For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
THE CENTER FOR MEDIA LITERACY CALLS FOR NEW FUNDING TO STUDY GROWING HEALTH ISSUE: CHILDREN AND SCREEN TIME
PEDIATRICS Journal Releases First-Ever Supplement Dedicated to Effects of Digital Media on Children
Washington, DC: As the iPhone turns 10, screen time-and lots of it-has changed reality for today's kids, and even babies. Teens (ages 13-18) spend an average of 9 hours each day on entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework, and tweens (ages 8-12) spend just under 6 hours per day. Even a majority of toddlers spend more than an hour each day in front of a digital screen. Yet despite its omnipresence, digital media's effects on childhood development, including cognitive, psychological, social, behavioral and physical developmental impacts, remain largely unknown. Parents today navigate unchartered waters on issues from cyberbullying to internet addiction, while experts are only beginning to ask, let alone answer, questions about the unintended consequences of our daily digital diet.
Developing Digital and Media Literacies in Children and Teens: A Call for Research and Policy Actions is the paper that our group of experts contributed to this timely effort," said Tessa Jolls, President and CEO, Center for Media Literacy, Los Angeles. Jolls co-chaired the Working Group with Kristen Turner, Professor and Director of Teacher Education at Drew University's Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. "We called for some bold measures, including new systems for assessment that are in line with needed global skills, and for research on closing the digital divide that dampens opportunity in an era where digital and media literacy competencies are key to future success."
At an event hosted by the interdisciplinary non-profit,
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, pediatric media experts, researchers and policymakers discussed what we know, and what we still need to learn, about the relationship between kids and screens-while offering policy recommendations and practical guidelines for policymakers, clinicians, educators and parents.
"The digital media landscape is evolving so quickly, we need our research to catch up just to answer some basic questions," said Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra, Founder of Children and Screens. "How can we make the digital media environment better for kids? Does it matter that we've become a society that talks to one another less and makes less frequent eye contact? What are the implications of requiring middle-schoolers to have iPads for school use? We can't wait a generation to learn the impacts of a technological revolution that's happening as we speak (or don't, as the case may be)."
The panel was moderated by Amy Joyce, the editor for Washington Post's "On Parenting" section, and was timed with the release of the first-ever special supplement to
Pediatrics Journal, sponsored by Children and Screens, on the issue.
"Policymakers have a critical role to play in ensuring that we can properly fund research on the relationship between children and digital media," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). "The last time significant legislation on children and digital media was raised in Congress, the iPhone had barely come to market. The world is completely different now, and we need to update our laws and our research to reflect those changes."
Children and Screens -- an independent, interdisciplinary nonprofit organization seeking objective, scientific, fundamental insights into children's engagement with digital media -- is bringing together diverse stakeholders to answer these pressing questions.
Other panelists included Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington; Kathryn Montgomery, PhD, Founder, Center for Media Education; Director of Communications Studies, American University; Ellen Wartella, PhD, Professor of Communication, Northwestern University, Co-Principal Investigator, Children's Digital Media Center; and Dr. Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Associate Director of the Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles (UCLA/CSULA), Director of the Media and Language Lab at Cal State LA.
Pam Hurst-Della Pietra
Children and Screens
Jaime Horn, 202-308-8810