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Teen Playgrounds - Improving youth health, learning and behavior

By Cris Rowan 


Imagine you're a teen in a small Northern community, walking around town in the early evening with your friends. You've got your face buried in your cell phone, nothing to do, nowhere to go, yet you've got energy to burn and you're looking for some action. Ripe for getting into some trouble, you turn a corner and there in front of you is a Teen Playground complete with basketball hoop, volleyball court, exercise circuit, and Barstarzz bars. You look around further and find some TRX Training equipment anchored to the side of a building, right next to a climbing wall, some rotation pods, more cool things to climb on, and spring swings!


How many of you would stop whatever you were doing and start to play? 


Click to Read More and/or Comment 



Schools of the New Millennium - Drugs and Seclusion, or Movement and Green Space?

By Cris Rowan 

A British Columbia advocacy group in Canada recently released a survey which contained information from over 200 parents indicating their child had been locked into a seclusion room, sometimes daily, and for up to 3 hour durations. The BC Ministry of Education, as well as various school board trustees, principals, and school staff consistently stated in media interviews that they did not have a policy in place for the use of seclusion rooms, but are now "working on one". A salient question for everyone at this point is "Why has child aggression escalated to the point where school staff think they need to lock children up to keep everyone safe"? The answer is quite simple - children need to play outside...lots, and instead are glued to screens. Movement, touch, human connection, and nature enhance child development and learning. Today's child is immersed in an average of 7.5 hours per day of violent media content causing uncontrolled aggression. As children use more and more technology (TV, video games, cell phones, internet), their brains prune neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex, gravely limiting and executive function. The increasing trend of school staff to seclude, restrain, diagnose and medicate children will continue until teachers and parents take steps toward technology reduction and more outdoor play. This article proposes re-enactment of the Schools Operating Safely (SOS) - Child Behavior Management Policy and Procedures including 10 research referenced alternatives to restraints, seclusion rooms, and psychotropic medication. This policy initiative was proposed to schools and education government by pediatric occupational therapist Cris Rowan, published in the March 2010 Child Development Series Newsletter.  Isolated, neglected, sedentary, and overstimulated, the sustainability of the new millennium child is now in question.
Cris in the News


Workshop addresses shocking effects of technology overuse on children 

By Caitlin Thompson for Coast Mountain News on Oct. 24, '13

Article following interview of Cris Rowan by Coast Mountain News reporter Caitlin Thompson while providing workshops in Bella Coola on the impact of technology on child development, behaviour, and learning.

Radiation effects unknown

Letter to the editor by Cris Rowan for Coast Reporter on Nov. 22, '13
Cris Rowan comments on new cell phone tower installation proposed for the Gibsons area regarding two areas of human impact: radio waves emitted from the tower itself and electromagnetic radiation emitted from wireless devices which are seeking the tower's signal (e.g. cell phones, iPads, laptops, mobile phone bases).

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

Ban 'isolation rooms' in schools, B.C. advocate group urges

On CTV News on November 22, 2013

Parents in B.C. express outrage after a recent survey found that school officials in the province were disciplining children by sending them to isolation rooms and using various forms of physical restraint. According to a survey of 200 parents conducted by advocate group Inclusion B.C., some of the students were allegedly locked alone in small rooms, closets and stairwells. Respondents said the children were left alone for up to three hours.


Students frequent cell phone use tied to lower grades and higher anxiety

By Janis Wood for PsychCentral on December 7, '13

A new study has found that college students who use their cell phones frequently had lower grades, higher anxiety and were less happy than other students.


"It's Common Sense That It's Wrong": Young People's Perceptions and Experiences of Cyberbullying

By Jo Bryce and James Fraser for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. November 2013, 16(11): 783-787.
The results suggest that cyberbullying is perceived to be problematic and serious but relatively routine part of young people's online lives and interactions. The results also highlighted the influence of the characteristics of technologically mediated communication on the dynamics of the behavior.


Facebook Photo Activity Associated with Body Image Disturbance in Adolescent Girls  

By Evelyn P. Meier and James Gray for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking on November 16, 2013   
Facebook usage by teen girls was significantly correlated with weight dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, thin ideal internalization, and self-objectification. Implications for eating disorder prevention programs and best practices in researching social networking sites are discussed.  


Center on Media and Child Health - Christmas Gift Guide for 2013

Contains both tech and non-tech suggestions for gifts for children and youth. 


The Internet Has Become the External Hard Drive for Our Memories

By Daniel Wegner and Adrian Ward for Scientific American on November 24, 2013
Being online all the time changes the subjective sense of self as borders between personal memories and information distributed across the Internet start to blur. 


Sandy Hook "Investigation" Fails to Deliver Answers - Here's Why

By Kelly Patricia O'Meara for Citizens Commission for Human Rights International on November 27, '13

Connecticut State's Attorney, Stephen J. Sedensky III, has released the long-awaited report on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Unfortunately, the report is woefully inadequate by virtue of Sedensky's failure to ask the appropriate question-did Adam Lanza have a history of psychiatric drug use?



By Ricardo Lopex on November 4, '13 for LA Times
he Justice Department announced Monday that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company promoted powerful psychiatric drugs for unapproved uses in children, seniors and disabled patients.


Wider ADHD definition risks unnecessary medication, say experts

By Kate Kelland for Reuters on November 6, 2013

New research published in the British Medical Journal have documented the increase of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis and treatment both in Europe and the U.S.  The increase has been spurred by the expanded diagnosis of ADHD in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V).


19 signs you need to unplug from your smartphone

By Lindsay Holmes for the Huffington Post on November 23, 2013

Blurred vision, phone panic, working after hours are just 3 of the 19 signs that you might need to unplug from the virtual world of technology, and get back to real life.



Check out the Zone'in website new Product section!                  




Antwand Pearman with GamerfitNation calls for gamers to participate in a day of online shooters to cease fire in remembrance of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 21, 2013. See YouTube video. 

Radio / Video


Interview with Shawn Brooks, Executive Director for Oxbow Academy on December 5, 2013 by Elizabeth Brooks, hosted on Parent Choices Radio Show on Struggling Teens website..

What is technology doing to your kids' brains?
Presentation Melanie Hempe RN, Dawn Poulterer MA and Andrew Doan MD PhD at Covenant Day School - Matthews NC Nov 2013


Unplugged Challenge

Unplugged Challenge is an organization which offers an effective and realistic  summer programs to support parents and community leaders who want to implement change towards a healthy lifestyle and to bring about awareness of the dangers associated with 24/7 screen addiction. The programs engage children in outdoor activity in their communities. With the cooperation of city leaders and local businesses children are able to earn recognition and reward for their active lifestyle. 


For more info on a way to help kids unplug:


"Brag Badges"


News Coverage


Their program:


Internet and Technology Addiction Anonymous (ITAA)

ITAA in Boulder County hosts a 12-step group meeting on December 4, 2013 for those whose life has been negatively impacted by their compulsive use of the internet, video games, and technology.

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.
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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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