Sedentary, isolated, overstimulated and sleep deprived, our new millennium children struggle to pay attention and learn. Why?
A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use an average 7.5 hours per day of entertainment technology; with more than 75 per cent of children having unrestricted technology in their bedrooms and 50 per cent of North American homes have the TV on all day.
“Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is alienating children from essential human connection and attachment; the basis for all social relationships and learning,” says Cris Rowan. Rowan is a well know expert on technology and child development and has authored Unplug Don’t Drug; Creating Sustainable Futures, and her first book, Virtual Child: The Terrifying Truth About What Technology is Doing to Children. She will be sharing her expertise in Campbell River at a free public event on September 9. This learning opportunity takes place at Quinsam Hall as part of an international event known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day.
Every year KDC Health and the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living join to bring awareness to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur when alcohol is consumed during a pregnancy.
“International FASD Awareness Day is an important day with an important message,” says Jenny McLeod, FASD Keyworker for the Campbell River Region. “Not enough people are aware of the permanent harm even a small amount of alcohol can cause.”
FASD can happen in the early stages of pregnancy, long before a woman even knows she is pregnant. For these reasons, people from around the world come together on the ninth day of the ninth month of each year, emphasizing the importance of remaining alcohol free during the nine months of pregnancy.
FASD awareness day is not only about the prevention of FASD, it is also about bringing awareness and help to those who are living with this permanent disability. FASD is best described as a brain based physical disability with behavioural symptoms.
“Blame for these behaviours are frequently placed on the parent of children with FASD, and this is simply not true, their disability is the cause,” says McLeod.
Often the behavioural symptoms of FASD can be eased through altering aspects of a child’s environment such as their use of technology. Rowan will talk about the impact technology can have on a brain that is not ‘typical’ such as a child with FASD, as well as the impact on ‘typical’ children.
“What I like about Rowan is her ability to deliver cutting edge research in a simplistic fashion, said McLeod. We wanted to offer families in our community information that made sense and strategies they could use; Rowan provides that.”
This free event has been made possible through a partnership between KDC Health, the Community Addictions Dialogue and Action Committee (CADAC), and the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living. To register for the event visit: www.fasdawareness.eventbrite.com or call Jenny at (250)-203-0488. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.