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From Real to Virtual - The alarming trend toward transhuman behavior in children


By Cris Rowan 


Envisioning the future has proven to be an effective technique for those children who are obsessed with present pursuits, such as playing video games every waking minute. So, as a pediatric occupational therapist working with these young warriors, I regularly ask them "What do you want to be when you grow up". A few years back, the response was "I want to design video games"; today it's "I want to be ________ (a video game character)". The further and further children become immersed in the virtual world, the harder it is for them to cope with the problems and challenges of real life. Everyday life for today's child is fraught with meaningless activity, endless challenges, and people who don't do what they want. Video games are predictable, controllable, and they're an instant star. TV offers them opportunity to pretend they're someone else, seconded by facebook, texts, and tweets. Google offers an endless stream of facts, just enough to impress attention deficit adults. The result? The desire to escape from the real world to the virtual gets stronger and stronger, as does the desire to become the false image created on facebook, to become the TV, sports, or gaming character, to become the device, to become transhuman. Meaning "beyond human", transhuman desires are increasingly detected in children who overuse technology, and indicate a need to understand and possibly restrict technology access. When a child prefers a device to a human, there is something gravely wrong and if not addressed, will only get worse.


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Ten reasons to NOT use technology in schools for children under the age of 12 years


By Cris Rowan 


Refuse to Use is a world-wide Movement by responsible and futuristic thinking parents and teachers to ban all school-based technology for children under 12 years of age, and bring back tried and true methods of teaching. The 0-12 years are formative for brain and body development, and are a fragile time when deprivation and damage can be permanent. Four critical factors for enhancing child development, behaviour, and learning are movement, touch, connection, and nature. Technology stops children from engagement in these critical factors. Technology is sedentary, isolating, overstimulating, and results in child neglect, causing delays in child development, problematic and difficult to manage behaviours, as well as limited attention and learning ability. Teachers teach, not technology. Join the Refuse to Use Movement by reading "Ten reasons to NOT use technology in schools for children under the age of 12 years", and signing our petition to show your support.


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Why Some Teachers Are Banning Laptops from the Classroom 

Cris in the News


Interview with Cris Rowan on UK television show April 29th, 2014 at 8 AM talking about the detrimental impact of technology on children.

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule
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


September 19, 20, 2014 - Hong Kong, China

Workshops on impact of technology on corporate productivity and family life sponsored by the Young Presidents Organization.

Contact Person: Timothy Wong 


September 22, 23, 2014  - Mongolia

Workshops on impact of technology on corporate productivity and family life sponsored by the Young Presidents Organization.

Contact Person: Timothy Wong 


October 1, 2014 - Vancouver, BC

Workshop on the impact of technology on children sponsored by Gatehouse Montessori School

Contact Person: Gretchen van Nostrand 604-925-1437


October 16, 2014 - Roberts Creek, BC

Workshop on the impact of technology on children sponsored by Sun Haven Waldorf School

Contact Person: Sari Cormack 604-741-0949


Research and News Review

Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy 

By Victoria Ward, Daily Telegraph, UK, April 21, 2014

One in seven of more than 1,000 parents questioned by website admitted that they let them use the gadgets for four or more hours a day.


Whatever happened to the free-range kid?

By Shelley Fralic, Vancouver Sun columnist May 22, 2014

We are not, in our pursuit of protection, doing our kids any favours. Perhaps it's time to unleash them, to introduce some healthy risk, not just so they can be physical and fit, but so they can be children.


Empathy: The Development and Disintegration of Human Connection

CLBB and the Boston Society for Neurology and Psychiatry lectures, January 17, 2013

Research shows that with increased technology use, including discussion forums & social media, at the consequence of face-to-face, human interaction, we lose empathy and our humanity.


Children, Adolescents, and the Media
Policy Statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics Published online October 28, 2013 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2656)

The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned by evidence about the potential harmful effects of media messages and images; however, important positive and prosocial effects of media use should also be recognized. 


Could WiFi in schools be harming our kids? 

By Naomi Buck, Special to The Globe and Mail, on Sunday May 11, 2014

In Canada, the lack of public concern about WiFi exposure in schools seems at odds with a culture of parenting that's often called hypercautious. Here, public awareness on the issue of exposure has been mainly focused on cellphones. The science at play is beyond the reach of most citizens, and many would rather not entertain the possibility that these incredibly useful technologies may pose a risk.


Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Editor-in-Chief: Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN Published monthly by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is the essential, peer-reviewed journal for understanding the social and psychological impact of today's social networking practices. Highly regarded as the go-to source in the field, the Journal has followed the trend of social networking and virtual reality for the past 15 years. It is known for its rapid communication articles and in-depth studies surrounding the effects of interactive technologies on behavior and society, both positive and negative.


The dangerous impacts of social media and the rise of mental illnesses

By Mariel Norton on May 10, 2014 for The Next Web

While there's a multitude of self-help guides preaching their own best practices for handling the negative aspects of social media, the resolution begins with learning to use social media when appropriate and remembering that health is wealth - physically, as well as mentally. 


Online Child Pornography Offenders are Different: A Meta-analysis of the Characteristics of Online and Offline Sex Offenders Against Children.

Babchishin KM1, Hanson RK, Vanzuylen H. March 14, 2014

The current meta-analysis compared the characteristics of online child pornography-only offenders, typical (offline) sex offenders against children, and offenders with both child pornography and contact sex offences against children (mixed). The findings suggest that offenders who restricted their offending behavior to online child pornography offences were different from mixed offenders and offline sex offenders against children, and that mixed offenders were a particularly high risk group.


With No Formal Diagnosis or Treatment Plans, How Can Sex Addiction Exist?

By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S for About Sex and Intimacy in the Digital Age

For the most part, those who believe that sexual addiction (also known as sexual compulsivity and hypersexual disorder) is simply a myth tend to offer some combination of the five challenges presented by Robert Weiss in his examination of the validity/reality of the concerns.


Hey, Parents. What That IPad Is Doing to Your Kid Is Kind of Shocking

By Margaret Rock for 2Machines Blog

The restaurant is overrun with children. Some kids are antsy, others are well-behaved, but a good number of them have one thing in common: their heads are facing down, as they play games on smartphones and tablets.


Video game addiction a real problem for many

By Dr. Max Wachtel for 9News May 1, 2014

Given the number of adults and children playing games, a 5 to 8 percent addiction rate adds up to millions of people. The games themselves are designed to become irresistible. Psychological research has been used to develop games that people want to keep playing. 


Mobile Addicts on the Rise, According to Data Study

Flurry, data analytics company ,

According to a data study conducted by Flurry, the number of mobile addicts has grown 123 percent over the last year. A mobile addict is defined by Flurry as a user who launches an app more than 60 times per day, or six times more than the average user.


Reflections from the International Congress on Internet Addiction Disorders - Cultural and Clinical Perspectives.
By Kimberly Young on March 26, 2014 for Net Addiction.
Internet addiction disorder is a global and significant problem. Kimberly Young has just returned from the first International Congress on Internet Addiction Disorders held in Milan, Italy on March 21-22, 2014. While the ideas are still fresh, she wroe about the new and exciting programs being started to address this rapidly evolving problem.


My Students Don't Know How to Have a Conversation
By Paul Barnwell for The Atlantic Apr 22, 2014
The next time you interact with a teenager, try to have a conversation with him or her about a challenging topic. Ask him to explain his views. Push her to go further in her answers. Hopefully, you won't get the response Turkle did when interviewing a 16-year-old boy about how technology has impacted his communication: "Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I'd like to learn how to have a conversation.".  


Read, Kids, Read
By Frank Bruni For The New York Times May 12, 2014
Books are personal, passionate. They stir emotions and spark thoughts in a manner all their own, and I'm convinced that the shattered world has less hope for repair if reading becomes an ever smaller part of it. 


How romance is evolving in video games 

By Lisa Granshaw For The daily Dot April 29, 2014

Romance is adding a whole new layer to the role-playing experience. Typically it's not even a moment shared between two gamers controlling their avatars (that's something else entirely), but a moment between the player and a computer-controlled character they've spent time with during their adventures. This choice to have an intimate romance woven into storylines is quite different from how relationships have been portrayed in games in the past.


The missing ingredient to happiness 

By David for

Many of us learn that happiness is nothing aside from getting what you want. But our wants so out-number and out-pace our "gets" that often when we feel content it's not because we finally have all we want, but because we've momentarily forgotten about all of our unmet wants. That's why we're so interested in distractions like television and alcohol. They temporarily protect us from being visited by other cravings. Watch what happens when the show ends and the TV goes off. An apparent need, for something, appears immediately.


Father Kills Son Over MMO Gaming Addiction 

By William Usher for Gaming Blend April 25, 2014

Multiple reports have surfaced in regards to a disturbing scenario in which a man has allegedly killed his son over the young man's addiction to massive multiplayer online video games. 


Young Children's After-School Activities - There's More to it Than Screen Time: A Cross-Sectional Study of Young Primary School Children 

Engelen, L. et al CMCH Australia 2014 

The children in this study engaged in a range of sedentary activities in their after-school time, including but not limited to television and screen time. The majority of after-school activities were indoors, but children were more likely to be physically active when they were outdoors.   Center on Media and Child Health


The Quality of Mental Health Information Commonly Searched for on the Internet 

By GroholJohn M., SlimowiczJoseph, and GrandaRebecca Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. April 2014, Vol. 17, No. 4: 216-221


Why Online Games Make Players Act Like Psychopaths
By By Ryan Rigney for Wired May 26, 2014

Are our actions in a virtual world tantamount to imagining those things we could do in real life but never would? Or are we merely behaving as we would in real life if there were no consequences for our actions?




Fox News Insider May 5, 2014 with Dr. Manny Alvarez
In this booming age of technology, children today are growing up in a very different world than their parents. But can smartphones and tablets actually be harmful to your child's development?

Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.
'Look Up' is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Kids, take charge

Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.


Unplug your child from the digital devices and observe them discover their gifts!!!

We cancelled cable, do not play video games (digital candy), and allow less than 1 hour a week on digital veggies, i.e. math game, for our 7 year-old daughter. Because she is bored, she reads a ton and now reads at 5 grade level! This is her first time looking at and reading Romans 12 Passages 3-9! 

See also Proust and The Squid by Maryanne Wolf in Books and Products below.


Play Video Games Responsibly and Get in Shape by Utilizing Endorphin Rush!  

Video by Dr. Andrew Doan

Arousal via digital media is a bad idea, without exercise & physical activity. Dr Doan came up with this demonstration to illustrate why having excess endorphins circulating is not a good idea.




Screen Time vs. Lean Time 

Screen Time vs. Lean Time infographics to see how much time kids spend in front of a screen, and tips for parents.


Includes Over 20 Parental Controls That Did Not Come With Your Child's Smart Phone. This program, 
and others like it, sends every photo taken with a cell phone IMMEDIATELY to parent's laptop 
and/or cell phone. (Does not work with iPhone)

From supported by Harvard Medical school - an explanation of multiple addiction and the brain and also discusses sex as an addiction.

Website to help Moms balancing technology with childhood.

Weekly show sharing facts, research, experiences, and feelings to better understand how to save lives from addiction.

Excellent research by Craig Anderson on the effects of video games on children.

Healthy Computing Tips for a Low-EMF Workstation

Updated fact sheet on a low-EMF computer workstation by Katharina Gustavs, Cert. EOH Building Biology Environmental Consultant IBN


Helping Families Manage Behaviour Problems

Strongest Families is an effective, accessible educational service for families of children with mild to moderate behaviour problems (ages 3 to 12) offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division.

Books & Products


Green Mama: What Parents Need to Know to Give Their Children a Healthy Start and a Greener Future 

By Manda Aufochs Gillespie 

Green Mama will help you get back to the basics, at a time when the "basics" are being redefined: clear air, nutritious food, simple play, healthy indoor and outdoor environments, and less stuff. With a mix of science and family wisdom, Manda covers prenatal care for mothers-to-be, breastfeeding, detoxifying the nursery, cloth versus disposable diapers, baby skincare, feeding a family, and more.


Proust And The Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

By Maryanne Wolf

"Human beings were never born to read," writes Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and child development expert Maryanne Wolf. Reading is a human invention that reflects how the brain rearranges itself to learn something new. In this ambitious, provocative book, Wolf chronicles the remarkable journey of the reading brain not only over the past five thousand years, since writing began, but also over the course of a single child's life, showing in the process why children with dyslexia have reading difficulties and singular gifts.


Life Stories Game

By The Distribution Solutions

Communication game; An enjoyable pastime with surprising and revealing results; Encourages self-expression, affirmation, creative thinking, problem solving and team work; Rekindle a friendship or renew histories; 2 to 8 players, Age 6+

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. 

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. 2014