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Technology and Spirituality: Education Advancements in First Nations Communities

By Cris Rowan 


Algonguin Elder William Commanda, from Mamiwinini, Canada 27/Jun/1993. UN Photo/John Isaac
stated in 1991...

Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology.... has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.


I have had the opportunity to spend the past year offering Foundation Series Workshops in four First Nations communities, funded by a grant from Vancouver Coast Health. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on this process of "education", and share with you the knowledge and gifts bestowed upon me by First Nations peoples, who touched and moved me in ways that were often far beyond my comprehension. Enjoy, and take joy in what was my experience of a lifetime.....


Click to Read More and/or Comment 

Cris in the News


Is it time to take the iPad away from your kid?

By Cheryl Chan for The Province on November 1, 2013

When asked to comment on 4 year olds being treated in inpatient facilities for iPad addictions, Rowan states "Overuse is an issue, as technology is very addicting. Never before in the history of humankind have we seen children with addictions, and now one in 11 kids (age eight to 18) are addicted to technology. This is the tip of the iceberg here".

CKNW Interview with Cris Rowan

By Bill Good with CKNW News on October 31, 2013
Interview regarding iPad addictions in 4 year olds.


Radiation effects unknown

Coast Reporter Letters - November 22, 2013

Cris Rowan raises concerns regarding installation of a new cell phone tower in her community.

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule


February 8, 2014 - Brackendale, BC

Workshop for Early Intervention staff sponsored by Squamish Child Care Resource and Referral.


Contact person: Lisa McIntosh  604-815-4144


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


August 24, 2014 - Kelowna, BC
Workshop for professionals sponsored by Early Learning, Literacy CMOS & UBCO, SD No. 23 

Contact person: Donna Kozak  250-718-5332

Research and News Review

From the American Academy of Pediatrics - Policy Statement

Children, Adolescents, and the Media, Council on Communications and Media

Pediatricians are encouraged to take a media history and ask 2 media questions at every well-child visit, and reiterate 2004 AAP policy of no technology exposure for children 0-2 years of age, and 1-2 hours of total technology per day ages 2-18 years.


Three-fold Increase in Mass Shootings in Step with Increased Psychiatric Drugging

By Kelly Patricia O'Meara for Citizens Commission on Human Rights International on November 19, 2013

The majority of mass shooters were either taking, or strongly suspected of taking, mind-altering psychiatric drugs. Between 2004 -2012 there have been 14,773 reports to the US FDA's MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects. Acts of violence towards others are associated with a relatively small group of drugs, antidepressants with serotonergic effects. There are 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, aggression, violence and even homicidal ideation. Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children in one third of all visits, which is three times higher than during the 1990's and nearly 90 percent of those prescriptions written between 2005 and 2009 were prescribed for something other than what the Food and Drug Administration approved them for. According to IMS Health, there has been a 22% increase in the number of Americans on psychiatric drugs since 2002, with over 77 million people currently taking them-that's one in four Americans. A total of 8.2 million children under 18 are taking psychiatric drugs in the U.S. There are over 40 million Americans taking antidepressants - a 15% increase since 2002. Of these, 2 million are children under 18. Since 2002, the number of Americans on ADHD drugs has gone up by 94% with over 10 million currently taking them. According to the CDC, 11 percent of school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD and there are now 4.7 million children under 18 in the U.S. taking ADHD drugs, per IMS Health. The total number of Americans on antipsychotics has increased by 40% since 2002.


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

By Melissa Fleschler Peskin et al for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking in June 2013, 16(6): 454-459.
More than 20% of students reported sending either a nude or semi-nude picture/video or a sexual text-only message (jointly referred to as a "sext"), and more than 30% reported receiving a sext.


Video Game Use and Cognitive Performance: Does It Vary with the Presence of Problematic Video Game Use?

By Emily Collins and Jonathan Freeman for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking bon October 10, 2013 doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0629.
The results revealed no significant effect of playing action video games, nor any influence of problematic video game play. This indicates that the previously reported cognitive advantages in video game players may be restricted to specific task features or samples.  


Addicts May Be Seeking Relief from Emotional Lows More Than Euphoric Highs

On Nov. 6, 2013 for Science Daily

Cocaine addicts may become trapped in drug binges -- not because of the euphoric highs they are chasing but rather the unbearable emotional lows they desperately want to avoid. 


Today's Porn - What all adults, teens and parents need to understand about high speed internet porn
By Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD on October 6, 2013 for her blog

The rate of speed at which erotic images are delivered can alter brain chemistry and rewire the pleasure center of the brain, creating other changes in body and sexual function, including addiction and erectile dysfunction. Because an increasing amount of extreme images are sought (in part because of these brain changes), more violent and humiliating images are needed.


Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

By Ferris Jabr for Scientific American on October 15, 2013

Research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity. 


How Our Society Breeds Anxiety, Depression and Dysfunction

By Bruce E. Levine for AlterNet on August 21, 2013

Our belief in "progress" has increased our expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment.  

Five ways the internet is rewiring your brain

By The Huffington Post on October 30, 2013

Fact #1: The Internet may give you an addict's brain; Fact #2: You may feel more lonely and jealous; Fact #3: Internet use may heighten suicide risk in certain teens; Fact #4: Memory problems may be more likely. Fact #5: In older adults, the Internet can boost brain function. 


Totally Wired - Addiction and the Internet

By Venkat Srinivasan for Caravan Magazine - A Journal of Politics and Culture on 1 November 2013

Author explores internet addiction and a range of issues concerning behavioral addictions, as viewed across a variety of fields -- sociology, neuroscience, HCI, psychiatry and philosophy.


Can't Get Away From It All? The Problem Isn't Technology - It's You

By Mat Honan in November, 2013 for Wired

On a connected planet, you can't run away from technology - you have to manage it.


Smartphones are killing us - and destroying public life

By Henry Grabar for Salon on November 2, 2013

Hey, you -- look up! Our iPhone addictions are wrecking public spaces and fraying the urban social fabric.


'Pushback': Resisting the life of constant connectivity

By Peter Kelley on October 21, 2013 for University of Washington News

Pushback is an expression of those who have access and use of communication technologies, but who decide to resist, drop off, manage or reduce their use of these technologies


Study: What You Would Be Doing If You Spent Less Time Online

By Simone Foxman for The Atlantic on October 22, 2013

Research shows more time online means less time socializing, studying, and sleeping.


Ten teens in Montreal area face child pornography charges

By Sidhartha Banerjee for the Globe and Mail on November 14, 2013

The boys allegedly coaxed their friends and girlfriends into posing for pictures they later shared among themselves. Aged between 13 and 15 years old, they were arrested in a sweep early Thursday in Laval, a suburb just north of Montreal.



Radio - When playing video games means sitting on life's sidelines
By NPR Staff on October 20, 2013 for National Public Radio
Personal story of one man's journey through video game addiction, and his inpatient stay at reSTART Addiction Center in Washington.

Video - Technology Shabbat
By Tiffany Shlain, award-winning filmmaker, speaker, and founder of The Webby Awards
Tiffany shares how living in today's over-connected world has led her family to unplug for one full day every week. They call them their "Technology Shabbats," they've done it every week for over three years, and it's completely changed their lives.

Video - A divine rescue from video game addiction
Dr. Andrew Doan's story about addiction and recovery presented to the Christian Ophthalmology Society. Dr. Doan is a prolific speaker on video gaming addiction, and is author of "Hooked on Games".


EU Kids Online
Enhancing knowledge regarding European children's use, risk and safety online.

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.
"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. 

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6840 Seaview Rd. Sechelt BC V0N3A4 
Tel: 1-888-896-6346
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Zone'in Programs Inc. 2013