Children and Screens

How is digital media enhancing or impairing children’s ability to live happy, healthy, and productive lives? How are years of electronically mediated interactions shaping children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development? What should we do about it?

Those are the fundamental questions being tackled by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development – the nonprofit organization that seeks to understand and address questions regarding media’s impact on child development. The Institute was founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, who was curious – as a parent and a physician – to understand the cognitive and long-term impacts of frequent technology use among her own children. 

The Institute provides a forum for researchers, clinicians, and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines to meet, collaborate, and share research. It advances understanding through interdisciplinary dialogue, public information, and rigorous objective research.

It has convened two national interdisciplinary conferences on “Digital Media and Developing Minds.” The conferences have brought together scientists and researchers in the fields of neuroscience, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, communications, education, public health, epidemiology and others.

The Institute has also convened an Interdisciplinary Summit on Children and Screen Time. That event brought together pediatric media experts, researchers, and policymakers to discuss what we know and what we still need to learn about the relationship between kids and screens. They offered policy recommendations and practical guidelines for policymakers, clinicians, educators, and parents. On that occasion, the Institute released evidence-based guidance to help parents manage media use in the home.

Through these events and other activities, the Institute expands the dialogue between medical researchers and those in the social sciences who study media effects; it facilitates learning and the exchange of ideas on the cognitive, mental, physical and social impacts of digital media on youth, families, culture, and learning; it identifies and reports on state-of-the-art empirical research on digital media’s impact on developing minds.

The Rauch Foundation has provided support to the Institute to enhance its impact, develop ways to improve the quality of children’s media experience, and build its national research agenda.