Rewarding Students with Screens – Pros and cons for best practice in schools

Photo: AP Photo/The Juneau Empire, Michael Penn

Increased use of cell phones and tablets in schools has reached a point of no return, as evidenced by education government’s refusal to fund books. While parents like to think these devices are being used for educational purposes, quite often they are on social media or playing video games. Teens now log in an average of 9 hours per day of entertainment technologies at home, and then continue this mindless entertainment at school. Student gamers who arrive at school late, or not at all because of late night gaming, are generally unmotivated, sleep deprived, and attention deficit. Engaging these “gamer brains” has become a far-reaching and often desperate challenge for many teachers. Technology management policy in schools is either non-existent or grossly inconsistent between teachers, allowing students to do whatever they please with their devices. Defiance of authority is now endemic in schools, leaving teachers to increasingly barter school work for screen time. While using screens as a reward for work might provide ‘short term gain’, the ‘long term pain’ is dubious and can prove to be potentially harmful.

Dr. Andrew Doan M.D., PhD, a researcher on video game impact and author of “Hooked on Games” states “The research shows that digital media and video games are as potent as controlled narcotics in clinical medicine where we scrub burns off of burn-patients while they play video games. So therefore, are you comfortable with substituting digital media and video games with pot-laden brownies or crack-laden brownies to get your students to come to school?” A quick review of recent research and events will help teachers understand the cumulative effects of using screens as rewards in schools. A 2017 study of grade 8-12’s showed significant increased mental illness and suicide risk in teens with high screen usage, citing social media and gaming as causal factors. A 2010 meta-analysis of over 1000 studies showed video games increase incidence of aggression and oppositional defiance. In 2017 the World Health Organization designated “video game disorder” as a mental illness. Sleep deprivation was termed “epidemic” in children and youth in 2016, as was obesity and diabetes in 2015, both citing screen overuse as causal factors. In 2016 the National Toxicology Program completed preliminary studies showing cancer in rats exposed to wireless radiation. In 2017 France banned all cell phones from elementary and high school settings. As problematic behaviors and delays in child development soar, so does the number of students requiring support for learning difficulties. Education governments continued funding of support services for these students will quite literally ‘break the bank’, if it hasn’t already.

Understanding problematic student behavior and the rising incidence of defiance, poor motivation, attention deficit, and refusal to do work requires a systematic review of underlying causal factors; rewarding these behaviors with screens only confuses the issue. The following are just a few questions which might help teachers better understand underpinnings to behavior.

  1. What type of work are students refusing, all work or just specific academic tasks? Video games and social media immerse user in an artificial world which is easy and controllable. Reality is not.
  2. Is the bar just rightg. is the student’s academic skill level matched to realistic expectations? Heavy screen users usually struggle with work that is below perceived capacity to perform.
  3. When is refusal to do work worse, in the AM or PM? When does the student do their best work?
  4. What is the level of sleep deprivation of these students, and what is their attendance record; do they need a nap to perform better?
  5. What are the daily durations logged on screens by students, and what is the content they are watching? Heavy use gamers (> 3-4 hours per day) will be more defiant and possibly aggressive, so screen usage history is imperative when trying to comprehend refusal to do work.
  6. What is the fitness level of the student, and do they participate in any non-screen based activities, or are they usually sedentary? Each student should be able to identify 5 non-screen activities they do on a daily basis.
  7. Are students more compliant and motivated following movement or exercise? Many students are kept inside at recess when they would greatly benefit from outdoor exercise.

As we gain more information about why students are refusing to do work, we are better prepared to help them. Studies (and common sense) both indicate that using rewards rather than punitive measures can be an effective and efficient way to change behavior e.g. give them something, instead of taking something away. When considering what type of rewards are best practice, think about rewards that are valued by both student and teacher, for example extended recess or gym times, playing board games, or time spent in a leadership role with younger children e.g. recess or gym supervision, building an outdoor obstacle course. Rewarding students with screens not only lacks intrinsic value, it can prove harmful as evidenced by previously cited research. Students who refuse movement-based activities are common in today’s sedentary world resulting in poor fitness levels, lack of confidence in motor skills, and obesity. Consequently, teachers might consider identifying movement based activities that are within the skill set of students e.g. treadmills, elliptical, rowing machines, and then create conditions where the student wants to participate, without rewards. Use of devices which measure personal gains, as opposed to comparative measure with other students, help build intrinsic values e.g. step meters, heart monitors, loss of weight. Promoting intrinsic rewards that are healthy is always better than providing extrinsic reinforcers. Bottom line is rewarding a movement activity with sedentary reinforcers such as screens, is akin to pouring gas on a fire e.g. you’ve just negated the gains made with movement.

In summary, rewarding children with screens is never recommended, especially with students who are already overusing screens or showing signs of addiction e.g. preferring screens to healthy activities. It’s imperative for schools to first take a screen usage history including duration and content, as well as a sleep history. Second, try to determine the underlying causal factors for associated problematic behavior. Use this information to determine a behavior management plan that is reward based without use of screens. You can do this.

This article was written by Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and author of “Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children”. Cris works in school-based settings providing consultation and workshops on screen management to teachers and students. Cited research can be located at www.zonein.ca under Fact Sheet. Cris can be reached at info@zonein.ca.

The views expressed in this article are those of Dr. Andrew Doan’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

Tap, Click, Commercialism

Guest Blog by Kathy Kleckner

Children’s reading is reduced to little more than a pipeline for profits in a new book from Lisa Guernsey and Michael H. Levine, employees of think tanks funded by technology corporations and devoted to children as consumers of technology.

At the outset, the authors admit that their book, Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens is not about how children learn to read or how to teach children to read. Indeed. Their book is about promoting a new definition of literacy, an “uberliteracy,” that diminishes the importance of literature (the book), marginalizes the mutually reinforcing relationship between reading and the adult-child bond and abandons the goal of fostering a love of reading – all in exchange for increased dependency on technology use.

Guernsey and Levine articulate their vision of a new literacy in what they call “Readialand”, a fantasy based on their values and goals to describe an “uberliterate” future. In Readialand, reading becomes a soulless routine of staring into and touching screens, not an enjoyable experience in its own right; technology use is continuous, all human interaction is mediated by it. Having a book and reading it, or using a library are presented as mere possibilities via technology. It’s not even clear if text exists in “Readialand”, or if, in fact, reading is based entirely on pictography (icon choices). “Readialand” is an appropriately childish term used to describe an infantile experience without depth, effort or independence — where technology carries you around all day long, always “engaging”, unconsciously sad.

Currently, we place reading at the center of literacy, and technology is on the periphery, if it appears at all. In Readialand, technology is at the center of literacy, while reading is peripheral, if it happens at all. Readialand is the technology industry’s dream. Its realization as a common experience represents fortunes to be made by technology corporations at the expense of literacy and literature.

Only glancingly does this book about “growing readers” specifically consider literature and a child’s engagement with literature — and not because the authors regard literature as crucial and central in the development of a reader. They do not. It arises only incidentally when, for example, the “chief content officer” of an e-book corporation uses a piece of literature, the nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty”, in an e-book.

“Humpty Dumpty” is powerful for developing language through rhyme, but it also contributes to the social and emotional development of children. It’s an age-appropriate introduction for very young children to facts of life such as mortality, vulnerability, consequences, and the fact that some events do not end well and some problems cannot be fixed. All of this is lost on Guernsey and Levine. They want us to know that “an educational media expert” has taken this nursery rhyme and added the much-touted, touch-screen “interactivity” that here allows a child to transcend all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to reconstruct Humpty Dumpty with a few taps of the fingers. With a few taps, meaningful lessons are displaced by a stunning refocus of the story toward narcissism. Rather than presenting this as an example of how destructive and infantilizing technology use can be, Guernsey and Levine say this e-book works to “assist with meaning” and “to empower children”, all under a nonsensical heading: “Supporting Children’s Comprehension of the Plot”.

An important, stated belief in Tap, Click, Read is that technology is urgently needed to mitigate inequality. The authors say that poor children are getting “the short end of the stick” and “we cannot afford to ignore the affordances of technology, especially for disadvantaged children.” How exactly is technology related to advantages and disadvantages for children age 0-8? We are never told. Perhaps the only problem is that technology corporations have not yet accessed tax dollars to penetrate the market of poor people for technology consumption and maximizing corporate profits. This suspicion is confirmed when Guernsey and Levine point us to online preschools for poor children – 15 minutes a day on a computer. Online preschools. Here the authors apply a very old, inequality-entrenching, education policy standard: What never gets prescribed to wealthy children is exactly what poor children should have. Online preschools are wretched experiences for children, but they represent a gold mine of tax dollars for technology corporations. An important purpose of this book is to convince us that technology-based strategies are the only way or the best way to help poor kids read. Without data or comparative analysis, it is more accurate to say that the book wants us to think that tech solutions simply are, unthinkingly, the way.

Guernsey and Levine pose a number of important questions and concerns about technology use that encourage the reader to trust them. For example, they ask the most important question facing us: Is the enormous increase in the amount of time children spend with screens related to the ongoing decrease of time children spend reading? They recognize that there is a lack of conclusive research to tell us about the relationship between these changes. But rather than considering closely the research that does exist or calling for more research and due caution, they pre-emptively answer this question with a sweep of cynicism: We should not expect that parents spend time away from screens doing the activities proven to support early literacy skills, child development and family bonds (i.e. ECRR2) because there have always been parents “behaving inappropriately” and we would be wrong to assume that parents would want or do what their children need away from screens. A fundamental purpose of Tap, Click, Read is to lower our expectations about poor families benefiting from books and reading the way wealthy families often do then funnel what remains through — not away from — screens.

The chapter, “Why Adults Still Matter Most” focuses on adults as “guides on the side”, supplying and enabling technology consumption. The authors suggest that adults are to exist at a “new level”, doing for children only what computers cannot do. Adults still matter most for no other reason than because computers have not entirely replaced them. Accordingly, they state that “children who interact with technology while working with adults who can set good examples and guide them to new heights are receiving tremendous advantages.” This would be good if it were true. But no part of this claim is defined, explained or substantiated. They tell us
we should thrill in the adventure of the unknown, the “dazzling promise”, the “wonders of digitization”. They ask us to be disinterested in facts, pay no attention to human relationships and, instead, embrace a dream. Chapter by chapter, Guernsey and Levine drag the advertising industry’s old burden: create demand for things we don’t need and shape what people think they want.

In lieu of data or solid analysis to persuade, Tap, Click, Read is an elaborate marketing piece that relies on the language and techniques of advertising to sell ideas. Instead of outcomes predicted by research, they continually refer to “possibilities” and “potential’; strangely using terms like “literacy opportunities” instead of “reading”. Sunny optimism stands in for facts, and speculation is repeatedly referred to as “expertise.” In a spectacular collapse of the distinction between marketing and objectivity, they include an evaluation of apps that relies solely on the claims made by companies that profit from them. Tap, Click, Read is most grim where it dilutes the love of reading –critical to literacy and the future of the book– into a Pavlovian framework, (“motivation to read and learn”) centered on commercial characters, electronic badges and data collection.

A few bright spots in the book consider technology applications created for and used by parents. There is a texting service, for example, that encourages parents to play and talk with their children. Ironically, technology might help parents remember what technology overuse has caused them to forget.

This book is most valuable for studying how the ‘battle” between human and machine is not real, but the battle between humans and the corporate agenda is all too real. The Seattle Public Library recently got a black eye when its $2 million dollar marketing plans veered too far from public service into corporate culture that their public found “sleek, soulless and sad”. Libraries beware. Tap, Click, Read is ubersleek, ubersoulless and ubersad.

Librarians looking for a new, research-guided book that centers on what children need to become readers, human concerns and gives due consideration to current technologies, see the excellent, Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do by Daniel T. Willingham.

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Kathy Kleckner has a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and has served as a public librarian in Minnesota for 12 years.  She is passionate about the science of supporting early literacy skill development, the love of reading and the parent-child bond. She believes that the parent-child bond is critical to supporting all children’s learning  through all stages of development and is deeply concerned about technology use weakening that bond to the detriment of children, literacy and family life.

Tech Guilt – Is feeling guilty about your child’s technology overuse enough?

Following a recent media interview on the negative impact of technology on children, the reporter stated that she “felt guilty” about letting her children use so much technology. As I thought about how to respond, I became aware of my own desire to dismiss or alternatively, to validate her guilt. I wanted to help this Mom to feel better, but in dismissing her shame, I realized I was perpetuating a pervasive and immobilizing condition – Tech Guilt. Parents who perpetually feel guilty about their own (and their children’s) technology overuse, are essentially disabling themselves from moving forward toward better technology management practices. So if Tech Guilt is truly a useless and unproductive emotion resulting in ‘inaction’, why do parents do it so much? It’s almost as if feeling guilty about tech overuse is enough, that it somehow releases parents from taking actionable and productive steps toward tech reduction. Tech Guilt essentially provides parents with a temporary ‘relief’ in the unending saga of escalating child tech overuse, or does it? This article intends to explore the origins of Tech Guilt in parents, and proposes ten progressive steps toward moving beyond Tech Guilt toward actions that will ensure sustainable futures for all children.

Research knowledge about the negative effects of technology in children is prolific, but yet not well known or accepted amongst parents, as well as many teachers and health professionals. I believe the salient reason for adult refusal to accept the fact that screens harm children, is their perceived inability to do anything about it. So they feel guilty for awhile, and self-treat that guilt with using more tech in an effort to forget, if only for awhile, the irreparable damage these devices are doing to their children. Ten Steps to reduce use of tech.  Parents who know screens are harmful but continue to allow their children to overuse, report they resist Tech Guilt by telling themselves “I’ll deal with screen overuse later”, “It’s probably not that bad”, “I let my kids use screens because I need time for myself!” and even “My child’s problem behavior doesn’t have anything to do with screens, they must have a mental illness”. These thoughts act as pacifiers, and actively prevent parents from taking steps toward increasing engagement in healthy activities which would replace tech.

So how to move beyond Tech Guilt toward actionable steps to manage balance between technology and healthy activities? The following “Ten Steps to Unplug Your Family from Technology” will enable parents, teachers and health professionals to get on a healthy track, and create sustainable futures for children. Check out the new Tech Talks for Families 10 series webinars, and Tech Talks for Therapists 5 series webinars, to learn how to manage balance between healthy activities and technology including  a three-day family unplug! 

  1. BECOME INFORMED regarding the effects of technology on child development and learning.

Technology overuse is causality associated with child attention problems, poor academics, aggression, family conflict, impaired sleep, developmental delays, attachment disorders, depression, anxiety, impaired body image, obesity and early sexuality.  The signs of technology addiction are increasing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, unintended use, persistent desire, extended usage, displacement of other activities, and continued use when want to stop.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours per day of combined technology use, yet elementary children use on average eight hours per day. 

Need Help?  Get informed by checking out the Zone’in website and watch the Suffer the Child and Reality Check videos, review the research on the Fact Sheet,  read articles and comment on the Moving to Learn blog, sign up for the free Zone’in Child Development Series Newsletter, or order Cris Rowan’s book Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children.

  1. DISCONNECT YOURSELF and be available for your children.

As child technology use patterns that of their parents, technology addicted children are likely to live in a high technology usage household.  Parents need to determine how much technology is too much, and set limits.  Parents should then model balancing technology use with other activities. Schools could sponsor a Tech Unplug week where classrooms compete to reduce technology use in home and school, or have one day per week with NO TECH. 

Need help?  The Zone’in Mixed Signals workshop and webinar on technology balance offers the participants research based information regarding school, family, and community Balanced technology management strategies. This workshop/webinar comes with the complimentary Tech Tool Kit complete with screens, questionnaires, schedules, and a variety of strategies to help reduce the use of technology.

  1. RECONNECT by designating “sacred time” with each other. 

The underlying causal factor for addiction is fear of human connection or “social anxiety”, and results from poor parent/child attachment formation. Parents and teachers might benefit from exploring past experiences of attachment with their own parents, and think about how this experience may have affected how they relate to their own child or students. Designation of “sacred time” in the day with no technology (meals, in the car, before bedtime, and holidays) is a first start toward reconnecting with your children.

Need help?  Zone’in A Cracked Foundation workshop/webinar on attachment and addictions offers participants information regarding parent/child attachment and addictions, and profiles Attachment and Addiction Questionnaires. 

  1. EXPLORE ALTERNATIVES to technology. 

Not all children are interested in or value the same activities as adults.  Fostering a tolerance for differences and respecting individual preferences can go a long way toward promoting children’s motivation to unplug.

Need Help?  Have each family member make a list of ten realistic, inexpensive things to do by themselves, with a friend, with another family member, with a pet, indoors, and outdoors.  Help children create a game, song, joke, poem, story or dance.  Buy a book of games, create a story night, play wrestle, make up a play, build a fort of couch cushions, or family cooking night are but a few of a myriad of alternatives to technology use found in the Tech Tool Kit.

  1. ENHANCE SKILLS prior to unplugging your family.

Children with technology addictions have poorly developed skills in other areas. Self-identity, social skill, relationship to nature, and sense of spirit, are often disconnected in children who overuse tech. Drastic or sudden reduction in technology with a child who has an addiction, will result in chaos at school and home, as the child is now alienated from what has become their whole meaning for living. Help build performance skills by exposing children to alternate activities that are “just right challenge”, not too hard, not too easy, to build skill. 

Need help?  Zone’in offers the new Unplug’in Game for school and home settings, a developmental tool to build performance skills and confidence prior to a tech unplug.

  1. ENHANCE DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING through engagement in the four critical factors for child development – movement, touch, human connection, and nature.
Click image to enlarge.

Children need to rough and tumble play 2-3 hours per day and spend time connecting with their parents, teachers and other children, in order to achieve optimal physical and mental health. Rough and tumble play promotes adequate sensory and motor development of the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems needed for achieving literacy in printing, reading and math, as well as paying attention and learning.

Need help?  Zone’in Harnessing Energy workshop/webinar and accompanying Zone’in Program offer participants information regarding sensory and motor development.

  1. ADDRESS PERCEPTIONS OF SAFETY – Go Outside! Go Green!

Parents’ perceptions of safety correlate with child time indoors in front of TV, internet, tablets, and video games e.g. if a parent perceives the world as unsafe, that child will spend more time indoors using technology. Fear of litigation in schools and communities, has drastically changed playgrounds, making them boring and unchallenging for most children. Outdoor rough and tumble play is a biological need for children, and has been proven to significantly reduce problematic behaviors, aggression, and attention deficit, as well as improve depression and anxiety.

Need help?  Zone’in Why Children Can’t Sit Still workshop/webinar offers participants the Nature Directive and Playground Design handouts to enhance attention restoration through increasing access to nature, and enhance development through creating “sensational” playgrounds. 

  1. CREATE INDIVIDUAL ROLES and foster independence.

50 years ago, children had family jobs and chores that if were not performed, threatened the very sustainability of the family. While life was tough, children had a strong sense of who they were, and their purpose in the family. Children benefit from knowing their role in the big picture, and self-esteem comes from being independently productive. Realistic challenges and expectations by parents and teachers promote defined roles for children, and provide a structure where they can begin to try out new skills. When faced with a task that is perceived to be beyond a child’s skill level, frustration and poor self-esteem will be the result.

Need Help?  Zone’in Foundation Series Workshops/Webinars offers participants the Child Inner Drive Directive for Schools and Homes – or – purchase the new Unplug’in Game to establish self-identity, roles, and a sense of purpose in life.

  1. SCHEDULE BALANCE between technology use and activities. 

Follow the Zone’in Concept of an hour of ‘energy in’ (technology use) equals an hour of ‘energy out’ (movement, touch, connection, and nature).  Make up a weekly schedule with designated time for technology balanced with time for healthy activity. When beginning the Tech Unplug, it’s important to alternate between familiar, predictable, structured activities and novel activities. The parent and teacher’s job is to skillfully dance the child between predictability and novelty during the initial unplug period. Children can’t do what they haven’t been taught, so need to teach children how to explore new activities, while providing predictable structure and consistency. 

Need Help?  Zone’in Programs Inc. offers parents, teachers and therapists’ products, workshops, consultation and training to help address child technology addictions. See www.zonein.ca for more unplug information and suggestions, or purchase the Zone’in Tech Tool Kit for help..

  1. LINK CORPORATIONS TO COMMUNITY to create sustainable futures for children!

Zone’in Programs Inc. offers an invitation to all corporations involved in technology production, to re-direct a percentage of their gross profits back into building healthy communities.  Awesome playgrounds, free recreation passes for children, building safe parks and nature trails, and school camping trips are but a few sustainability initiatives to ensure children stay unplugged.

Need help?  Zone’in Diminishing Returns workshop/webinar offers participants the Productivity Designs for Classroom and Gym handouts to improve student productivity and learning, and provides ideas for attaining technology corporate funding for playgrounds and exercise equipment. Check out www.zonein.ca for more information on the Linking Corporations to Community Initiative. 

Technology Use Guidelines for Children and Youth

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Literacy by Grade 3 – Common sense screen management in schools.

In an average month, I receive 10-15 emails from teachers who express grave concerns regarding unrestricted use of technology in schools (see below email from a teacher in Maryland). These emails not only report problematic issues with personal device use such as cell phones, but also overuse of entertainment media including cartoons and movies, as well as dubious use of non-evidenced education technology (edtech). The bulk of these emails indicate pressure is being exerted on teachers and principals by district superintendents, school boards and education government to use more technology and employ less of the traditional “tried and true” evidenced based teaching methods. Technology initiatives are not ‘suggested’ to teachers but are ‘enforced’, either directly by telling the teacher what technology to use, or indirectly through refusal to fund books and other non-tech teaching tools. Not having access to books has resulted in teachers and principals asking students to bring their own personal devices to school e.g. cell phones, tablets and computers. Use of these devices as learning tools require internet access causing significant management issues when students continually access long durations of inappropriate content including violent video games, pornography, sexting, and bullying. Technology corporations such as Microsoft and Google Education are advising school boards and governments regarding technology usage (see International Society for Technology in Education), posing significant conflict of interest and misuse of faulty industry driven research. While edtech inherently offers ‘promise’ for student learning, current mismanagement and total lack of supporting research indicates ‘peril’ for both teachers and students. This article offers schools guidelines to ensure students get what they need to grow and succeed, prior to use of potentially harmful technologies.

The past decade was marked by rising use of mobile technology by children in homes and schools, with studies showing concurrent decline in child physical 1,2 and mental health 3. Our children have never been sicker than they are today, yet few parents or teachers realize the connection between overuse of technology and poor health. One in three children now enter school developmentally vulnerable 4, one in four are obese or overweight 5,6, one in seven have a diagnosed mental illness 7, and one in ten are addicted to technology 8. As problematic behaviors associated with technology overuse escalate, classroom management becomes increasingly difficult, yet schools continue to increase unrestricted student technology use. In 2002/14/16 and in 2010 the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society respectively released policy stating the following technology limits: no technology exposure for 0-2 years, 1 hour/day for 3-5 years, and 2 hours/day 6-18 years, yet the average child uses 4-5 times that amount of entertainment technology before they even get to school. Additional school-based education technology usage is estimated to average 1-3 hours per day. Schools and administrations have not only sanctioned escalating usage, but are encouraging teachers and students to use more and more technology. Choosing to ignore policies put in place by two of the world’s largest pediatric research organizations who represent all the pediatricians in North America, is not only unethical and unprofessional, but could be considered a form of neglect and/or abuse of a very vulnerable population, children.

Creating technology management policy for schools is long overdue, and much needed to protect students not only from physical harm, but also from wasting valuable human resources and time spent on what is considered by many educators a “dead end”. Ensuring that students attain foundational basic literacy skills prior to grade 3 is paramount and urgent. Using only evidence based edtech which shows solid long term and efficacious outcomes after grade 3, is a necessary best practice standard. Removing all cell phones and other personal technology devices from school environments, and reinstatement of books and chalk boards, is not only what students request, but is also an initiative which is backed by years of solid research. Keeping students safe and promoting healthy learning environments, should be first and foremost every schools mandate and mission. Literacy by Grade 3 is designed to bring forward much needed questions and discussion by teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards and education governments who want their students to succeed.

Below are five Literacy by Grade 3 considerations containing research evidenced facts which can be used to guide schools toward better technology management, as well as judicious use of edtech and entertainment media in school settings. It is recommended that each school district develop best practice management for use of technology in schools. Reducing the perils associated with student technology use, allows for improved understanding and access to the promise inherent in education technology. Ensuring printing, reading and numerical literacy by grade 3, will create the necessary literacy foundation for eventual student success.

  1. Prohibit Use of Cell Phones in Schools

Use of cell phones in schools has risen steadily since their inception in 2010, and management of this technology by teachers is becoming increasingly problematic. Students are accessing inappropriate content on their cell phones including video games, pornography, Facebook, texting, sexting, and cyberbullying. Studies show multitasking (using multiple devices at one time) reduces student productivity 12 and is harmful to physical and mental health 13. Having a cell phone on the desk during class even though not in use, has been shown to reduce grades 14, and 92% of students report that when studying to achieve optimal concentration and memory, they prefer books to screens 15. Cell phones emit what is now determined to be harmful radiation 16 which is linked to cancer as well as problematic behaviours 3 in children and youth, with observed growing trend to refer these students to medical professionals to diagnose and medicate 17 these behaviors.

  1. Demand Edtech Research Evidence

Edtech has no long term studies, is not evidence based, and lacks proven outcomes 24. Industry driven edtech studies which report positive outcomes, are rife with conflict of interest and bias resulting in misinterpretation and misrepresentation of data. Edtech requires reliable and reproducible government or university conducted studies which meet government determined ‘high quality research criteria’, and prove not only short term benefits but also long term efficacy to qualify for use in schools. OECD reports that countries with the highest PISA scores use no more than 1 hour of edtech per day (China, South Korea), and those with the lowest PISA scores use the most edtech 23. Canada dropped out of the top ten PISA rankings in 2012, with no improvement in 2015 status. Termed the ‘Learning Paradox’ e.g. the more technology you use it, the less likely you are to learn, indicates that today’s students are quite possibly only as smart as their device. Until quality long term research proves edtech is an effective educational tool to promote and achieve learning outcomes, schools should stop educational funding for non-evidence based, industry driven education technologies.

  1. Promote Healthy Learning Environments

Foundations for child development and learning include movement, touch, human connection, and nature. Technology use prohibits child engagement in these 4 factors, and consequently has proven to be detrimental to development and learning 21. Edtech is sedentary, overstimulating and isolates students from their teachers and peers resulting in impaired development, sleep deprivation, mental illness, attention deficit, lack of self-regulation, and few social skills 17. Counterbalance initiatives to use of edtech should include engagement in movement and nature activities. Research shows movement not only improves cardiovascular fitness, but also builds strong core needed for motor coordination, which in turn improves printing and reading literacy 25,26. 45 minutes of exercise using equipment such as treadmill, bike, elliptical, and rowing machines prior to doing school work, have proven to improve grades, mood, attention, and ease of learning 27. Access to as little as 20 minutes per day of “green space” 28,29 found in nature, has proven to significantly reduce adhd and improve attention. Standing instead of sitting, outdoor class, gym station obstacle courses, and challenging teen playgrounds 30 would effectively counterbalance edtech, and enhance development, behavior and learning.

  1. Promote Literacy

Remember the 3 R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic? Teaching printing is now passé, and reading and math instruction are increasingly relegated to 2-dimentional screens. Yet whenever a child is tested prior to age 12 years, on any subject, they’re expected to be proficient with printing. When children learn to print, they create a visual memory for later letter recognition for reading. When they practice printing over and over, their printing speeds get fast, allowing them to free up their brains for spelling, sentence production, and math. Not teaching children to print ensures illiteracy and academic failure. If adults were told to print all day every day in a foreign language, but not given proper instruction or teaching in the mechanics of written language production, how long would they continue this insane task, yet this is what we expect of our students? Students who do not demonstrate subconscious motor planning for letters and numbers by grade 3, are very slow printers, hate school, and resist all subjects requiring printing output. Edtech is inadequate in achieving foundations 22 for printing, reading, or math literacy which require sensory, motor and spatial activation. Should children achieve developmental foundations for literacy, self-regulation, social skills, and attention ability by the end of grade 3, approved and safe use of edtech is appropriate by grade 4.

  1. Ensure Student Safety

Safety standards for children in schools regarding screen time and wireless radiation either do not exist, or do not concur with current scientific evidence 9. The rapidity of child brain and body development poses increased risks for children, indicating immediate measures be taken in school environments to protect children. There are no studies which demonstrate wireless radiation endemic in mobile technology is safe for humans, with mounting research now indicating harm 10. Cancer incidence in teens has risen 25% over the past 38 years 11. In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer at WHO categorized wireless radiation 18 emitted from cell phones, tablets, routers, cell towers etc. as a Group 2B (possible) carcinogen. The U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s 25 million-dollar National Toxicology Program preliminary findings released in May 2016 showed increased incidence of cancer 10 in male mice and rats following 10 hour/day wireless exposure. Recent systematic study of cancer epidemiology 19 research demonstrated 1.33 times greater brain cancer risk with cell phone use greater than 10-year duration when low quality or biased studies are eliminated. Until proven safe, the Environmental Health Trust’s Precautionary Principle 20 calling for removal of wireless radiation from schools must be applied.

Email from Patricia Patterson to Cris Rowan May 2017
(304)274-2109
Patapat51@comcast.net

I have read with a heavy heart the articles about too much technology for our young people.  I am a retired school teacher, and have done some substituting over the past three years, and teachers are greatly disturbed by the fact they are not allowed to teach.   The students are to discover all answers, all information, and this is from 4th grade on in the Washington County Public Schools, Hagerstown, MD on their electronic devices.

ALL students have I-pads in middle and high school.  Teachers are not to teach, there are no textbooks, students have assignments given when teachers are out, but they choose to play games, take pictures, watch you tube, and air-drop text to their buddies.  I am learning to walk around and make sure they at least start in the app where they are assigned.  They have no keyboarding skills, since it was a 3rd grade class or maybe 4th that was just never reinforced, so they hunt, peck, and you know the rest yet they are expected to type almost every assignment they do.

Aggression toward adults as well as classmates is the common behavior.  Basic Skills are frowned upon.  You google when you don’t know something, but most of the time, who cares, is their attitude.  They add 7 and 5 with the calculator in middle school, it is rarely the known facts unless parents have seen to it that it happens.

Patricia goes on to request Cris Rowan to write to Hagerstown district superintendent to “put a stop to this madness”. Letter completed May 27, 2017.

Research References

  1. Houtrow, A. J., Larson K., Olson, L. M., Newacheck, P. W., Halfon, N. (2014). Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001-2011. Pediatrics. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/08/12/peds.2014-0594.abstract
  2. Dunckley, V. L. (2014). Gray matters: too much screen time damages the brain. Psychology Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain
  3. Divan HA et al. Cell phone use and behavioral problems in young children. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2012, Jun;66(6):524-9.
  4. Healthy Early Learning Partnership – Early Development Inventory Maps for British Columbia, University of British Columbia; retrieved on March 23, 2017 from http://www.edibc2016.ca/
  5. Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Best Practices Portal. Government of Canada. Retrieved on March 23. 2017 from: http://cbpp-pcpe.phac-aspc.gc.ca/public-health-topics/healthy-weights-children/
  6. Jackson, D. M., Djafarian, K., Stewart, J. & Speakman, J. R. (2009). Increased television viewing is associated with elevated body fatness but not with lower energy expenditure in children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89, 1031-1036. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26746.
  7. Waddell C. Improving the Mental Health of Young Children. Children’s Health Policy Centre, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC, Canada. 2007. Available at: http://www.firstcallbc.org/pdfs/Communities/4-alliance.pdf.
  8. Gentile D. Pathological Video-Game Use Among Youth Ages 8 to 18. Journal of Psychological Science. 2009; 3(2):1-9
  9. Friesen, M. Canadians for Safe Technology. Wi-Fi in Canadian Schools: A Health and Safety Issue. Canadians for Safe Technology. November 28, 2015. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://oldsite.c4st.org/WiFiCanadianSchools
  10. National Toxicology Program, S. Department of Health and Human Services. Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD Rats (Whole Body Exposure). May 27, 2017. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/index.html
  11. Burkhamer, J., Kriebel, D. & Clapp, R. (2017). The increasing role of adolescent cancer risk in the U.S. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0172986. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172986
  12. Uncapher, M. R., Thieu, M. K. & Wagner, A. D. (2015). Media Multi-tasking and Memory: Differences in Working Memory and Long-term Memory. Psychonomic Bull Rev. DOI 10.3758/s13423-015-0907-3
  13. Becker, M. W., Alzahabi, R. & Hopwood, C. J. (2012). Media Multi-tasking is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. 16(2). DOI: 1089/cyber.2012.0291
  14. Rosen, L. (2012). Helping your children study amidst distracting technologies. Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-rosen/kids-and-technology_b_2101414.html
  15. Robb, A. (2015). 92% of college students prefer reading print books to E-Readers. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://newrepublic.com/article/120765/naomi-barons-words-onscreen-fate-reading-digital-world
  16. Carlberg, M. & Hardell, L. (2017). Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation. BioMed Research International. Vol 2017. Article ID 9218486, 17 pages. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9218486
  17. Rowan, C. (2010). 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. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. 12 (1): 60-67.
  18. World Health Organization – International Agency for Research on Cancer, Press Release No. 208, May 31, 2011. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
  19. Prasad, M., Kathuria, P., Nair, P., Kumar, A., Prasad, K. (2017). Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumors: a systematic review of association between study quality, source of funding, and research outcomes, Neurological Sciences. doi:10.1007/s10072-017-2850-8
  20. Volkow, N. (2015). Best Practices with Wireless Radiation for Schools – A Review of Global Advisories. Environmental Health Trust.
  21. Rowan, C (2013). The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child. Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/technology-children-negative-impact_b_3343245.html
  22. Rowan, C. (2013) Ten Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html
  23. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – New approach needed to deliver on technology’s potential in schools. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/new-approach-needed-to-deliver-on-technologys-potential-in-schools.htm
  24. Brown, E. A. (2017). Research lacks evidence on device use, apps for young children. Future of Ed Tech Newsletter. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://edtechenews.fetc.org/research-lacks-evidence-on-device-use-apps-for-young-children/
  25. Rowan, C. (2012). Children who don’t move, can’t learn. Moving to Learn blog. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://movingtolearn.ca/2012/children-who-dont-move-cant-learn
  26. Braswell J, Rine R. Evidence that vestibular hypofunction affects reading acuity in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2006; 70 (11): 1957-1965.
  27. Ratey JJ, Hagerman E (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Little, Brown and Company, New York.
  28. Kuo FE, Faber Taylor A. Children with Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After a Walk in the Park. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2009; 12; 402: originally published online Aug 25, 2008.
  29. Louv, R. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books; 2005.
  30. Rowan, C. (2013). Teen Playgrounds – Improving youth health, learning, behavior, and socialization. Moving to Learn Blog. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://movingtolearn.ca/2013/teen-playgrounds-improving-youth-health-learning-behavior-and-socialization
  31. Rowan, C (2010). Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children. Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Inc. Press. Vancouver, BC Canada.
  32. Common Sense Media. (2013). Zero to Eight: Children’s media use in America. 1-38. Retrieved from: www.commonsensemedia.org/ research/zero-eight-childrens-media-use-america.
  33. Common Sense Media. (2015). Landmark Report: U.S. Teens Use and Average of Nine Hours of Media Per Day, Tweens Use Six Hours.
  34. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Children, adolescents, and the media: policy statement. Pediatrics, 132(5), 958-961. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2656.
  35. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Letter to Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved from:  http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520941318.
  36. CBC News. (March 22, 2017). Federal Budget 2017: $50 million over 2 years to teach Canadian children how to code. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-budget-highlights-2017-1.4032898

Author Information

Cris Rowan BScOT, BScBI, SIPT. Pediatric Occupational Therapist and biologist. Clinical Instructor at Pacific University Portland Oregon for OT doctoral course on impact of technology on children. Member of the Institute for Digital Media and Child Development – Parental Education and Clinical Research CAOT Sensory Processing Disorder – BC Rep. Performed over 300 workshops for health and education professionals and parents. Published book Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children, as well as numerous articles in international journals. Presented at numerous national and international conferences. Cris can be reached at crowan@zonein.ca.

 

Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation

The Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation was emailed to Canada’s Prime Minister and Canadian provincial Ministers of Health and Education, as well as Health Canada and The Council of Education Ministers, Canada on March 26, 2017 for comment and consideration (click here to see replies).

Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation

By Cris Rowan, Dr. Lennart Hardell, Tarmo Koppel, Sveinn Kjartansson & Stella Sæmundsdóttir

The past decade was marked by rising use of mobile technology by children in homes and schools, with studies showing concurrent decline in child physical1,2 and mental health3. One in three children enter school developmentally vulnerable4, one in four are obese or overweight5,6, one in seven have a diagnosed mental illness7, and one in ten are addicted to technology8. As problematic behaviors escalate and classroom management becomes increasingly difficult, schools continue to increase unmanaged student technology use. Safety standards for children in schools regarding screen time and wireless radiation either do not exist, or do not concur with current scientific evidence9. There are no studies which demonstrate wireless radiation endemic in mobile technology is safe for humans, with mounting research now indicating harm10. Cancer incidence in teens has risen 25% over the past 38 years11. The rapidity of child development poses increased risks for children, indicating immediate measures be taken in school environments to protect children. This Safe Schools Policy will serve as an education industry benchmark standard in ensuring productive and sustainable futures for all children.

Safe Technology Policy for Schools 
1.     Prohibit all cell phones from school environments.
2.     Replace wireless with wired technology; relocate cell phone towers. 
3.     Ensure literacy achieved grades K-3; prohibit all educational technology until grade 4.
4.     Limit education technology duration to less than 1 hour/day; education technology content should pass ‘high quality research’ criteria.  
5.     Requirements for outdoor physical activity should increase relative to education technology use
Safe Technology Procedures for Schools
ACTION 1 – BAN CELL PHONES
Prohibit all cell phones from school environments.
Rationale
Use of cell phones in schools has risen steadily since their inception in 2010, and management of this technology by teachers is becoming increasingly problematic. Students are accessing inappropriate content on their cell phones including video games, pornography, Facebook, texting, sexting, and cyberbullying. Studies show multitasking (using multiple devices at one time) reduces student productivity12 and is harmful to physical and mental health13. Having a cell phone on the desk during class even though not in use, has been shown to reduce grades14, and 92% of students report that when studying, they prefer books to screens15. Cell phones emit what is now determined to be harmful radiation16 which is linked to cancer as well as problematic behaviours3 in children, with observed growing trend to diagnose and medicate17 these behaviors. Current research indicates that this ongoing and relentless screen and radiation experimentation on students in schools, needs to stop now.
ACTION 2 – GO WIRED
Replace all wireless devices including tablets, routers, cell towers, and blue tooth, with wired technology. Relocate cell phone towers away from school to a safe distance as defined by government occupational health and safety guidelines.
Rationale
In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer at WHO categorized wireless radiation18 emitted from cell phones, tablets, routers, cell towers etc. as a Group 2B (possible) carcinogen. The U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s National Toxicology Program preliminary findings released in May 2016 showed increased incidence of cancer10 in male mice and rats following 10 hour/day wireless exposure. Recent systematic study of cancer epidemiology19 research demonstrated 1.33 times greater brain cancer risk with cell phone use greater than 10-year duration when low quality or biased studies are eliminated. Until proven safe, the Environmental Health Trust’s Precautionary Principle20 calling for removal of wireless radiation from schools must be applied.
ACTION 3 – ENSURE LITERACY
Ensure literacy achieved grades K-3; prohibit all educational technology until grade 4.
Rationale
Foundations for child development and learning include movement, touch, human connection, and nature. Technology use prohibits child engagement in these 4 factors, and consequently has proven to be detrimental to development and learning21. Education technology (edtech) is inadequate in achieving foundations22 for printing, reading, or math literacy which require sensory, motor and spatial activation. Should children achieve developmental foundations for literacy, self-regulation, social skills, and attention ability by the end of grade 3, approved and safe use of edtech is appropriate by grade 4.
ACTION 4 – EDTECH EVIDENCE
Edtech duration should not exceed 1 hour/day; content should pass ‘high quality research’ criteria.
Rationale
Countries with the highest PISA scores use no more than 1 hour of edtech per day (China, South Korea), and those with the lowest PISA scores use the most edtech23. Canada dropped out of the top ten PISA rankings in 2012, with no improvement in 2015 status. Edtech is not evidence based, and lacks proven outcomes24. Industry driven edtech studies which report positive outcomes, are rife with conflict of interest and bias resulting in misinterpretation and misrepresentation of data. Edtech requires reliable and reproducible government or university conducted studies which meet government determined ‘high quality research criteria’, and prove not only short term benefits but also long term efficacy to qualify for use in schools.
ACTION 5 – MOVE OUTSIDE
Requirements for outdoor physical activity should increase relative to education technology use.
Rationale
Edtech is sedentary, overstimulating and isolates students from their teachers and peers resulting in impaired development, sleep deprivation, mental illness, attention deficit, lack of self-regulation, and few social skills17. Counterbalance initiatives to use of edtech should include engagement in movement and nature activities. Research shows movement not only improves cardiovascular fitness, but also builds strong core needed for motor coordination, which in turn improves printing and reading literacy25,26. 45 minutes of exercise using equipment such as treadmill, bike, elliptical, and rowing machines prior to doing school work, have proven to improve grades, mood, attention, and ease of learning27. Access to as little as 20 minutes per day of “green space”28,29 found in nature, has proven to significantly reduce adhd and improve attention. Standing instead of sitting, outdoor class, gym station obstacle courses, and challenging teen playgrounds30 would effectively counterbalance edtech, and enhance development, behavior and learning.
Safe Schools Policy – Summary Statement
The ways in which we are raising and educating children with technology are not sustainable31. Children are using 7.5 hours/day and teens 9 hours per day of entertainment media,32, 33 which is 4-5 times the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics34. Experts continue to raise the alarm regarding children’s significant vulnerability to wireless radiation,35 yet schools continue to escalate use of unsafe and unmanaged education technology.36 At what point do schools, school boards, and education government become complicit in knowingly causing harm to children, and when does society stop using children as guinea pigs? Enact Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation now. It’s already too late.
Research References
1. Houtrow, A. J., Larson K., Olson, L. M., Newacheck, P. W., Halfon, N. (2014). Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001-2011. Pediatrics. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/08/12/peds.2014-0594.abstract
2. Dunckley, V. L. (2014). Gray matters: too much screen time damages the brain. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain
3. Divan HA et al. Cell phone use and behavioral problems in young children. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2012, Jun;66(6):524-9.
4. Healthy Early Learning Partnership – Early Development Inventory Maps for British Columbia, University of British Columbia; retrieved on March 23, 2017 from http://www.edibc2016.ca/
5. Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Best Practices Portal. Government of Canada. Retrieved on March 23. 2017 from: http://cbpp-pcpe.phac-aspc.gc.ca/public-health-topics/healthy-weights-children/
6. Jackson, D. M., Djafarian, K., Stewart, J. & Speakman, J. R. (2009). Increased television
viewing is associated with elevated body fatness but not with lower energy expenditure in children.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89, 1031-1036. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26746.
7. Waddell C. Improving the Mental Health of Young Children. Children’s Health Policy Centre, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC, Canada. 2007. Available at: http://childhealthpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/14-06-17-Waddell-Report-2014.06.16.pdf.
8. Gentile D. Pathological Video-Game Use Among Youth Ages 8 to 18. Journal of Psychological Science. 2009; 3(2):1-9
9. Friesen, M. Canadians for Safe Technology. Wi-Fi in Canadian Schools: A Health and Safety Issue. Canadians for Safe Technology. November 28, 2015. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://oldsite.c4st.org/WiFiCanadianSchools
10. National Toxicology Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD Rats (Whole Body Exposure). May 27, 2017. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/index.html
11. Burkhamer, J., Kriebel, D. & Clapp, R. (2017). The increasing role of adolescent cancer risk in the U.S. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0172986. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172986
12. Uncapher, M. R., Thieu, M. K. & Wagner, A. D. (2015). Media Multi-tasking and Memory: Differences in Working Memory and Long-term Memory. Psychonomic Bull Rev. DOI 10.3758/s13423-015-0907-3
13. Becker, M. W., Alzahabi, R. & Hopwood, C. J. (2012). Media Multi-tasking is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. 16(2). DOI: 1089/cyber.2012.0291
14. Rosen, L. (2012). Helping your children study amidst distracting technologies. Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-rosen/kids-and-technology_b_2101414.html
15. Robb, A. (2015). 92% of college students prefer reading print books to E-Readers. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://newrepublic.com/article/120765/naomi-barons-words-onscreen-fate-reading-digital-world
16. Carlberg, M. & Hardell, L. (2017). Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation. BioMed Research International. Vol 2017. Article ID 9218486, 17 pages. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9218486
17. Rowan, C. (2010). 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. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. 12 (1): 60-67.
18. World Health Organization – International Agency for Research on Cancer, Press Release No. 208, May 31, 2011. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
19. Prasad, M., Kathuria, P., Nair, P., Kumar, A., Prasad, K. (2017). Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumors: a systematic review of association between study quality, source of funding, and research outcomes, Neurological Sciences. doi:10.1007/s10072-017-2850-8
20. Volkow, N. (2015). Best Practices with Wireless Radiation for Schools – A Review of Global Advisories. Environmental Health Trust.
21. Rowan, C (2013). The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child. Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/technology-children-negative-impact_b_3343245.html
22. Rowan, C. (2013) Ten Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html
23. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – New approach needed to deliver on technology’s potential in schools. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/new-approach-needed-to-deliver-on-technologys-potential-in-schools.htm
24. Brown, E. A. (2017). Research lacks evidence on device use, apps for young children. Future of Ed Tech Newsletter. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://edtechenews.fetc.org/research-lacks-evidence-on-device-use-apps-for-young-children/
25. Rowan, C. (2012). Children who don’t move, can’t learn. Moving to Learn blog. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://movingtolearn.ca/2012/children-who-dont-move-cant-learn
26. Braswell J, Rine R. Evidence that vestibular hypofunction affects reading acuity in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2006; 70 (11): 1957-1965.
27. Ratey JJ, Hagerman E (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Little, Brown and Company, New York.
28. Kuo FE, Faber Taylor A. Children with Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After a Walk in the Park. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2009; 12; 402: originally published online Aug 25, 2008.
29. Louv, R. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books; 2005.
30. Rowan, C. (2013). Teen Playgrounds – Improving youth health, learning, behavior, and socialization. Moving to Learn Blog. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://movingtolearn.ca/2013/teen-playgrounds-improving-youth-health-learning-behavior-and-socialization
31. Rowan, C (2010). Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children. Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy Inc. Press. Vancouver, BC Canada.
32. Common Sense Media. (2013). Zero to Eight: Children’s media use in America. 1-38. Retrieved from: www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-eight-childrens-media-use-america-2013.
33. Common Sense Media. (2015). Landmark Report: U.S. Teens Use and Average of Nine Hours of Media Per Day, Tweens Use Six Hours.
34. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Children, adolescents, and the media: policy statement. Pediatrics, 132(5), 958-961. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2656.
35. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). Letter to Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved from: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520941318.
36. CBC News. (March 22, 2017). Federal Budget 2017: $50 million over 2 years to teach Canadian children how to code. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-budget-highlights-2017-1.4032898
Authors and Contact Info
Cris Rowan BScOT, BScBI, SIPT. Pediatric Occupational Therapist and biologist. Presented at DDA conference. Clinical Instructor at Pacific University Portland Oregon for OT doctoral course on impact of technology on children. Institute for Digital Media and Child Development – Parental Education, Clinical Research CAOT Sensory Processing Disorder – BC Rep. Performed over 300 workshops for health and education professionals and parents. Publish numerous articles in international journals and presented at international conferences. Cris can be reached at crowan@zonein.ca.

Prof. Lennart Hardell is a professor in Oncology and cancer epidemiology at the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. Has his research contributed to the cancer classification of different agents such as TCDD, PCB, the herbicide Glyphosate, and radio frequency fields. Vice President of European Society of Environmental Health. Deputy of Ethical Committee at Uppsala. European Journal of Cancer Prevention Research Prize. Swedish Medical Research Council in molecular genetic epidemiology. 2011 IARC expert in classification of cell phone radiation carcinogenicity. Dr. Hardell can be reached at Lennart.hardell@orebroll.se.

Tarmo Koppel, Tallin University of Technology. Materials Science, Electromagnetism, Health Economics. BSc, MA, PhD-candidate. Tarmo Koppel is an environmental health scientist. For the past three years Tarmo has been involved in European Union’s and Estonian electromagnetic fields legislation analysis and formulation as a national expert. His recent years in research have focussed on mobile communications (mobile networking) risk management issues. Tarmo can be reached at tarmo.koppel@ttu.ee.

Sveinn S. Kjartansson and Stella Sæmundsdóttircoordinated the international conference Children Screen Time and Wireless Radiation held on Feb. 24, 2017 in Reykjavik Iceland, serve on the board for the Association of Parents of Pre-School Children, and co-own Iceland Luxury Tours. Sveinn has a BSc in computer science, is an entrepreneur in wireless technology and IT, and is an observer for the Reykjavik Education and Youth Committee. Stella’s academic background is in psychology, is an avid wireless research collator, and previous owned and managed a book store. Sveinn and Stella can be reached at sveinnk@gmail.com.