About Us



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.

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:

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.



  • Began hosting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a highly popular webinar series covering topics of particular importance to parents and families, from virtual learning to social justice. Called Ask The Experts, the new workshops feature panels of outstanding interdisciplinary experts who share evidence-based advice, the latest scientific research, and practical tips with parents, educators, clinicians, public health experts, and more.
  • In tandem with our webinar series, publish and distribute written advice from experts on each workshop topic. Children and Screens’ guidelines and tips have been featured in numerous media outlets such as US News and World Report, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wirecutter, New York Daily News and many others.
  • Awarded interdisciplinary scientific research grants to explore the mental, cognitive, and physical effects of young people’s digital media consumption before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hosted an international, intra-disciplinary neuroscience retreat investigating the impact of screens on the developing brain - one of the last in-person meetings in the nation before the pandemic upended these types of gatherings. We are in the process of planning virtual retreats for 2021.
  • Launched a Communicating Science Scholars program to aid young science writers in their training and provide opportunities for them to gain the necessary tools for communicating scientific research to further the public’s understanding of media’s effects on child development.
  • Established an Ambassadors program to support parents via professional networking opportunities, insight into the current scientific literature, and a chance to engage with the broader Children and Screens community.


  • Planned several research retreats with leading scientists and clinicians to create a reliable and innovative suite of instruments that can be tested and deployed to screen, monitor, and measure media habits and outcomes in toddlers, children, and adolescents.
  • Continued to translate and disseminate cutting-edge research and encourage interdisciplinary dialogue through a new public lecture series. Held in conjunction with our research retreats, expert panels at Stony Brook University, attracted over 400 parents, scholars, clinicians and educators.
  • Co-hosted a symposium with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists on children and media at its annual meeting.
  • Provided information and referrals to national and regional media such as 60 Minutes, ABC News, Huffington Post, and many others.
  • Presented workshops to parents at schools, corporations and non-profit organizations on the latest research on digital media's effects on child and adolescent development.
  • Supplied legislators with information on ways that technology is affecting children and families.


  • Hosted our second national Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where we convened interdisciplinary experts from across the globe -13 countries, 30 states, and 5 government agencies - to identify and report on state-of-the-art empirical research and develop collaborations and dialogues between medical researchers, public health experts, educators, pediatricians, and other disciplines.
  • Petitioned the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to include a focus on media effects research in its strategic plan for 2020-2024. More than 240 leading experts signed the petition in support of this endeavor.
  • Planned and co-sponsored with NICHD a workshop on media and early child development to identify research gaps and opportunities that will ultimately lead to maximizing benefits and minimizing pitfalls of media exposure and use during early childhood.


  • 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 that presented 22 articles from over 100 named authors, and provided parents, practitioners, researchers and policymakers with a uniquely comprehensive view of this field.
  • Prepared and widely circulated a policy brief summarizing legislative priorities in this field, including creating a center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) devoted to children and media research.
  • Hosted the Interdisciplinary Summit on Children and Screen Time at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Summit gathered pediatric media experts, researchers, advocates, and policymakers to discuss what is currently known—and what remains unknown—about the effects of digital media on children.
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development values and is committed to diversity. The Institute strives to ensure that its members, collaborators, Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Trustees, staff, and interns, reflect this commitment. The Institute works hard to ensure that the workplace and its activities reflect a culture of inclusion, and that our convenings and public-facing events feature diverse experts with inclusive worldviews. This inclusive mindset enhances the exchange of ideas and perspectives and helps the Institute succeed in its mission to help children lead healthy lives in our digital world, and increases its relevance as the nation’s leading scientific grant maker, interdisciplinary convenor, and curator of scientific research, and public educator in the field of digital media and child development.
To contact Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development,
please email info@childrenandscreens.com