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Digital Dementia - Guidelines for educators regarding technology use in school settings

By Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Girls using phones Mounting research indicates unrestricted use of technology (cell phones, internet, TV) by children is resulting in negative impact on physical and mental health, social wellbeing, and academic performance, suggesting a cautionary approach toward the use of technology in school settings.  As rates of technology addiction soar, children and youth are presenting with problematic behaviours and disorders that are not well understood by health and education professionals. Obesity, developmental delay, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, aggression, social phobia, and inability to pay attention or learn, are all associated with technology overuse bringing into question "Are the ways in which we are educating and raising children with technology sustainable"? This article will profile recent research on the impact of education technology on attention and learning, review technology evaluation and screening tools, and propose school-based technology guidelines and interventions to achieve Balanced Technology Management in education settings.


Up and Coming


Zone'in Programs Inc. sharpens its focus on the impact of technology on child development, behaviour, and learning with a new website coming fall 2013.

Zone'in AOTA approved Foundations Series Workshops are being upgraded with new research and content, including video clips, new handouts, and proven strategies for parents, education and health professionals coming fall 2013.


Cris Rowan's revised article "The impact of technology on child sensory and motor development" will be Chapter One in a new book by Lawrence Burke, professor with the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates. "Stories, Reflections and Arguments on Teaching & Learning in a Digital Age" will be published through John Catt Educational (UK) with global distribution. 
Translation from English to Chinese of Cris Rowan's book "Virtual Child - The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children" was recently completed by East China Normal University Press Ltd., with China distribution to commence next month.

Cris in the News


Cris Rowan, Author of "Virtual Child"


30 min. video interview of Cris Rowan by Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, author of Hooked on Games, and Melanie Hemp, RN from Real Battle Ministries on the impact of technology on child development and learning.


Click Here 

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

September 26, 2013 Klemtu, BC

Foundation Series Workshops for health and education professionals sponsored by Vancouver Coast Health.


Contact person: Cindy Robinson, 250-839-1257


October 4, 2013 - Edmonton Alberta
Workshop for parents, education and health professionals on the impact of technology on children; sponsored by Jasper Place, Child and Family Resource Centre. 


Contact person: Adine Shuchuck, 780-668-9467


October 18, 2013 - Vancouver BC
Workshop for education and health professionals on the importance of movement and nature on attention and learning, sponsored by the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society.  


Contact person: Mary Burgaretta, 604-913-9128


October 28, 29, November 1, 2013 Bella Coola, BC

Foundation Series Workshops for health and education professionals sponsored by Vancouver Coast Health.


Contact person: Sophie Mack, 250-799-5722


February 21, 2014- Vancouver, BC

Workshop for education and health professionals on the impact of technology on children; sponsored by Special Education Association of BC.


Contact person: Mary Berg 


April 3, 4, 2014 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Keynote speaker and workshop presenter at annual Autism Conference on the impact of technology on children sponsored by UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital. 


Contact person: Tiffany Cook, 319-368-5742

Research & News Review

Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers

By Faria Sana for Computers and Education Vol 62, March 2013, 24-31

Participants who multitasked on a laptop during a lecture scored lower on a test compared to those who did not multitask, and participants who were in direct view of a multitasking peer scored lower on a test compared to those who were not. The results demonstrate that multitasking on a laptop poses a significant distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to comprehension of lecture content.


Digital Dementia: The memory problem plaguing teens and young adults

On Fox News, August 15, 2013

A recent study from South Korea found that individuals who rely heavily on technology may suffer deterioration in cognitive abilities such as short term memory dysfunction.


Japan to introduce internet 'fasting camps' for addicted kids

By Julian Ryall for The Telegraph on August 27, 2013
A study by Japan's Ministry of Education has concluded that over half a million Japanese children aged 12-18 are addicted to internet activities, and consequently is seeking government funding assistance for interventions such as outdoor "fasting camps" and other strategies to reduce the use of cell phones, computers, and hand held gaming devices.


A rising addiction among youths: Smartphones

By Lee Yun-soo for Wall Street Journal on July 23, 2013

South Korea government reports 1 in 5 students are addicted to smartphone use defined as spending more than seven hours a day using the phone and experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and depression when cut off from the device.


Are kids with gadgets more likely to have adhd?

By Margaret Rock for Mobiledia on Mashable on July 2, 2013

Over the past decade, the number of kids diagnosed with adhd surged by over 50%, and in the last six years, that rate has jumped 15%. The rise in adhd coincides with the rise of mobile devices. Children on average spend nearly seven and a half hours each day staring at screens, up 20% from just five years ago. Is there a relationship between the two? Yes, but it's not so clear-cut. 


Tech is killing childhood

By Catherine Steiner-Adair for Salon on August 12, 2013

Article for parents and educators regarding how time spent on gadgets could be hampering kids' ability to connect to each other and the "real" world.


US recognizes eSport players as professional athletes

By Kris Ligman for Gamasutra on July 12, 2013

The United States government recognizes League of Legends pro players as professional athletes, and awards visas to essentially work in the United States under that title.


Together Alone: Technology computers and kids

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, EdD. for PsychCentral
American working parents spend an average of 19 minutes a day of quality time with their children. Author explores the idea that society now thinks it's normal to be immersed in a virtual world.


Best policy to thwart online bullying? European Commission says raise awareness

By Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer for Microsoft on July 17, 2013

According to a new report from the European Commission, awareness-raising, coupled with involvement from all interested groups, is the best policy to help combat online bullying.


Kindergarten Coders Can Program Before They Can Read

By New Scientist  on July 31, 2013

Tufts University researchers are studying the ability of kindergarten-aged children to program computers using a graphics-based coding language called ScratchJr, which is based on the Scratch programming language.


No City for Little Boys

By Andrew Cotto for the New York Times on April 21, 2013

Parent's description of how difficult it is to raise young boys with "ants in their pants" in inner city New York.


How junk food ads contribute to childhood obesity

By Caroline Knorr for Common Sense Media on July 31, 2013

Marketing restrictions and legislation may help, but it's up to parents to show kids what's wrong with these commercials.

Children Use Android as Young as 5, Study Shows
By Bianca Stanestu for Hot for Security on August 12, 2013

Parents buy smartphones for their toddlers when they are as young as 5 years old, boosting the risk that exposure to pornography predators, malware infections and SMS fraud will increasingly target users.
Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked to Oxidative Stress

For Science News on July 29, 2013

Study showed the saliva of heavy cell phone users showed indications of higher oxidative stress -- a process that damages all aspects of a human cell, including DNA -- through the development of toxic peroxide and free radicals considered a major risk factor for cancer.


Cell phones and health

Dr. Devra Davis discussing dangers of WiFi and her book "Disconnect" on Commonwealth Club


Florida Bans Smartphones and Computers

By Doug Aamoth for Time on July 9, 2013

Florida recently passed a law banning Internet cafes that offer slot machine-like games. "The Legislature and governor acted with dizzying speed, leaving many questions as to the law's impact and how the centers known as Internet cafes would react.


Most Parents Show Little Worry about Media Use, Survey Says

By Matt Richtel for New York Times on June 4, 2013

39% of parents use at least 11 hours of entertainment technology per day reports survey by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University.


Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
Jay Parker, consultant and recovery coach, guides those who struggle with addiction, and has written a blog post titled "Broken or broken open" about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which shows 2/3 of a normative population reports at least one adverse experience (neglect, abuse, trauma) and 1 in 5 reports at least 3 adverse experiences.  

Jay Parker

Online gaming addiction: Classification, prediction and associated risk factors

By Zaheer Hussain et al for Addiction Research and Theory, October 2012, 20(5), 359-371

44.5% of MMORG (massively multi-player online role playing games) gamers are addicted according to polythetic format. Gaming duration, total time spent gaming per week, and employment status have a major impact on the probability of MMORPG addiction.


Nerd, interrupted: Inside a smartphone addiction treatment center

By Leah Hamshon from TechHive on August 27, 2013

Director reports from Morningside Recovery center in California and reStart Internet Addiction and Recovery Center in Washington.


Online game firms need to do more to prevent addiction say researchers

For BBC News - Wales on August 6, 2013

Online game companies need to do more to prevent players becoming too addicted in order to avoid government intervention, a study has warned.

On internet porn: Stuff the porn addicts, our children's rights trump theirs

By Fiona Phillips for Mirror News on July 27, 2013

David Cameron plans an "opt in" system requiring computer owners to disable filters if they want to view internet porn.


Internet addiction? Redmond's got rehab for that

By Drew Atkins for Crosscut on August 22, 2013

Interview with Dr. Hilarie Cash, Cofounder of reStart Internet Addiction and Recovery Center located in Washington.

A trip to camp to break a tech addiction

By Matt Haber for the New York Times on July 5, 2013

Digital Detox runs a camp for tech addicted adults.


Casting light on sleep deficiency - The use of electric lights at night is disrupting the sleep of more and more people
By Charles Czeisler for Nature on May 23, 2013
Technology has decoupled us from the 24-hour day to which our bodies evolved.

Sleep disturbance in mental health problems and neurodegenerative disease
By Kirstie Anderson and Andre Bradley for Nature and Science of Sleep 2013: 5, 61-75
Article covers the role of specific patterns of sleep disturbance that occur in association with both mental health and neurodegenerative disorders.


Elizabeth Foss Blog - Screen time rules for kids

One family's attempt to focus on building meaningful relationships and to spend more time reading things of substance.


Webcurfew and Digital Loitering Blog

Free download computer monitoring software and blog created by a parent for other parents who want to control internet use by their children.


An Interview with Fred Baughman MD: Better to Talk than to Drug

By Michael Shaughnessy Education Views Senior Columnist on July 8, 2013

As there is no psychiatric condition/diagnosis that has been proved to be a disorder/disease/physical abnormality, it can never be said that the risk vs. benefit ratio of any drug "treatment" in psychiatry is positive and medically justifiable.


Breakthrough Study Reveals Biological Basis for Sensory Processing Disorders in Kids

By Juliana Brunium for UCSF on July 9, 2013

In a groundbreaking new study from UC San Francisco, researchers have found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders.


Video Clips


Dunno Nothin
Great rap video by Peter Denahy showing activity state of today's youth.

Physiology of Gaming
20 min. video presentation by Andrew Doan, MD, PhD and author of Hooked on Games, and Melanie Hemp, RN from Real Battle Ministries on the physiology of gaming.

Is technology a problem for you? The downside of tech addiction.
Fox News Insider report on the O'Reilly Factor, August 13, 2013
Great summary of impact of technology with user addiction quiz

Science of Porn Addiction
By AsapSCIENCE on Feb. 20, 2013
Informative video on the neuroscience behind pornography addiction.

Internet porn and erectile dysfunction
By Steven Sharp and Caroline Cranshaw on March 3, 2013
Report about internet porn addiction and its connection with erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues.

TED Talk - Philip Zimbardo: The Demise of Guys
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo shares some stats (lower graduation rates, greater worries about intimacy and relationships) and suggests a few reasons.

TED Talk - Eleanor Longden: The voices in my head
Longden tells a moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.
Science of Online Gaming
Riot Games (League of Legends) "Player Behaviour Team" reports on their use of an online gamer tribunal to either punish or pardon toxic gamers, and how this method works to reform toxic players.

X3 Watch - Pornography accountability software
John Kitna - Quarterback for the Cowboys talks about X3 Watch software that can be installed on any computer or phone to monitor access to pornography sites, and email partners of online activity.

Teaching the common core - PBS Newshour
A national experiment that could produce a sea change in education looking at how the new standards, which emphasize skills like reading critically, listening carefully and working collaboratively, are likely to change classrooms in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

From One Second to the Next
Werner Herzog a 70-year-old filmmaker explores the dangers of texting while driving in a 35-minute short film documentary that emotionally recounts how lives have been forever changed by the issue. Funded by AT & T for distribution to school aged populations.


Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101 - Hooked on Games
Interview with Dr. Andrew Doan, Ophthalmologist and author of "Hooked on Games" about video game addiction by Denise Krochta from Web Talk Radio.

Parent Well in Our Digital World
Interview with Dr. Andrew Doan, Ophthalmologist and author of "Hooked on Games" about his own personal history regarding video game addiction by Gloria DeGaetano  from Web Talk Radio. 

Books & Resources


Connecting With Nature Guide, by David Suzuki
School-based guide for connecting children back to nature; for grades 4-6.

The Big Disconnect: Protecting childhood and family relationships in the digital age, by Catherine Steiner-Adair
Clinical psychologist and family therapist Steiner-Adair explores the changes in the dynamics of family life when there are fewer conversations around the dinner table, fewer play dates with children actually physically playing together, and fewer pretend games.

Dyslexia Typeface
Free download "bottom-heavy" font for those who have dyslexia from

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.
"Zone'in Programs Inc. for sale!
Please contact Cris Rowan at for more information".
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. 2013