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What’s the right balance between online and real-world activity for children?



Renowned expert on child development and technology to hold workshops in Winnipeg
The biggest misconception about digital devices is that they are safe and harmless for children, says Cris Rowan, a renowned pediatric occupational therapist, biologist, certified sensory specialist, international speaker, and author of “Virtual Child.”

Rowan will be holding two workshops on technology’s impact on children on Monday, Nov. 6 in Winnipeg sponsored by Alloway Therapy – one workshop for health care professionals and educators, and one for parents and caregivers.

Rowan says the use of digital devices is impacting children’s physical, psychological and behavioural health, and their ability to have positive personal and familial relationships.

She says the effects of prolonged digital-device use on children depends on three factors:

  1. Age of first use
  2. Duration
  3. Content

“Younger children have not met many of their developmental milestones, and their bodies and brains mature at a rapid pace, making them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of technology,” says Rowan. “Long durations of usage, and violent, fast-paced content, increase the harm.”

Rowan recommends these Technology Use Guidelines for children and youth, which she formulated in consultation with Dr. Andrew Doan (neuroscientist and author of Hooked on Games), Dr. Hilarie Cash (Director of reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program and author of Video Games and Your Kids), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Canadian Pediatric Society:

How do you make a difference in the impact of digital devices on children?

Rowan says the one thing that can help you change the negative impact of technology use is to simply read and understand the research. “Once you know the facts, you’ll make better decisions to ensure a child’s future growth and success.”

If you’re interested in learning more, Alloway Therapy will be hosting two workshops with Cris Rowan on Monday, Nov. 6:
  1. A workshop for health care professionals and educators (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.): Disconnect to Reconnect: The impact of technology on healthy child development.
  2. A workshop for parents and caregivers (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.): Technology and Activity: What’s the right balance for your kids?

During these workshops, you’ll:

  1. Explore technology usage stats and expert guidelines.
  2. Identify four critical factors for optimizing child development, behaviour, and learning.
  3. Evaluate research on the impact of technology on children in four domains: physical, social, mental, and cognitive.
  4. Learn how to implement balanced technology-management strategies as a parent, health care professional and educator – home, clinic, school and community environments.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity! To sign up, visit allowaytherapy.com.
About Cris Rowan

Cris Rowan has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist for over 30 years. She specializes in the impact of technology on children, and promotes the “Balanced Technology Management” concept in which parents, health professionals, and educators manage balance between technology and healthy activity.

About 15 years ago, Rowan noticed a sharp rise in children with developmental delays and behaviour disorders. She started asking, “How much technology do you use?” and found that the children who had physical and mental health issues often were the same ones who used technology the most. Her research backed it up. Her goal is to get this research to parents, educators, and health professionals to ensure children have the best possible outcome in their lives.

Cris Rowan has earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and is a SIPT-certified sensory integration specialist. She is a member in good standing of the British Columbia College of Occupational Therapists, and an Approved Provider of Continuing Education with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and Autism Community Training.

For more information on Cris, visit zonein.ca.