Children and Screens Petitions the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to Research the Effects of Screen Media Habits on Children’s Health

Petition has Gathered More Than 240 Signatures from Leading
Experts in the Field

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From the perspective of environmental exposure, there is no greater
influence on children today than digital media. With preliminary data
suggesting links between screen media exposure and negative mental
health outcomes, cortical thinning, behavioral addictions, and more,
there is a vital need for new research to better understand and modulate
children’s media usage so they enjoy its benefits and avoid its harms.

Given these concerns, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital
Media and Child Development
is petitioning The Eunice
Kennedy Shriver
 National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development (NICHD) to include the effects of screen media habits on
children’s health to its list of research
for the next five years. While NICHD’s published list of
priorities includes digital media’s influence with respect to “sensitive
periods” and “transitions from adolescence to adulthood,” this by no
means captures the full scope or depth of media’s impact, which existing
research suggests may lead to anxiety and depression, violent behavior,
cyberbullying, sexualization, and more.

The benefits of digital media for children and adolescents include
educational resources, opportunities for social and emotional
development, access to resources for underserved populations, and
platforms for creativity. Parents, educators, community leaders, and
healthcare providers are generally aware of the negative effects media
habits have on the lives of children, but these stakeholders lack the
necessary information to recognize problematic use and foster healthy
media habits More comprehensive and longitudinal interdisciplinary
research is needed to illuminate a healthy media diet for youth at all
stages of development. As NICHD formulates its strategic plan for
2020-2024, more than 240 leading experts have signed the Children
and Screens
petition imploring the organization to add the
effects of screen media to its list of research priorities. Signatories
include JAMA Pediatrics editor-in-chief Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D.,
M.P.H., leading Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Paul Weigle, M.D.,
preeminent scholar of the role of media in children’s development Ellen
Wartella, Ph.D., and many more.

View the petition here:

About Children and Screens

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development
is a 501C(3) national 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. She started Children and Screens: Institute
of Digital Media and Child Development
in 2013 to provide a forum
for researchers, clinicians, and other experts from a wide variety of
disciplines to meet, collaborate, and share research; advance funding in
the study of digital media’s effects on children; and provide parents
and educators with the resources and answers they need to raise happy
and healthy children in the digital age.


Children and Screens:
Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra