About the Organization
Founded in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development (“Children and Screens”) is an interdisciplinary 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New York. Children and Screens seeks objective, scientific answers to questions about the cognitive, psychological, and physical impacts of digital media on toddlers, children, and adolescents — and attempts to understand how this population interacts with media at home, with friends, at school, and in their communities.
We are committed to the following aims:
- Advance objective scientific research and increase research funding in the emerging field of digital media and children;
- Develop human capital in the field — for instance, by providing a forum for researchers, clinicians, and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines to meet, collaborate, and share research; and
- Raise awareness about key issues and provide the public, parents, clinicians, educators, and policymakers with resources and information to make informed decisions.
With leadership from its founder, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, Children and Screens is guided by a National Scientific Advisory Board made up of experts from diverse disciplines who bring their expertise to bear on complex questions at the intersection of children and digital media. Children and Screens also has a Board of Trustees that provides governance and organizational advice and a network of hundreds of medical and social scientists, educators, and neuroscientists active in the field who provide support and guidance. In addition, Children and Screens has established informal partnerships with a number of organizations working in this area.
Children and Screens understands that it is not enough to look at questions of digital media use among children from a single perspective — whether medical, educational, or sociological. Rather, effective research requires a multidisciplinary, comprehensive, “kaleidoscopic” approach. For this reason, Children and Screens staff, partners, and colleagues represent a wide range of fields, including pediatrics, child psychiatry, child psychology, neuroscience, communications, public health, and education. By bringing together experts from across both the medical and social sciences, Children and Screens seeks to broaden how the field is defined, the types of questions that can be asked, and the kinds of impacts that can be investigated.
By fostering scientific research and collaborations, Children and Screens is working to address three urgent questions:
- How is digital media enhancing and/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?
In October 2015, Children and Screens partnered with the National Academy of Sciences to host the Digital Media and Developing Minds Sackler Colloquia attended by nearly 200 leading researchers, clinicians, and other experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, communications, education, public health, and public policy. Out of this inaugural conference came the field’s first national research agenda and a clarified vision for the Institute.
The convening also marked the beginning of a scientific collaboration among 22 interdisciplinary workgroups and more than 140 researchers to provide a comprehensive assessment of our current knowledge and what we need to know and learn about the impacts of digital media on children, toddlers, and adolescents. Their work culminated in research findings that were published in a special supplement in the prestigious journal, Pediatrics, in November 2017.
Heralding the report’s release, Children and Screens hosted its first Interdisciplinary Summit on Children and Screen Time at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where a distinguished panel of experts summarized the findings, held a public question and answer forum and offered recommendations and practical guidelines for policy makers, clinicians, scientists, educators and parents.
In January 2018, Children and Screens co-sponsored with the National Institute of Child Health and Development a scientific workshop on media exposure and early child development. That year, Children and Screens co-hosted and co-sponsored its second Digital Media and Developing Minds national Congress with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in Long Island, NY.