We hope your summer is off to a wonderful and safe start!

We are excited to share what Children and Screens has been up to leading the research community, funding grants, convening retreats, supporting families through public outreach, and conducting legislative advocacy as well all that we have in store for the rest of 2021 and beyond! 


The search for Children and Screens’ next Executive Director is up and running with the help of Isaacson, Miller, the nation’s leading non-profit executive search firm. Children and Screens is very pleased with the progress, and with the help of the Children and Screens community, we know we will find the ideal person for the job. If you know of any excellent candidates, or you would like to apply, please visit: https://www.imsearch.com/search-detail/S8-043.


On May 24th and 25th, Children and Screens hosted a successful two-day virtual research retreat, Digital Media and Mental Health, featuring interdisciplinary researchers, clinicians, and government agency representatives. The convening brought together over 120 experts bridging the fields of psychology, psychiatry, communication, medicine, neuroscience, social work, public health, data science, addiction treatment, and pediatrics. Attendees shared diverse perspectives and collaborated to establish a comprehensive research agenda for future work focusing on mental health, young people, and digital media use. The Institute is now working with attendees to publish a series of white papers detailing the state of the science and key future directions. Learn more.


Researchers and clinicians who participated in Children and Screens’ Digital Media and Mental Health research retreat are also busy preparing applications for $100,000 in seed funding for novel, objective, interdisciplinary, and multi-institutional research. Proposed projects will stem from conversations and topics discussed during the two day retreat; and, the Institute will begin to review these grant proposals in August. Children and Screens will announce final decisions and award funding in early 2022.
Congratulations to Dr. Marc Potenza at Yale University and Dr. Yihong Zhao at Rutgers University, for receiving a $100,000 Children and Screens research grant to study the neurocognitive impacts of digital media use. The grant round was open to all participants of the March 2020 Digital Media and Developing Brain research retreat!
Drawing on longitudinal data from the NIH’s landmark Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, Dr. Potenza, Dr. Zhao, and their associates are utilizing state-of-the-art statistical methodology and predictive modeling to investigate the relationships between digital media use and changes in brain structure and function, as well as the associated clinically relevant behaviors in children from ages 9-12. The results of this research will yield benefits and insight not only for the research community, but also for families, clinicians, and policymakers.
Marc Potenza, PhD, MD
Grant Recipient

Professor of Psychiatry,
Child Study Center,
Professor of Neuroscience,
Director, Center of Excellence in Gambling Research,
Director, Yale Program for Research on Impulsivity 
and Impulse Control Disorders,
Director, Women and Addictive Disorders,
Women’s Health Research,
Yale University
Yihong Zhao, PhD
Grant Recipient

Adjunct Associate Professor,
The Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies,
Rutgers University,
Adjunct Faculty Member,
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
New York University Langone Health


One of Children and Screens’ many interdisciplinary workgroups is developing a suite of clinical and research tools that could be used to identify, screen, monitor and measure problematic screen use habits.
Using the Media Impact Screening Toolkit, clinicians and researchers will be able to better understand links between media habits and outcomes, such as behavior problems due to delayed sleep, anxiety from overuse of social media, and impulse control or attention issues from excessive video game use or multitasking. A team lead by Dillon Browne and Katia Howlett successfully published a scoping review in BMJ Open in May! Focus Groups with mental health and general health practitioners wrapped up earlier this year, and we are excited to utilize participants’ insights as we move forward with toolkit development. Under the skillful direction of Hans-Juergen Rumpf and Zsolt Demetrovics, a concomitant Delphi Study, focusing on problematic digital media use and addiction will begin in the fall.

Dillon Browne, PhD
Scoping Review Leader

Canada Research Chair,
Child and Family Clinical Psychology,
Assistant Professor,
Centre for Mental Health 
Research and Treatment,
University of Waterloo
Katia Howlett, PhD, MPP, MBA
Scoping Review Leader

Clinical Trials Operations Workgroup,
The National Institute on Drug Abuse,
The National Institutes of Health
Hans-Jürgen Rumpf, PhD
Delphi Study Leader

Associate Professor, 
University of Lübeck, 
Department of Psychiatry 
and Psychotherapy,
Translational Psychiatry Unit,
Head of S:TEP Research Group
Zsolt Demetrovics, PhD, DSc
Delphi Study Leader

Chair, Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming,
University of Gibraltar


Children and Screens is excited to announce its third Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress and its second Tools and Methodologies Exposition in the fall of 2022. Keep an eye out for a special announcement with the date and location for this exciting, hybrid in-person and virtual convening!
One of the greatest challenges we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic was educating our children. So, Education Technology and Virtual Learning will be the theme of Children and Screens’ next and 4th research retreat, which the Institute will host in the spring.

This research retreat, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, K-12 educators and administrators, educational psychologists, learning scientists, economics researchers, child development experts, and other stakeholders will provide some much needed clarity on this increasingly important element of children’s lives, as well as the state of the research and directions for further investigation. Following the retreat, Children and Screens will fund another round of seed grants and facilitate white paper development. The Institute is looking forward to collaborating with the experts in the field to create a meaningful dialogue, and will share the date and location of the retreat in the months to come.


Children and Screens has hosted 32 public webinars since the beginning of the pandemic, and has been thrilled with the response from its network of parents, researchers, clinicians, government organization representatives, and others! Thank you for your help in the success of these workshops. As families are enjoying their new-found freedom, and kids are able to spend time outside and at summer camps, the webinar series is on hiatus for the summer. We hope you’ll join us for our first fall webinars!
Register for our upcoming webinars:

Establishing Character
in a Digital World
.Building Grit, Resilience, and Socioemotional Skills

September 8th
at noon ET
Healthy Habits

..Fostering Physical Health
in a Digital World

September 22nd
at noon ET
See our YouTube channel for all of our past webinars:


Along with its webinars, Children and Screens has released an extensive catalogue of helpful tips for parents on topics ranging from parental controls to cyberbullying to online learning to civic engagement. With help from interdisciplinary experts, the Institute recently compiled a list of tips for weaning the screens this summer and supporting children as they prepare for screen-free summer camp. Children and Screens will resume our bi-weekly tips column in the fall!

Digital Detox
Digital Reset
Modern Love


Under the leadership of Dr. Colleen Kraft, the Institute’s policy workgroup is keeping up-to-date on the priorities of the 117th Congress. Through direct outreach to legislators, the policy workgroup provides current information on the benefits of bills such as the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act, Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act, and the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act (Kids PRIVCY Act), which we were proud to endorse when Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the bill last week.

The Institute is working with Representative Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Dr. Dimitri Christakis to advocate for the funding of a National Academy of Sciences Consensus Study. This study will explore the effects of education technology on children within the classroom, including emerging technologies. In addition to spearheading outreach to relevant legislators, the workgroup is engaging organizational and professional stakeholders in this effort. 

Children and Screens’ policy workgroup is also tracking the Senate Appropriations Committee’s  allocation of over $1.6B to the NICHD, which has committed to research the impacts of digital media on children and teens. NICHD aims to fund work to examine digital media consumption by the young people, as well as how screen time impacts children’s health and wellbeing.

Colleen Kraft, MD, FAAP
Policy Workgroup Leader

Attending Physician,
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics,
Keck School of Medicine,
University of Southern California,
Former President,
American Academy of Pediatrics


Children and Screens has been featured in 50+ media outlets in 2021 alone, ranging from top national publications such as Today’s Parent, USA Today, and US News and World Report, to regional parenting outlets, including Metro Parent. In the coming months, the Institute will be featured in numerous top-tier publications.


Children and Screens has had great success cultivating the best and brightest minds from across the nation’s leading academic institutions for its robust internship program. The academic and professional opportunities afforded to these driven young scholars and professionals prepare them to move into roles ranging from academia to business to further non-profit work, and their important contributions are vital to sustain and propagate the mission of the Institute. Read highlights from enthusiastic participants’ unsolicited feedback sharing about what their time with the Institute meant to them:
"Amazing Experience"
"Deeply Honored"
"Knowledge and Unwavering Support"
If you know a young scholar or budding professional who would benefit from an internship with the Institute, find more information about the program here.
2021 has already been an intense year for the Institute and the world! In the coming months, Children and Screens will continue to direct its efforts towards organizing research grant opportunities and interdisciplinary retreats, publishing much-needed, evidence-based advice for parents, laying groundwork for future legislation, expanding our popular Ask the Experts Webinar Series, and planning the 2022 Digital Media and Developing Minds International Congress.
If you would like to support our mission to help children lead healthy lives in a digital world with a monetary donation, please donate here.

Thank you for your continued support; we look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

Kind regards,

Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra & the Children and Screens Team
Children and Screens | childrenandscreens.com