Moving to Learn

The Taker – Profiling the devastating impact of tech industry greed on humanity

A 2014 utopian movie called The Giver offers a surprising analogy to what is happening right here, right now by the sanctioned onslaught by the tech industry on everything human. This is a pivotal time in history were it might be wise to take a few moments to reflect back on all the things that we have lost because our faces are buried in phones. Are we happier, are we less stressed, are we closer to our family and partners and friends, are we learning more, are we more productive, are we doing the things that we always thought we would do with our lives…or are we something else? We are teetering on the edge of a cliff, about ready to fall off into oblivion, and we don’t even know it. Is it time maybe to step back to look around, to see how far we have wandered away from everything and everyone who is near and dear to us? If we don’t take this journey now, we may never have the opportunity again. As you read this short article, click here to listen to Joni Mitchell’s The Circle Game and ponder the line “We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round in The Circle Game”.

The tech industry is changing humanity, faster than we can even imagine it. It’s wiping out all memory of the past, of the ways we used to love, live, and care for one another. The Tech Giants care only about making money, and with artificial intelligence (AI) firmly lodged in place, they are very close to being unstoppable. The tech industry doesn’t care about child development, health, mental status, sleep, behavior, or ability to learn. The tech industry only thrives on human addiction as all their products are designed to engage users into more and more screen use, which nets them more and more money. As children’s bodies become soft, their eyes dull, and their brains turn to mush, the Tech Giants give out a cheer as they load up their bank accounts and sharpen their darts for the next kid to target.

Children have never been sicker than they are today. One in three children enter school developmentally delayed, one and four are obese, one in five have a diagnosed mental illness, half are sleep deprived, and one and 10 are addicted to screens. The medical system is diagnosing and medicating child behaviours when these children really have attachment disorders and screen addictions. Yet every level of health, education and social government are not only allowing the tech industry to get away with this travesty, but in many ways, being complicit in looking the other way.

Our world has turned into an Orwellian nightmare. What is so immeasurably sad is that humans don’t even understand all that they’ve lost…what the tech industry has taken away from them. Humans have lost their freedom…to make choices about their lives, to pay attention, to think deeply, to be critical of falsehoods and propaganda, to control their emotions, to be kind to each other, to grow as a community of people helping each other to be the best that they can be. Humans have lost their privacy, their security…so long ago now that they can’t even remember why they wanted it in the first place.

Our memories about how we used to be, how rich and full our lives were, has been erased, replaced with endless hours of scrolling, like automatons, spending time wasting time, without any conscious knowledge that this will be the thing that destroys them. Will we all look back one day and think “Why didn’t we stop it…why didn’t we do something about the tech industry, why didn’t we work, harder to try to save the children?”

Cris Rowen

Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT

Cris Rowan is a biologist, pediatric occupational therapist and sensory specialist with expertise in the impact of technology on child development, behaviour and learning. Having worked in school settings for over 3 decades, Cris is committed to improving student health while also easing the job of learning for children. Cris is a well-known international speaker and author to teachers, parents and therapists globally on topics of sensory integration, learning, attention, fine motor skills and the impact of media content including video games, social media and pornography on children’s brain and body development. Cris has a BSc’s both in Occupational Therapy and in Biology, is a SIPT certified sensory specialist, and has Approved Provider Status for CEU provision with the American Occupational Therapy Association. Over the past 3 decades, Cris has provided over 350 keynotes and workshops, writes monthly articles for her blog Moving to Learn, publishes the monthly Child Development Series Newsletter, and is designer and creator of Reconnect Webinars which offer research evidenced information for teens, parents, teachers and clinicians to manage balanced between screens and healthy activities. Cris is member of the Screens in Schools committee with Fairplay for Kids, member of the Institute for Digital Media and Child Development and sits on the Board of Directors for the Global Alliance for Brain and Heart Health. Cris has two adult children, Matt and Katie who grew up without screens.

Cris can be reached at Reconnect Webinars offers a free, 5.5-hour CCAP accredited Screenbuster Program training webinar for teens which qualifies them to perform Tech Talks for their peers. The Screenbuster Program requires one counsellor, teacher or principal to complete the 3-day Balanced Technology Management certification CEU provided course in order to adequately supervise the teens.

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