech Fat" Families Reduce The Use Of Technology

By Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Tech Diet 
While the benefit of technology is obvious, inherent risks of technology overuse by young children are unrecognized and largely ignored. The virtual world is devoid of touch, movement, human connection, and nature - four critical elements for child development and learning.  One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, one in four are obese, one in six have a diagnosed mental illness, and one in ten are addicted to video games and/or pornography. Child aggression and sexual violence is problematic, resulting in some countries restricting access to video games and pornography e.g. Iceland proposing a ban on internet porn. Sedentary, isolated, overstimulated, and neglected, the new millennium child is struggling to survive, and child sustainability is now in question. Health and education professionals are positioned to provide early detection and intervention for children and families struggling with technology addiction. This article is designed to offer helpful tools for professionals to help with early identification and treatment of family technology addictions.

Research Review

By Lindsay T. Graham and Samuel D. Gosling for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking on Feb. 25, '13 doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0090.

Results reveal several links between a player's personality and gaming motivations. For instance, individuals playing to socialize tend to be high on extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness, whereas individuals playing to gain a sense of achievement tend to be high on extraversion and neuroticism, but low on agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Prevalence and Patterns of Sexting Among Ethnic Minority Urban High School Students  

By Melissa Fleschler Peskin et al on Feb. 25, '13 for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0452.
20% of students reported sending a nude or semi-nude picture or video or a sexual text message-any one of these considered a "sext"-and more than 30% reported receiving a sext.

The Problematic Internet Entertainment Use Scale for Adolescents: Prevalence of Problem Internet Use in Spanish High School Students

By Olatz Lopez-Fernandez et al for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. February 2013, 16(2)
Self-administered scale rapidly measures the presence of symptoms of behavioral addiction to online videogames and social networking sites, as well as their degree of severity. The results estimate the prevalence of this problematic behavior in Spanish adolescents to be around 5 percent.

Anger on the Internet: The Perceived Value of Rant-Sites

By Ryan C. Martin et al for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking on February 2013, 16(2): 119-122

Study 1 surveyed rant-site visitors to better understand the perceived value of the Web sites and found that while they become relaxed immediately after posting, they also experience more anger than most and express their anger in maladaptive ways. Study 2 explored the emotional impact of reading and writing rants and found that for most participants, reading and writing rants were associated with negative shifts in mood.


Media Multitasking Is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety

By Mark W. Becker et al for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking on February 2013, 16(2): 132-135
The unique association between media multitasking and these measures of psychosocial dysfunction suggests that the growing trend of multitasking with media may represent a unique risk factor for mental health problems related to mood and anxiety.

Impact and cost-effectiveness of family Fitness Zones: a natural experiment in urban public parks. 

By Cohen DA et al for Health Place on 2012 Jan;18(1):39-45.

Installing Fitness Zones appears to be cost-effective (10.5 cents/MET increase) and most successful in parks in densely populated areas with limited facilities. Longer-term follow-up measures are needed to determine if the early increases in physical activity associated with the Fitness Zone installations are sustained.


Autism spectrum disorders in the DSM-V: Better or worse than the DSM-IV?

By Lorna Wing et al for Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol 32 (2) 768-773

Authors believe that the DSM-committee has overlooked a number of important issues, including social imagination, diagnosis in infancy and adulthood, and the possibility that girls and women with autism may continue to go unrecognised or misdiagnosed under the new manual.

News Articles

Iceland Set to Block Internet Porn Over Safety Concerns for Children

February 14, 2013 By Kathryn DeHoyos for The Goodmen Project
Two years after the Icelandic Parliament successfully banned strip clubs, based on "the grounds that they violated the civil rights of the women who worked there and were harmful to society," the island nation may become the first Western democratic nation to outlaw internet porn. Concerns over the potentially harmful effect of internet porn on children were first brought to the government's attention in 2010 after a nationwide inquiry and "wide-ranging consultation process" was undertaken to focus on how rape and sexual assault cases are handled in the Icelandic justice system. The investigation found that children exposed to violent pornography at an early age were showing the similar signs of trauma as youngsters who had been actually abused, including becoming increasingly isolated and playing out what they had seen on the internet on younger family members or peers.


By Ned Hepburn for The Week on January 24, 2013

"The vast majority of the American population is mildly addicted to technology"


By Ollie John for Time - Health and Family on Feb. 19, '13

A new study carried out by researchers at Swansea and Milan Universities shows that when heavy Internet users go offline, they undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by drug users.


Newtown shooter Lanza had Sensory Processing Disorder

From the time he was little, Adam Lanza couldn't bear to be touched. By middle school, the chaos and noise of large, bustling classrooms began to upset him. At 20, just before the Newtown shootings, he was isolated and, the world would later learn, disturbed.


By Rick Nauert, PhD and Senior Editor at PsychCentral on Feb. 19, '13
Study found that the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 percent with every hour that children spent watching TV on an average weeknight. The study also found that watching more television in childhood was associated, in adulthood, with aggressive personality traits, an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, and an increased risk of antisocial personality disorder, which is characterized by persistent patterns of aggressive and antisocial behavior.


Plan to tackle Internet addiction

By Cao Yin and Luo Wangshu on Feb. 22, '13 for China Daily
Fifteen authorities in China, including the Ministry of Culture and the State Internet Information Office, announced a basic framework on Sunday to tackle the growing problems associated with technology addiction, including defining what makes an addict, and then development of effective interventions.


Videogames: The good, the bad, and the ugly

By Bill Ferguson, Games for Health Journal, February 2013, 2(1): 1-2. doi:10.1089/g4h.2013.1015
Editorial on the impact of violent video games on aggression. Cosette Dawna Rae. MSW, LSWAIC with ReSTART Internet Addiction Recovery responds: In this article about video games and health, your writer asks what could be done with the gorilla in the room. I suggest we start talking about the nature of process addictions, and its effects on the behavior of users versus simply focusing on gun control and violent video games. Try taking a computer game away from someone with an addiction and research if they exhibit violent behavior versus controls. Our data suggests those manifesting dependence are more likely to use threats of violence to maintain their game play.


EA boss denies video games encourage violent attacks

By Leo Kelion Technology reporter with BBC News on Jan. 31, '13
The boss of Electronic Arts (EA) has denied there is any link between video game content and "actual violence".


iPad apps and screen time for kids: learning or babysitting?

By Nancy Ferrari on May 11, 2012, Senior Editor for Harvard Health
Dr. Ann Densmore an expert in speech and language development and co-author of Your Successful Preschooler, states the keys to beneficial screen time are interactivity and adult participation, whether the child is playing a computer game, using an iPad app, or watching TV.


Should you buy a Facebook girlfriend?

On Feb. 18, '13 for The Atlantic

Fake Internet Girlfriend involves a quasi-fraudulent Facebook account that will declare itself "In a relationship" with you. It will also post syrupy missives on your wall, and send you messages at times apropos of your proclivities. All for a minimum three-month $750 commitment.

By Oregonian Sports for The Oregonian on Feb. 3, '13
Coach Ryan Svenson, who confiscates all technology on the bus to and from basketball games, reports "When I was in school, I sure seem to remember, on the field, on the court, guys communicated more frequently, more easily, than they do now. To me, that's the biggest challenge as a basketball coach is to get guys to communicate on the floor".  


Editorial for the New York Times on Feb. 18, '13
Study found that student attrition rates were 90 percent for some online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes, and found that courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed. 

Dr. Belsky, Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues and Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck University of London spoke at the DMM conference and asked the question "Why would natural selection craft an organism whose future functioning is grounded in early developmental experiences?"


By Elisha Goldstein for Huffington Post Healthy Living on Feb. 20, '13
1)   Have more balance;

2)   Master your habit;

3)   Open up possibility;

4)   Nurture intimacy, not just connection;

5)   Cultivate sacred space.

By Joesph Wenzel on Feb. 5, '13 for Eye Witness News
A state representative whose district includes Sandy Hook is proposing a 10 percent tax on all video games that are rated Mature. Connecticut lawmaker Debralee Hovey told Eyewitness News she would like to see the money raised from the tax to be used for mental health services.


By Dr. Jay S. Cohen for

From almost the day that they were introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sudden, unexpected suicides and homicides have been reported in patients taking serotonin-enhancing antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. Author profiles drug toxicity and problematic use of anti-depressants in both children and adults.  

Video Clips


Listen to the beating of your heart and create something that will make the world awesome. This video from SoulPancake delivers a soul-stirring dose of inspiration that only a 9-year-old can give.

Edi Rama: Take back your city with paint

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs.

Websites & Blogs


Online Gamers Anonymous

On-Line Gamers Anonymous is a self-help fellowship. They share experience, strengths and hope to assist in recovery from the problems caused by excessive game playing, whether it be computer, video, console, or on-line.


Thoughtful musings on elusive happiness.
Helping parents raise well-balanced children in a connected world.
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.


Product Preview  


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.


Foundation Series Workshops

Workshops are offered in the following formats:

Buy individual recorded webinars for $99 each

or the first 6 in the series for $499!


You will have two weeks to download your file.  Once saved, you may watch at your leisure, alone or with your friends/colleagues.  Stop and start the recording to suit your schedule - watch as many times as you like! 

Foundation Series Workshops on DVDs 

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.

Click here to learn more or sign up.
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!

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