Children and Screens joined forces with the National Academy of Sciences to convene nearly 200 of the most experienced researchers, scientists, and clinicians at the intersection of digital media and child development for a three-day interdisciplinary conference. Thank you to all who participated in this highly productive meeting. Please click on the icons below for conference highlights.


Executive Summary

The Speakers


Talks and Panels


Opening Remarks

Closing Remarks

Breakfast Roundtable

Industry Issues Lunch


Breakout Sessions

Documentary Night

Beachfront Dinner

Distinctive Voices Lecture

Welcome Reception




About Children And Screens

“What a spectacular conference Children and Screens: Institute for Digital Media and Child Development created and delivered! It was simply wonderful in every possible way — intellectually, emotionally, socially! It was a feast to stimulate much thinking and action. I loved every minute and am so grateful to Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra for inviting me and including me as a speaker. That gave me a great opportunity to make some important points, which I think I did.”

Stephanie Brown, PhD

Director of Addictions Institute

“The interdisciplinary community gathered at the DMDM Conference provided an outstanding forum for learning, discussion, and collaboration. While there’s considerable interest in the possible impacts of media use on the developing individual, large gaps remain in the science. An aggressive research program targeting knowledge gaps would have a significant long-term impact, ultimately enabling evidence-based policy decisions.”

Anthony Wagner, PhD

Director, Stanford Memory Lab, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Stanford University

“The Digital Media and Developing Minds” conference was something that people looked forward to and that sparked many new and important conversations. It was an opportunity to hear a range of voices who are investigating the impact of digital media on development. Some of those participating disagree with each other. There was an opportunity, far too rare in the world of conferences, to hear differences aired, discussed, to potentially formulate research programs that could lead toward deeper understandings, not just louder declarations. This was a significant moment in the development of the discipline.”

Sherry Turkle, PhD

Author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

“The conference contained a diverse set of topics that studied children, teens, and emerging adults’ interaction with the newer forms of interactive digital media. The speakers were experts in their field and sessions examined how these interactions with digital media both affect and reflect the offline lives and long-term development of children and adolescents. The conference examined the latest technologies used by young people and how these continue to impact children’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. The opportunities to engage in workgroups to facilitate policies and procedures in selected areas was also helpful.”

Kimberly Young, PhD

Founder and Director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery

“While attending the Children and Screens conference, a comment that I heard repeatedly from attendees was what an achievement Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra and the Institute had accomplished by bringing together such an array of leading scholars in this field. I kept hearing informally that never before had such a strong group come together and never had we worked together in such productive, creative and thought-provoking ways. Pam is on a mission to advance the science of media, technology and developing minds. This conference is one example of how she’s already been a game changer.”

Karen Dill-Shackleford, PhD

Faculty member at Fielding Graduate University; Author of

“The most valuable part of the conference for me was the exposure to new research in areas I am less familiar with as well as meeting new colleagues who think differently than I do and see the field from different points of view. It reinvigorated my appreciation of our field as interdisciplinary and my interest in being more inclusive of all forms of theory and research.”

Dafna Lemish, PhD

Professor of Communication; Chair and Interim-Dean, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts; Founding editor, Journal of Children and Media, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

“I was excited to see so many talented and engaged people gather in one place to tackle one of the most profound questions of our age: what are the outcomes of this vast uncontrolled experiment we are running on our children’s minds with new types and volumes of media exposure?”

Dr. David Hill, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician, KidzCare Pediatrics Chair, AAP Council on Communications and Media; Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, UNC School of Medicine

“Bringing together thought leaders and scientists in many of the disciplines that bear on this issue was an important first step in establishing this all-important discourse on the future of our children and the society they will create. Now it is incumbent upon us all to build on these fresh transdisciplinary perspectives and potential collaborations to take a deep look at the influence on the brain development of screen-saturated children and adolescents, so that we can make informed, evidence-based decisions on how to raise healthy, happy and productive citizens of the future.”

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Director, Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Boston Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School & Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health

“I thought Children and Screens and National Academy of Sciences put together a marvelous conference. I enjoyed speaking with everyone, participants and speakers, and was totally engaged the whole time.”

David Stopak

Senior Editor, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

“The Sackler Colloquia, “Digital Media and Developing Minds,” was a unique opportunity to be part of a project helping to define the nation’s research agenda regarding digital technology and child development. For anyone who is interested in learning about the most interesting research and practices in this area, this conference was an important professional source of collaboration and information.”

Elizabeth Englander, PhD

Professor of Psychology, Bridgewater State University; Director and Founder of Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center

“The conference featured a great assembly of speakers and offered the attendants opportunities to work with each other through interactive sessions and workshops.”

Amy Lu, PhD

Assistant Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University

“In more than 40 years of researching children and media, this was my first conference that brought such a diversity of disciplines together. For many years there were only a few of us who were dedicated to studying children and media, scattered across many fields of study. The explosion of new media, new ways to interact with media, and new forms of content has led to new and renewed interest in media impact on children and adolescents. This meeting was the first to bring together researchers in all their diversity who have been drawn to this new and greatly expanded field of inquiry. The conference showed that we can expect a corresponding explosion of innovative methodologies, theories, and findings. It left me with a real sense of hope for the future of our (greatly expanded) field.”

Dan Anderson, PhD

Professor Emeritus; Director of Children and Media Lab, University of Massachusettes, Amherst

“We need to understand how to train and integrate young people into the scientific enterprise. As the director of a federal research facility, I have recruited many young scientists, and nowadays, when much science is performed in large interdisciplinary collaborations, the students are all using digital media. How does growing up with a computer or a smartphone as your main source of information and communication affect the collaborative process of science? Digital Media and Developing Minds (conference) was an important next step in helping us to better understand the positive and negative impacts of new technology on our next generation of ‘knowledge workers’.”

Samuel Aronson, PhD

Former Director of Brookhaven National Laboratories

“This represented a remarkable collection of scholars from medicine and the social sciences to consider the question of how this technology heavy world is impacting our youth … and what a timely event for setting a future research agenda. I truly not only enjoyed it but learned a lot…and I am and will be thinking about how to bring the fact of internet/technology addiction into consideration in my own research….and I’m planning on asking our med school here if any of the pediatrics med students can do a rotation in my lab…I would never have thought of either of these outcomes had I not attended the “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Conference…so thank you!! and again, Congratulations on a wonderful event!!”

Ellen Wartella, PhD

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication, Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University

“The Sackler conference constituted a global convening of field-leading scientists to discuss an increasingly urgent issue: the impact of technology and media on the developing mind. Kudos to the National Academy of Sciences and Children and Screens: the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development for leading this important field-building effort that promises to galvanize research efforts across multiple disciplines and methods. This represents an important next step in empowering parents, educators, and policymakers in understanding what is a healthy media diet.”

Melina Uncapher, PhD

Research Scientist, Department of Psychology, Stanford University; Co-Founder/CEO Institute of Applied Neuroscience: Science for Good