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Unplug - Don't Drug: A Critical Look at the Influence of Technology on Child Behavior With an Alternative Way of Responding Other Than Evaluation and Drugging (*)
By Cris Rowan

(*) First published Journal of Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry,Vol 12, No 1, 2010.
Rx pad

Working as a pediatric occupational therapist in school environments has provided me with a unique opportunity to observe an increasing phenomenon. Provision of adhd diagnoses and stimulant medication to children with attention deficit incidence is now 11%. Children who overuse and/or have probable addiction to entertainment technologies - specifically video game incidence, is also at 11% (Gentile 2009). Video game use causes frontal lobe atrophy, and hence attention deficit (Dunckley 2014). Are the health and education systems misdiagnosing and medicating video game addiction as adhd? Research continues to show little evidence of improvement in either emotional functioning or academic outcomes in either the medium or the long run (Raine ADHD Study 2010), with some studies indicating harm (Currie, 2014).  Sufficient research does exists which demonstrates that increased engagement in physical activity and nature, actually improve attention, learning, and behavior, such as would be found in gyms and outdoor playgrounds. Yet, the education system continues to refer these hyper, attention deficit children to the health system for mental health diagnosis and stimulant medication. Teachers, physicians, and pediatricians could alternatively work together with parents to first 'unplug' children with problematic behaviors from excessive use of TV, internet, cell phones, and video games, prior to costly and time consuming mental health diagnosis and medication.

Cris in the News

Huffington Post has recorded over 2.6 million Facebook likes for Cris Rowan's article 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

Foundation Series Workshop Schedule
May 30, 2016 - Victoria, BC
Disconnect to Reconnect workshop of parents on the imapct of technology on children, sponsored by St Margaret's School, Victoria.
Contact person: Jenn Nicholson 250-479-7171 ext. 2249

May 31, 2016 - Victoria, BC
Mixed Signals teachers workshop on the imapct of technology on child development and learning, sponsored by St Margaret's School, Victoria.
Contact person: Jenn Nicholson 250-479-7171 ext. 2249

Research and News Review

Childhood Development

By Gregory N. Bratman, Gretchen C. Daily, Benjamin J. Levy, James J. Gross Landscape and Urban Planning 138 (2015) 41-50
Research shows even brief interactions with nature can soothe our brains. 
YouTube Video published April 10, 2016
Lori Frome, M.Ed. shares her research and clinical experience with changing the developmental trajectory in young kids with autism by removing digital screens.

By Catherine Steiner-Adair Winter 2015
Research tells us that, at the most basic level, children's social skills may be in decline from spending less face-to-face time and more time on screens.

Families Managing Media exists to educate and encourage families to better understand and manage the effects of screen use on child development.
Social Media & Mobile Technology

By Richard Freed, April 12, 2016
New research is questioning the wisdom of allowing phones in school, as studies reveal this practice is putting students' learning and safety at risk.

Website for The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development founded in 2013 to foster a national dialogue about the impact of digital media on children and adolescents and on ways to improve children's interaction with this new media.

By Teensafe November 9, 2015
It's a parent's worst nightmare: finding out your child has made online contact with strangers posing as teenagers, has met those strangers in real life, and now your child has been sexually assaulted.
Technology Balance

Published on Kxan April 13, 2016
Child neurologist talks about Electronic Screen Syndrome and doing a screen fast. 

By Victoria Dunkley March 22, 2016
Strictly limiting screentime in children builds a better connected brain.

Facebook video Published on March 31, 2016
Filmmaker Delaney Ruston's 17-year-old son Chase, shares a solution he's come up with to help him stay focused while doing his homework.

By John Kriger March 24, 2016
Children need to learn how to respect technology, manage it and use it in a responsible manner.

April 13, 2016 Kxan
Research says a "fast" of sorts can help kids who may get too much screen time.

Video Games & Pornography
By Gail Dines April 8, 2016
Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.
By Paul M. Franco April 4, 2016
The Illusion system pairs a Samsung Gear VR headset with a haptic feedback suit, meant to simulate the feeling of human touch.

YouTube Video published April 10, 2016
Andrew Doan discusses the medical and clinical evidence for why video game content matters when considering mental health cases.

YouTube Video published April 10, 2016
Discussion by Andrew Doan, on the medical and clinical evidence for why pornography use and pornography addiction leads to mental health, physical problems, and sexual assault.

Devices like the Oculus Rift are promising to further strip us of the physical awareness that cognitive behavioral therapy teaches us is crucial to relaxation and calm.

By Madeline Vuong 

Technology Addictions & Psychotropic Meds
By Katrina Pascual, Tech Times April 1, 2016
Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and University of Waterloo in Canada found that a significantly high proportion of young people nowadays are gambling and in primarily unregulated avenues, raising concerns on how young they're getting into the habit.

TED Talk by Huu Kim Le
What happens when our children become engrossed in their on-line world and why is so hard to draw them away?

By Rob Goddier April 5, 2016
Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, but addiction to social media, rather than use alone, may explain the connection, new research suggests.
Tech Radiation

Published by Vienna Medical Association Fall 2015
Ten recommendations on safer cell phone use.

For more video examples of parents and students going on the record with their school boards speaking out against wireless radiation in the classroom.
National Geographic January 2016
When we get closer to nature-be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree-we do our overstressed brains a favor.

By By Nathalie Dortonne, CNN March 2, 2016
The the Breakup Shop launched in November, it has performed more than 90 breakups, and the site gets about 3,000 hits a day from around the world.

This May, the David Suzuki Foundation is challenging you and people around the world to join the 3030 Challenge by spending 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days. Their goal is simple: to reconnect human beings with nature for the sake of their health and mental well-being.

By Tracey Moore APRIL 03, 2016
As technology and machines consume more and more of life, perhaps theater can help us remember what it means to act like a human.

By Cris Rowan April 7, 2016
Check out my daughter Katie's designs in the Vancouver Fashion Show! She's only 21!!

By Debra W Soh March 27, 2016 in The Globe and Mail
Studies in sexology have shown that if a man likes something sexually, he really likes it, and probably always will. This behavior cannot be extinguished, just managed.
WifiWifi in Schools Update

Wi-Fi In Schools and Libraries

06:45 min video March 29, 2016
Wi-Fi In Classroom Liability Notice Served To New York School District | 15 March 2016 Board of Education Meeting Onteora Central School District. 

By Cecelia Doucette March 26, 2016
LETTER: Advisories on Wi-Fi Are Buried.

March 25, 2016
California Parents Are Protesting In the Streets With Signs.

By Camilla Rees March 20, 2016
Data plot of peak WiFi exposures experienced by a teacher and students at the North Kingstown, RI High School over two days, February 24, 2016 and February 26, 2016. View article as a PDF file here:

By Diane Hickey March 12, 2016 National Association for Children and Safe Technology
"Over 200 scientists have stated that our exposure to wireless radiation is an emerging public health crisis, damaging our DNA, leading to premature death."
"Why are you trustees moving ahead with installing wireless radiation in our children and teacher's classroom environment?"

By Beth March 11, 2016 Massachusetts
Fay School is the defendant in a Federal lawsuit. Backed by a physician's diagnoses, parents of a 12 year old student (named G in the lawsuit) have claimed that the school's strong wifi signals cause their son physical harm.

02:35 minute video March 10, 2016 CKNWS News
Canada Teachers Union Wants Wi-Fi Banned From Schools.

By Jack O'Dwyer March 7, 2016
Israel's Channel 1 national TV program aired a 17-minute segment Feb. 24 examining charges that electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi and other sources poses a danger to citizens, especially children.

Amir Borenstein February 24, 2016 No Rad Blog
Original aired in Hebrew on Israel national tv with English subtitles.

02:43 minutes video by Jill Stein March 6, 2016
We Should Not Be Subjecting Children's Brains to Wi-Fi, Screens In Schools.

By Jack O'Dwyer March 1, 2016
A high school student asked the Montgomery County Board Feb. 9 how it could allow virtually every classroom to have Wi-Fi connected computers at each desk "turning the school into a giant microwave" when the wired option makes this "simply unnecessary."

1 hour podcast March 2016 from
Three different perspectives on the risks to children from Wi-Fi in school are shared in this podcast.

01:53 minutes video by Jini Patel Thompson June 14, 2010
British military expert, Barrie Trower, tells us why wireless computers, cell phones, cordless phones and other microwave radiation devices are NOT safe for children.

24:08 minute video by Dr. Magda Havas December 4, 2011
Learn how the Wi-Fi routers used in schools differ from those in homes; learn about studies that have documented the adverse effects of this radiation on rats, blood cells, the heart, cancer; learn about alternatives to wireless routers that are cost effective, energy efficient and that don't emit microwave radiation.

Cell Phone Towers and Children

03:16 minutes video by David Gillotte President, Los Angeles County Firefighters' Union, Local 1014, March 31, 2016
25 Year Veteran Firefighter compares cell towers to cigarettes and calls for a halt to the cell antennas being built on fire stations. Cell towers should not be on schools either!

By Doug Ireland March 17, 2016 New Hampshire - Eagle-Tribune
Structure Would Be Erected Near School.

Medical / Scientific Advocacy

March 6, 2016
Guest: Dr. Martin Pall (01:58:12, Dr. Pall begins at 22:00 minutes)
The biological effects of EMF and Voltage Gated Calcium Channel (VGCC) mechanism are discussed during this interview.

By Sara Ficocelli January 14, 2016 Italy - Il Tirreno
Pediatricians in Italy ask to prohibit cell phones for children under 10 years old. The Italian Society for Preventive and Social Pediatrics raises the alarm: cell phones for children under 10 years old need to be prohibited. Loss of concentration, difficulty to learn and aggressiveness, according to the experts, are among the harmful effects for health that smartphone provoke in the smallest.

By Kevin Sampson in Activist Post May 27, 2014
" . . . these devices are a biohazard which need to be abolished." Dr. Martin Pall.

By Cris Rowan, Pediatric OT 
A research review regarding the impact of technology on child development, behavior, and academic performance.
"The ways in which we are educating and raising our children with technology are no longer sustainable."

38:46 minutes video by Dr. George Carlo published on
World-renowned Epidemiologist Dr. George Carlo provided a high impact presentation that exposed the dangers of living in the wireless age in a way that everyone could understand.

Scientific Research

By Barnes, F., Greenenbaum, B. March 16, 2016 IEEE Power Electronics Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1, pas 60-68 (abstract only)
Article addressing concerns about the direct effects of radiation on humans or other organisms.

By Quinn T. Ostrom, M.A., M.P.H., et al. 2016 in Neuro-Oncology Journal
Articles on this study:
Brain Tumours Now the Most Frequent Form of Cancer in U.S. Adolescents: Ground-breaking American Study
By Meg Sears, PhD March 7, 2016 Canada - Prevent Cancer Now
Malignant Brain Tumors Top Cause Of Cancer Deaths Among US Adolescents, Young Adults
By Rhondi Lee February 27, 2016 Tech Times (industry publication)

Legal / Legislation

By Dr. Joel Moskowitz March 23, 2016 in Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Articles / Various

03:21 minutes video by ZappiDee Doo Dah March 30, 2016 EMF Safety Network

By Catherine Klieber and Ed Friedman MArch 21, 2016
Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARDS) press release.

By Kim Arlington March 18, 2016 in The Sydney Morning Herald
One study found the average person looks at their smartphone 221 times per day - once every 4.3 minutes.

By Harry Fawcett March 6, 2016 Aljazeera, Science & Technology
Treatment centres planned where teenagers will read, play games and interact without their smartphones and computers.

01:47 minutes video August 17, 2015 The World Privacy Forum
Parents: Did you know that unless you act NOW, most schools can share detailed information such as your child's email, home address, and even their weight and date of birth? Schools can hand this so-called directory information to anyone without your consent.

03:01 minutes video July 7, 2015
Our relationship with nature is disappearing. That is what we found out when we talked to 3 generations and asked them one simple question: What did you like to do for fun as a kid?

By Louise Kuo Habakus October 22, 2014
Is anyone in your house dealing with health issues that just won't go away no matter what foods you eat, which supplements you take, or how many practitioners and therapies you run through?

Acknowledgement - The above links where first published in the NACST Newsletter March 2016.

Conferences & Courses
The congress will provide a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners across countries and disciplines to discuss latest findings on prevention, treatment, and risk factors of technology addiction. 

Brain Development and the Impact of Technology - Edmonton AB (or live webcast)  May 4, 2016
Alberta Early Years Learing Series 2015/16 with Dr. Kelly Dean Schwartz, Associate Professor, School and Applied Child Psychology (SACP), University of Calgary

How to empower individuals and communities who are faced with emerging priorities in mental health and addiction? A one day conference to explore key issues facing us as citizens, researchers, practitioners and policy makers.
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.
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. 2016