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The Last Generation - Are technology and human survival mutually exclusive?


By Cris Rowan


Over the course of the past 50,000 years, humans have managed to rise to the top of the food chain to dominate all other life forms on planet earth. Until quite recently, humans have successfully functioned as "pack" animals, with each member of the group serving a vital purpose and role. Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory reigned true, as evolutionary stressors of disease, climate change, and predation made sure that only the strong survive! Movement, touch, human connection, and nature, which have always been considered to be four essential, critical factors for human species survival, were plentiful and abundant. The more physically fit human could run faster, had sharper sensory acuity for hunting and gathering, and had sufficient endurance for hard work and harsh climate conditions. Babies, toddlers and young children spent every moment in the arms of a parent, grandparent or sibling, receiving adequate touch to enable a calm and secure individual.


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Foundation Series Workshop Schedule

November 16, 2014 - Squamish, BC

Workshop on the impact of technology on children sponsored by Quest University

Contact person: Luce Melancon 1-888-883-7808


February 5, 6, 2015 - Rivers Inlet, BC

Workshops on self-regulation, literacy, technology balance, and attachment, sponsored by Vancouver Coastal Health grant

Contact person: Kevin Gianakos 1-250-949-8881


March 6, 2015 - Vancouver, BC

Workshop on school design for success sponsored by Cross Currents Special Education Conference

Contact person: Mary Berg 


Research and News Review


Addictions & Drug Use


Prefrontal control and Internet addiction: a theoretical model and review of Neuropsychological and neuroimaging findings

By Matthias Brand, Kimberly S. Young and Christian Laier May 27, 2014

Reviews neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies of internet addiction and describes a phenomenon that results in personal distress, symptoms of psychological dependence, and diverse negative consequences that some individuals suffer from internet use.


Drug Abuse Disrupts Blood Flow to the Brain: Study 

Published on NDTV Cooks, August 30, 2014
Researchers have developed a new mapping tool that can be regarded as a breakthrough in the field of brain health. According to a study published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express, a new laser- based imaging tool has been invented which can map the effects of drugs on the network of blood flow to the brain. This new technique is an advanced version of a method called Optical Coherence Doppler Tomography (ODT) where laser light hits the moving blood cells and bounces back.


Detoxing & Unplugging


Five days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues

By Yalda T. Uhlsa, Minas Michikyanb, Jordan Morrisc, Debra Garciad, b, Gary W. Smalle, Eleni Zgourouf, Patricia M. Greenfielda Published online 15 August 2014

A field experiment examined whether increasing opportunities for face-to-face interaction while eliminating the use of screen-based media and communication tools improved nonverbal emotion-cue recognition in preteens.


'All Together Now' is a Fox sitcom about friends who unplug
Fox has green-lit a TV sitcom called All Together Now, which features a plot based on six friends in their late 20's who are keen to unplug from their mobile devices and interact with one another "for as long as they can stand it.".


Could you manage to survive the full digital detox?
By Vicki Notaro and Joe O'Shea August 29, 2014

See how they get on.

Tech Entrepreneur Says Unplug From Facebook And Experience People

By Melony Roy September 16, 2014
Experience People is a movement towards rejecting technology and behavior that creates digital dependency. Tech entrepreneur Brian Hiss is touring the country to create awareness and call for change.


How Much Time Do We Spend On Our Devices? These Facts Show It's Time For A Digital Detox

By  Rachel Moss September 11, 2014
But do we really need a detox at all? Is our technology addiction really that bad?
Well, actually, judging from the statistics.... yes, it really is. These shocking facts reveal the true extent of our reliance on technology.


Put away your smartphone and tablets!

Talk face-to-face, play some board games, and connect with one another. That's the message from 3 & Up Lounge in Plymouth.

"We have an anti-wifi zone. We let people boo each other," says Angela Space co-founder of the lounge.


Child Development


Experts warn screens affect children's development
By Gail Johnson October 15, 2014

Combine social media with TV, video games, and smartphones, and screen time is replacing human time more than ever. It may take a village to raise a child, but that village, increasingly digitized, is vanishing.


Parent-child interactions during traditional and computer storybook reading for children's comprehension: Implications for electronic storybook design

By Alexis R. Lauricellaa, Rachel Barrb, Sandra L. Calvertb Published online July 16, 2014 

This study examines how parents and children interact during traditional and computer storybook reading in their home. Thirty-nine, 4-year old children read both a traditional and a computer storybook with a parent. Parent responsiveness and child verbalizations were coded during each type of book reading experience


The Effects of Background Television on the Quantity and Quality of Child- Directed Speech by Parents 

By Tiffany A. Pempek, Heather L. Kirkorian & Daniel R. Anderson. Published online June 9, 2014

This study found in the presence of background TV, the number of words and utterances spoken per minute by the parent decreased as did the number of new words per minute. However, mean length of utterances did not differ. Because parent input is an important factor for language acquisition, development may be negatively affected by background TV exposure.


Scientists plug into a learning brain
August 27, 2014 in National Institutes of Health.
Learning is easier when it only requires nerve cells to rearrange existing patterns of activity than when the nerve cells have to generate new patterns, a study of monkeys has found. The scientists explored the brain's capacity to learn through recordings of electrical activity of brain cell networks.


Pliable brains mark adolescence - just as in babyhood 

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY September 7, 2014
Advice to parents from one of the foremost authorities on adolescence and young adulthood: New brain science shows that adolescence is a critical period of brain plasticity - almost as vital as the first three years of life.
Translation: Challenging and novel experiences can be very beneficial to young people and harmful ones particularly damaging to their development, says psychologist Laurence Steinberg of Temple University in Philadelphia.


8 everyday activities that fuel your child's brain development
By Brandpoint September 3, 2014
Seventy percent of a human's brain development happens during the first three years of life through play. Here are eight ways your child is developing right before your eyes, according to KinderCare Learning Centers, the nation's leading provider of early childhood education.


Food Keeps Children From Growing Too Fast; Nutrients Fuel Mental Growth Before Physical
By Dana Dovey August 25, 2014
To parents, it may seem as if your child grows up overnight. In reality, however, humans grow pretty slowly when compared to our other mammalian cousins, but scientists have struggled to prove why. That is until now. Researchers from Northwestern University have solved the evolutionary puzzle, finding that human children grow slowly to help ensure their developing brains always have enough energy.


Is too much screen time having a negative impact on our children's development?
By Avital Norman Nathman September 16, 2014
New research suggests that young children are more likely to know how to operate a cellphone before knowing how to either ride a bike or read.


How Technology Is Having A Serious Impact On Your Child's Development

The Huffington Post UK September 15, 2014
In an age where tablets, smartphones and laptops are an integral part of our daily lives and aid our children's ongoing learning and development, the research reveals that our tech-savvy children are actually growing up lacking key life skills. 


Childhood Disability


In autism, brain doesn't 'prune' extra synapses  

By Cindy del Rosario-Tapan-Columbia August 27, 2014

Neuroscientists have discovered extra synapses in the brains of children and adolescents with autism. The excess is due to a slowdown in the normal brain "pruning" process during development. 


Research Suggests Pre-natal Brain Injury May Increase Autism Risk
By Laurel Jo September 12, 2014
A research review published in the journal Neuron suggests that autism may begin with pre-natal brain injury to the cerebellum. Dr. Samuel Wang, associate professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, and his co-authors did a thorough review of existing research, and concluded that the cerebellum plays a larger role in early development than scientists previously believed.


Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with special needs as girls, new figures reveal
By Lizzie Parry for MailOnline Published September 4, 2014
New UK government figures show there are 1.5 million children in state schools classed as having a learning difficulty or disability. Almost one million boys have special educational needs compared to around 500,000 girls who have been diagnosed with SEN (special educational needs).


Social Media & Mobile Technology


The invisible addiction: Cell-phone activities and addiction among male and female college students

By James A. Roberts, Luc Honore Petnji Yaya, Chris Manolis August 26, 2014

The primary objective of the present study was to investigate which cell-phone activities are associated with cell-phone addiction. 


Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?

By Juana Summers August 28, 2014
Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions, according to new research out of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions and computers. 


Heavy use of cell phones linked to brain tumors - new study 

Published on September 5, 2014
A case controlled study in France confirms the possibility that using cell phones increases the risk of primary central nervous system tumors such as gliomas and meningiomas. 


Do cell phones cause brain tumors? 

By Raymond L. Daye September 13, 2014
What once was deemed to be in the realm of science fiction and spy thriller fantasy is now considered possible: cell phone usage may cause brain tumors.
Several studies have provided evidence to support that theory. Many others discount such findings as "bad science" and rationally flawed. 


Tools & Techniques


6 Toys To Boost Learning Skills In Toddlers 

Posted By Asha September 7, 2014

The brain development of a child starts right from the womb. It is very crucial that the mother does her part to help in this development. Kids, especially toddlers, are very inquisitive and want to know many things. Parents should encourage this and be patient to keep answering every question that the child asks. This will help the child to learn more and it will encourage them to ask more questions. These are all part of brain development.


READY TO LEARN: Developing potential as an aid to Learning
Posted Sierra Vista Herald September 11, 2014
Maximize YOUR potential as parents to provide a supportive atmosphere for your children developing their potential to become life-long learners.   


Video Games

Daily Violent Video Game Playing and Depression in Preadolescent Youth 

By Tortolero Susan R., Peskin Melissa F., Baumler Elizabeth R., Cuccaro Paula M., Elliott Marc N., Davies Susan L., Lewis Terri H., Banspach Stephen W., Kanouse David E., and Schuster Mark A. September 2014, 17(9): 609-615. doi:10.1089/cyber.2014.0091.

In this study, Tortelero et al, investigated whether daily violent video game playing over the past year is associated with a greater number of depressive symptoms among preadolescent youth, after controlling for several well-known correlates of depression among youth.


Mediators and Moderators of Long-term Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior
Practice, Thinking, and Action

By Douglas A. Gentile, PhD1; Dongdong Li, PhD2; Angeline Khoo, PhD2; Sara Prot, MA1; Craig A. Anderson, PhD1 Published May 2014 JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):450-457. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.63.

This study determines whether cognitive and/or emotional variables mediate the effect of violent video game play on aggression and whether the effect is moderated by age, sex, prior aggressiveness, or parental monitoring.


Media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. 

By Nikkelen, Sanne W. C.; Valkenburg, Patti M.; Huizinga, Mariette; Bushman, Brad J. September 2014  APA Pyschnet

The study identified 6 different hypotheses that may explain why media use in general and viewing fast-paced or violent media content might be related to 1 or more ADHD-related behaviors. Subsequently, they conducted a meta-analysis of 45 empirical studies investigating the relationship between media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents.


Electronic gaming and psychosocial adjustment. 

By Przybylski AK. Publsihed August 4, 2014
The rise of electronic games has driven both concerns and hopes regarding their potential to influence young people. Existing research identifies a series of isolated positive and negative effects, yet no research to date has examined the balance of these potential effects in a representative sample of children and adolescents. The objective of this study was to explore how time spent playing electronic games accounts for significant variation in positive and negative psychosocial adjustment using a representative cohort of children aged 10 to 15 years.


Researcher: Parents still too hard on kids playing video games 

Published on UUTISET August 20, 2014

Computer games have been a burning topic since their inception, but now the conversation surrounding the hobby is changing. In the same way that television and rock-music first caused a stir and were then accepted into popular culture, computer games and their effects should be understood, not feared by parents, says education specialist Mikko Merilšinen. 




Children, Adolescents, and Media in the U.S.: What are the Next Steps to Take? 

By Victor C Straburger. Published June 13, 2014 in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

Children and adolescents in the United States now spend >7 hours per day with a variety of different media. Little attention is paid by many parents, educators, and government officials to media effects on young people. This commentary suggests 10 different ways that American society can deal with the impact of media on children and adolescents more effectively.


Cyberbullying Victimization and Mental Health in Adolescents and the Moderating Role of Family Dinners
By Frank J. Elgar, PhD; Anthony Napoletano, BA; Grace Saul, BA; Melanie A. Dirks, PhD; Wendy Craig, PhD; V. Paul Poteat, PhD; Melissa Holt, PhD; Brian W. Koenig, MS JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 01, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1223
Cyberbullying relates to mental health and substance use problems in adolescents, even after their involvement in face-to-face bullying is taken into account. Although correlational, these results suggest that family dinners (ie, family contact and communication) are beneficial to adolescent mental health and may help protect adolescents from the harmful consequences of cyberbullying.


Face time vs. screen time: The technological impact on communication 

By Chandra Johnson Friday, August 29, 2014
But just because kids are accustomed to devices or may need them to do schoolwork is no reason not to lay down ground rules.
"Parents need to just suck it up and be strict about enforcement," Roberts said. "A lot of times this is an issue of a lack of oversight. Children will always challenge parents. That's their role."


Wild teenage behaviour linked to rapid cognitive change in the brain

Scientific studies suggest that differences in the prefrontal cortex could account for the impulsive actions of young people

By Arthur Allen for the Washington Post, published in the Guardian Weekly, September 5, 2014.
Teenagers can do the craziest things. They drive at high speeds. They stand around outside loud parties and smoke weed in front of the cops. They guzzle liquor. They insult their parents - or lie to them - and feel no remorse, because, of course, their parents are idiots


Tuning up childhood: The power of playing music in the lives of kids

By Lois M. Collins, Deseret News September 5, 2014
A study presented in August at the American Psychological Association's annual convention in Washington said making music, whether playing an instrument or singing, improves reading and language skills for disadvantaged children, offsetting some of the "academic gap" between low-income and higher-income families.

6 Things the Happiest Families All Have in Common
Eric Barker September 8, 2014 in Time
Family life is hectic. Most of us play it by ear and hope it works out well. Or maybe you haven't started a family yet but when you do you want to do it right.
Here are the facts from Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Secrets of Happy Families. 



New Perspective on Child Development in the Wireless Age 

Information on EMF by Liala Epstein, EMF Expert, Advanced Health Technologies, Canadian Distributor for EarthCalm Products.


Canadians for Safe Technology

Canadians 4 Safe Technology is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based coalition of parents, citizens and experts whose mission is to educate and inform Canadians and their policy makers about the dangers of the exposures to unsafe levels of radiation from technology and to work with all levels of government to create healthier communities for children and families from coast to coast.


Kawartha Safe Technology Initiative 

Kawartha Safe Technology Initiative represents informed citizens including parents, scientists, doctors, engineers, and educators. Our purpose is to raise awareness about, and advocate for, the use of safe, wired technology, rather than the use of wireless technology. This is based on mounting international evidence and warnings from governments, doctors and scientists alike, linking prolonged microwave radiation exposure to serious health effects, particularly for children. 

Chamakanda Blogs

Explore the world of the young child with writer, speaker and consultant Stephen Spitalny. Steve was a kindergarten teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School for 24 years and is a former member of the Board of WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America). His book "Connecting with Young Children: Educating the Will" was published in 2012. Steve now offers workshops, coaching and mentoring in the U.S. and around the world.


Fearless Parent

Fearless Parent is informed by the trends of our time: desire for scientific integrity, deep respect for nature, love and compassion, simplicity, vulnerability and authenticity, passionate activism, and a clear-eyed understanding about business, economics, and politics.


YouTube channel to help Moms balancing technology with childhood.

Great website and resources for parents of infants and toddlers, who want to learn more about the importance of physical and sensory experiences in the early years.

Check out The Children's Mental Health Learning Series, funded by The Government of Alberta, recently broadcasted its eighth session. The sessions posted are:
  • The Core Story of Child Development
  • From Youth at Risk to Kids at Hope
  • Healing the Traumatized Parent and Child
  • Resilience in ADHD: Promoting the Positives in Challenging Children
  • Vicarious Trauma for Front-Line Service Providers and Parents
  • Creating Healthy Relationships and Settings to Prevent Peer Bullying and Victimization
  • Ameliorating psycho-social risk among mothers with intellectual disabilities and their children
  • Baby Steps and Giant Leaps: Infant Preschool Mental Health


Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents

By Amy B. Jordan and Daniel Romer

Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents brings together many of the field's most important scholars and media professionals to present cutting-edge theory and empirical research on both the benefits and risks to youth development. It examines the role that media play in the every-day lives of young people and their families, and considers both traditional media such as television and movies as well as "new" digital media, such as video games, cell phones, and the Internet..


Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals
By Douglas A. Gentile to be published September 30, 2014
There are many opinions about media violence and children, but not all are supported by science. In this book, the top experts gather the latest results from 50 years of scientific study as the basis for a comprehensive, in-depth examination of the complex issues surrounding the effects of media violence of different types. Each chapter focuses on a particular issue of concern, including "hot" topics such as brain development, cyber-bullying, video games, and verbal aggression.


Kids in the Middle

How Children of Immigrants Negotiate Community Interactions for Their Families
By Vikki S. Katz Ph.D.
Kids in the Middle explores children's contributions to the family strategies that improve communication between their parents and U.S. schools, healthcare facilities, and social services, from the perspectives of children, parents, and the English-speaking service providers that interact with these families via children's assistance.


Tweening the Girl
The Crystallization of the Tween Market
By Natalie Coulter
Explores how in the 1980s young girls were given the label "tweens" and were heralded by marketers, and subsequently the news media, as one of "capitalism's most valuable customers". Traces the emergence of the tween during this era, as she slowly became known to the consumer marketplace as a lucrative customer, market, and audience.


Technology and Digital Media in the Early YearsTools for Teaching and Learning

Edited by Chip Donohue

This book provides strategies, theoretical frameworks, links to research evidence, descriptions of best practice, and resources to develop essential digital literacy knowledge, skills and experiences for early childhood educators in the digital age. 

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
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