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.

Autism symptoms may disappear by age 3 if treated in infancy, study finds

The Globe and Mail

A new U.S. study has found that infants treated for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder showed no symptoms or signs of developmental delay by they time they reached age 3.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis MIND Institute, reinforces the importance of early detection and intervention, and highlights the role parents can take in their child’s treatment.

Autism symptoms may disappear by age 3 if treated in infancy, study finds – The Globe and Mail.

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 |

Technology Addicted Kids: The Why And How Of Tackling It

tech obsessed

‘Technology overload’ is something that makes us stressed and lethargic to many other things in day-to-day life. Though technology has made life easier, technology obsession has made life uneasy for many. It also necessitates to upgrade parenting skills. This article throws light into many of those challenges and alternatives. Read more…

Technology Addicted Kids: The Why And How Of Tackling It.

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.

Brain Changes in Autism Likely Start Before Birth | LiveScience

A discovery of distinct patches of altered brain cells in children with autism suggests the condition starts before birth, during the brain development stages in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.

In a study of postmortem brain tissue, researchers examined donated samples from 11 children with autism and 11 children without the condition ages 2 to16, and used special techniques to detect and visualize specific types of neurons in the brain’s outer layer, the cortex.

They found dense patches in the cortex containing irregular shaped neurons residing in the wrong cortical layers. These patches were 5 to 7 millimeters (about 0.2 inches) long, and were found in the frontal and temporal cortexes of 10 of the 11 children with autism, but only one of the 11 unaffected children, according to the study published today

Brain Changes in Autism Likely Start Before Birth | LiveScience.

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New Strategies to Calm a Child’s Mind …

Based on the Scientific American article:

It just may be one of the most underappreciated health problems in the U.S. today: As many as one in five children experience a mental disorder in a given year. The effects can be lasting, reducing their life satisfaction and productivity for years if their symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated.

For these reasons, in this special report, “Calming a Child’s Mind,” we highlight emerging therapies for the three most prevalent childhood disorders— anxiety, behavior or conduct disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  Psychologist Jerry Bubrick leads off the section with his account of helping several young patients overcome anxiety in “New Therapy Helps Children Wallop Their Worries.” In “Parent Training Can Improve Kids’ Behavior” staff editor Ingrid Wickelgren drops in on a parent-training program that helps moms and dads build healthier relationships with their recalcitrant offspring. And contributing editor Emily Laber-Warren explores a growing trend to treat signs of ADHD at ages four or five, before the disorder can be officially diagnosed. Read further…

New Strategies to Calm a Child’s Mind – Scientific American.