Our Vision

Our vision is to understand and address compelling questions regarding media’s impact on child development through interdisciplinary dialogue, public information, and rigorous, objective research bridging the medical, neuroscientific, social science, education and academic communities.

Our History

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is a 501C(3) non-profit organization founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, who has spent her career in public service ranging from non-profit development, medicine and philanthropy devoted to children and adolescents.  As a parent herself, Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra was curious eight years ago to understand the cognitive and long-term impacts of frequent technology use among her own children. She started Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development in 2013 to:

– Provide a forum for researchers, clinicians, and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines to meet, collaborate, and share research
– Advance funding  in the emerging field of digital media and children
– Provide parents and educators with the resources and answers to questions they have to raise happy and healthy children in the digital age.

She created the Institute as the principle vehicle through which she and others could address three urgent questions:

1. How is digital media enhancing or impairing children’s ability to live happy, healthy, and productive lives?

2. How are years of electronically mediated interactions shaping children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development?

3. What should we do about it?

The Institute promotes objective, inclusive, integrative scientific research by scholars with diverse perspectives from all relevant disciplines. In this way, it facilitates collaborative achievements beyond the reach of any one kind of expert.

Our Founder

Pamela Hurst-Della PietraDr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra is the President of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, an international, interdisciplinary, nonprofit organization that she founded in 2013 to support and advance objective, high-quality scientific research, identify and nurture talent, educate and inform the public and provide policy makers with actionable information.

Using her medical degree, non-profit experience, philanthropic resources and a long-standing interest in media and children, Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra has become one of the field’s leading conveners, curators, and grant-makers. In 2017, Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra organized, edited, and sponsored the publication, “Children, Adolescents and Screens: What We Know and What We Need to Learn”, a stand-alone supplement to Pediatrics (the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) that presented 22 articles from over 100 named authors, and provided parents, practitioners, researchers and policymakers with a uniquely comprehensive view of this field. “Children, Adolescents and Screens” was a direct result of the first Digital Media and Developing Minds conference, which Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra and Children and Screens developed in 2015. Co-sponsored with the Sackler Colloquia program of the National Academy of Sciences, that groundbreaking gathering brought together nearly 200 leading researchers, clinicians, and other experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, communications, education, public health, and public policy.

In October 2018, Children and Screens hosted the second national Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where interdisciplinary experts from across the globe (13 countries, 30 states, and 5 government agencies) convened. They worked to identify and report on state-of-the-art empirical research, to put to use new tools and methodologies, and develop collaborations and dialogues between medical researchers, public health experts, educators, pediatricians, and other disciplines.

In 2019, Children and Screens has continued to disseminate cutting-edge research and encourage  interdisciplinary dialogue through a new public lecture series, expert panel discussions as well as research retreats on the most pressing issues. The first expert panel, held at Stony Brook University, attracted over 100 parents and other public attendees for a lively question and answer session. 

Children and Screens’ first research retreat brought together a dozen leading researchers and clinicians to develop a reliable and innovative suite of instruments that can be tested and deployed to screen, monitor and measure media habits in toddlers, children and adolescents. The toolkit will also help practitioners understand and identify how media use and habits present in clinical and educational settings. Future retreats will target the topics of  the youth brain, mental health, emerging technologies, as well as educational technology. 

A Long Island-based philanthropist along with her husband Stephen, a few recent projects include endowing a chair in biomedical imaging at Stony Brook Medicine, starting the Della Pietra Lecture Series at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, which brings the best and brightest minds of our time in science and math to high school and college students on Long Island and developing a weekend enrichment program for gifted high school students in math and science. Pamela also developed the Mount Career Laboratory, a series of hands-on career workshops, which helped that school earn New York State’s Blue Ribbon of Excellence. She served on the President’s task force of the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and has also worked as the founding director of several highly successful non-profit organizations and programs. Early in her career, Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra worked in television production for children’s educational programs such as Sesame Street. In addition to being the Founder and President of Children and Screens, she is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Public Health Department of Family, Population & Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. 

To contact Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, please call (631) 675-6023 or email info@childrenandscreens.com