Technology overload: Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 

| Cris Rowan

Digital dementia
High speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex (Christakis 2004, Small 2008). Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics stateinfants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’m calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. Please visit to view the Zone’in Fact Sheet for referenced research.

1. Rapid brain growth
Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

2. Delayed Development
Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010).

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 | Cris Rowan.


10 reasons to stay in child protection social work | Social Care Network

Insights based on the articles on Guardian Professional

The physical and emotional demands placed on you will highlight levels of personal resilience and skill that you never knew you had, or were capable of. When life throws other hardships at you, you’ll be amazed at your ability to resolve them. You will develop a high level of emotional intelligence, and perceptive skills that you never thought possible.

10 reasons to stay in child protection social work | Social Care Network | Guardian Professional.

Canadians spending more on taxes than basic needs, says report


According to a new study from the Fraser Institute, Canadians are paying more to the tax man than they are on basic necessities. The Fraser Institute study says that in 2013, the average Canadian family earned $77,381 and paid $32,369 in total taxes – or 41.8 per cent of income – compared with 36.1 per cent for food, shelter and clothing combined.Canadians spending more on taxes than basic needs, says report |

How cultures around the world think about parenting …


The crisis of American parenting, as anyone who has looked at the parenting section of a bookstore can attest, is that nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Yet despite this lack of confidence and apparent absence of knowledge, many American parents zealously believe that their choices carve out their children’s futures. Indeed, they seek the advice of expert after expert in the field in order to succeed at one goal: to raise the happiest, the most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future.

But what dangers lay in thinking that there is one “right” way to parent? How much of how we parent is actually dictated by our culture? How do the ways we parent express the essentialness of who we are, as a nation?

How cultures around the world think about parenting |

Tips on how to survive a midlife crisis …

| Life | Life & Style | Daily Express

Midlife is a time of transition for women: our children no longer rely on us and will soon leave home, leaving us to wonder “who am I now?”; we may face separation or divorce; our parents are ageing and we have health scares.

We can face all these challenges with heavy hearts and resentment, or we can embrace this new phase in our lives with enthusiasm.

One miserable day after the end of my 21-year marriage, years of tears and grief came flooding out of me. Then a text came in from a girlfriend with the words: “All I can say is it gets better. Go gently, be kind to yourself, and best knickers always.

Tips on how to survive a midlife crisis | Life | Life & Style | Daily Express.

How rising housing prices are breeding a new form of inequality

The Globe and Mail

Treating the $990,000 asking price as a mere suggestion, the buyers would eventually pay $1.3-million for the house – a 53-per-cent premium over what it sold for just three years ago.

This is part of the new reality in frothy markets, such as Toronto and Vancouver, where an average home will set you back more than $1-million.

The Bank of Canada fretted last week, in its semi-annual review of the health of the financial system, about all the various risks that could cause the country’s housing market to unravel. Among them: rising long-term interest rates, a sharp rise in unemployment, a condo price crash in Toronto, and a Chinesebanking crisis.

How rising housing prices are breeding a new form of inequality – The Globe and Mail.

Boys’ Relational Development

| Psychology Today

Empirical studies of boys offer evidence that their capacity and desire forclose, meaningful relationships persist beyond infancy, through childhood, and into adolescence. In her studies of adolescent boys’ friendships, psychologist Niobe Way acknowledges the obstacles that boys commonly encounter in their efforts to develop close friendships, including issues of trust and cultural stereotypes that denigrate emotional intimacy as feminine. However, Way also underscores the intense emotional intimacy in boys’ close friendships, especially during early and middle adolescence, and emphasizes how boys value and fight to maintain (but often end up losing) their emotional connections to others. Likewise, my studies of boys at early childhood and adolescence reveal their relational capabilities — including their ability to be self-aware, sensitive to others, and remarkably articulate and authentic in their self-expression — and their resistance against disconnections as they seek to relate to others in meaningful ways.

Boys’ Relational Development | Psychology Today.

Obesity to overtake smoking as worst heart disease risk factor

Health – CBC News

Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the most common risk factor for heart disease in Canada next year, a new study suggests. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in this country, killing more than 70,000 people a year. The study in Tuesday’s issue of CMAJ Open used a new model to estimate cardiovascular risk based on the lives of 22.5 million simulated Canadians aged 20 years and older. “The most interesting finding for us is this idea that obesity looks like it’s going to continue to increase and smoking looks like it’s going to continue to decrease. That’s going to play out in heart disease,” lead author Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, said in an interview.

Obesity to overtake smoking as worst heart disease risk factor – Health – CBC News.

Is obesity more of a marker of problems in broader society than a risk factor? (Howie McCormick/Associated Press)


Compassion Fatigue in Child Welfare

The New Social Worker Magazine,

Contributed by Stephanie Rakoczy, BSW,MSW, LSW

Imagine for a moment you are a police officer on a call in which violence is occurring. The people involved have been reported to have a history of drug use. On your way to this call, you are thinking about the potential dangers, including people who could currently be under the influence of a substance and physically harming others. You find out along the way that among the individuals included in this call are children on the scene who reside in this home. Upon your arrival on this scene, one of the individuals displays a weapon.

Although this scenario doesn’t always occur when you go into a situation, you have been trained and have the means to protect yourself. As a police officer, you are able to carry a gun and sometimes other weapons such as a taser gun and mace. Now imagine you arrive at this scene to discuss how this situation affects the safety of the children. You have no weapon as you did as a police officer, yet the same safety concerns are present. If you have not yet guessed, you are not the police officer—you are a child welfare social worker. You work in some of the most dangerous situations and touch on some of the most vulnerable issues with parents—their children. You do all of this and, yet, you are ultimately defenseless.

Compassion Fatigue in Child Welfare –