Welcome to the practice website for Dr. Michael Cheng, a child and family psychiatrist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Cheng works on the Consultation Clinic at CHEO and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. In between patients, Dr. Cheng works with eMentalHealth.ca, an initiative of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

My approach involves the following:
  • Radical empathy, acceptance and validation to connect to children/youth and families
  • Helping children/youth and families to (re)connect to the people, things and activities that are truly meaningful in their lives
  • Helping children/youth and families to disconnect from those people, things and activities that are not helpful in their lives
  • Helping children/youth and families overcome any particular challenges along the way, e.g. sensory processing issues, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, visual stress, etc.

Educating our kids with (minimal) electronics

Many parents and educators wonder… In this digital age, don't we need to introduce our kids early on to electronics? How are we going to ensure they have the skills to function in modern society? The answer is that it is about timing. There is a time and place to introduce our children/youth to technology. Learn more about how the Waldorf philosophy address this issue… Read More...

It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies

In this article in the NY Post, Dr. Kardaras discusses the problem of digital addiction and what we must do early on to prevent it. Read More...

The lost boys: Video games more fun than growing up by Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail

Margaret Wente writes about a generation of males who are dropping out of life due to video games. Statistics confirm that males are now less likely to finish high school, attend university or complete higher education than females. At the same time, males are less likely to look for employment. Where are they spending their time? Playing video games. The average teenager spends over 7 hrs per day on recreational screen time. Read More...

Cellphone experiment at Ottawa daycare offers strong message for parents

Watch this CTV Ottawa news clip to learn about the problems with exposing young children to cellphones…


Nature and Mental Health Presentation for Renfrew County

Why are so many people in modern societies suffering from stress and mental health related issues? One of the theories is that we are not getting enough nature… Renfrew County hosted the Healthy Kids Forum, as part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge for Pembroke, ON on Feb 2016. Download the presentation that I gave here…

Presentation to Parents on Attachment and Modern Society

For interested parents, here is a copy of the presentation that I recently gave to parents at the Steps for Success Day Treatment Program. Connected but alone: How technology disrupts our attachments to one another and what we can do about it.

Want to get happier? Log off social media...!

The key to happiness may be as simple as logging off Facebook for a week, a new Danish study has found.

Researchers at The Happiness Institute tested how social media affected users’ general happiness. A total of 1,095 Facebook users were asked to evaluate their overall life satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10 based on different factors, such as how happy they were, how much they enjoyed life, whether they felt worried or sad, and if they were enthusiastic or decisive. Ninety-four percent confessed to logging on to Facebook at least once a day. After the evaluation, half of the group was asked to avoid going on Facebook for a week, while the other half was told to continue with their lives as normal.

A week later, the participants’ life satisfaction was once again measured. Results revealed those who hadn’t given up Facebook experienced a slight increase in their overall happiness, from an average happiness rating of 7.67 to 7.75. However, this group was also 55 percent more likely to feel stressed. The group that had given up social media, on the other hand, experienced a much more significant increase in happiness — their happiness rating jumped from 7.56 to 8.12.

Participants who gave up Facebook also experienced an increase in social activity and satisfaction with their social lives. And when they were asked about their moods on the last day of the experiment, they reported feeling happier and less sad than the group that had kept Facebook. Overall, the group without Facebook was 18 percent more likely to feel present and in the moment.

Read more…

Computers in classroom may increase distractions and worsen learning: OECD report

At a time when school boards across Canada are equipping classrooms with new laptops, tablets and desktop computers to bring learning into the digital age, a global study raises questions over whether all that technology necessarily means better education results.

A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday said the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on student performance is “mixed, at best.”

According to the report’s authors, where students frequently use computers in the classroom, the technology can become a distraction and education outcomes are weaker when compared with those classrooms where technology is used moderately for specific learning projects or once or twice a week.

Read more here…

CTV Interview: Parents - Don’t let yourselves get replaced by screens and technology

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I am grateful to Carole Anne Meehan with CTV for the opportunity to talk about a very important challenge that faces parents and our society in general. We have all these wonderful technologies such as smart phones, and there is no doubt, there are many benefits to these technologies. Unfortunately, these technologies can be incredibly addicting, and they have the potential to disconnect us from one another, especially our kids... The good news however, is that it is never too late, to DISCONNECT (from our devices) to RECONNECT (to one another)... See the full interview here...