Sponsoring Organizers:

Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development
David Stewart,
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Congress Committee:

Dimitri Christakis, Seattle Children's Research Institute
Elizabeth Englander, Massachusetts Agression Reduction Center
Patricia Greenfield, Children’s Digital Media Center, UCLA
Carrie James, Project Zero, Harvard University
Lary Rosen, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Melina Uncapher, UCSF
Ellen Wartella, Northwestern University
Paul Weigle, Hartford Hospital

  • 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 2015, Children and Screens joined forces with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to convene nearly 200 of the most experienced researchers, scientists, and clinicians at the intersection of digital media and child development for a seminal three-day interdisciplinary conference to address those three questions. Since then, research into how digital media influence childhood development has progressed meaningfully. This rapid progress, though, has been outpaced by the digital media revolution families are facing. Toddlers, children and adolescents are immersed in media, and its influence on all aspects of their development cannot be overstated. This reality defines the research challenges and opportunities ahead of us. 

This year, Children and Screens and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are delighted to announce the 2nd national Digital Media and Developing Minds Congress, October 15-18, 2018 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  This conference will once again foster fruitful interaction and collaboration between researchers, clinicians and educators.  Speakers and panelists will evaluate the current state of scientific knowledge regarding how digital media influence child development at multiple ages and stages; outline directions for future study, and recommend interventions and solutions. The Congress will begin with dinner and the first session on the evening of Monday, October 15, 2018, and will conclude with lunch on Thursday, October 18.

This national interdisciplinary congress will bring together scientists and researchers in the fields of neuroscience, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, communications, education, public health, epidemiology and others to:

  • Continue a dialogue between medical researchers and those in the social sciences field who study media effects.
  • Learn and exchange ideas on the cognitive, mental, physical and social impacts of digital media on youth, families, culture, and learning.
  • Identify and report on state-of-the-art empirical research on the impact of digital media on developing minds (i.e. toddlers, children, and adolescents).
  • Put new medically-based research techniques to use studying the potential impact of media use on children's developing minds.
  • Meet and network with funders, educators and leaders in the field.
  • Qualify to submit proposals for seed funding for collaborative, interdisciplinary research immediately following the conference.

Participants from academia, clinical practice, and research are welcome to submit abstracts in any of six major themes of the conference:

  • Cognition: Learning, Media Multitasking, Literacy, Attentional problems, Language Development/Communication, Executive Function, Creativity, Habits of Mind 
  • Social: Families, Parenting, Relationships, Social Competence, Stereotypes, Civic Engagement and Participatory Politics, Sexting
  • Emotional: Digital Addiction, Violent Content, Cyberbullying, Sexual Behavior, Anxiety and Depression
  • Behavioral: Sleep, Aggression, Risk Taking, Driving Safety, Play
  • Physical: Obesity, Activity, Vision Effects, Orthopedic Effects
  • Cross cutting topics: Privacy, Virtual/Augmented Reality and Emerging Technologies, Advertising, Social Media, Smart Phones, Screentime


  • Highlight successes and challenges of the latest tools being utilized to study media's impact on toddlers, children and adolescents.
  • Explore advances in audio and video monitoring and wireless communications, natural language processing, software and data analytics available to the research community.
  • Examine data mining of large data sets, data access and integration
  • Discuss data sharing, public access and open source platforms
  • Develop evidence-based pediatric media health screening protocols

Selection of material for oral and poster presentations will be made by the organizing committees. The status of abstracts (i.e., talk or poster) will be posted as soon as decisions have been made by the organizers. Please bring this announcement to the attention of any of your colleagues who may be interested in participating in the congress.

All questions pertaining to registration, fees, housing, meals, transportation, visas, abstract submission or any other matters should be directed to Catie Carr at carr@cshl.edu.

We look forward to seeing you at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in October 2018.

Registration Pricing:
  • Academic Package $1190
  • Graduate/PhD Student Package $1000 *see below for more information about financial assistance*
  • Corporate Package $1505
  • Academic/Student No-Housing Package $815
  • Corporate No-Housing Package $1015

Regular Academic, Graduate/PhD student, and Corporate packages are all-inclusive and cover registration, food, housing, parking, a wine-and-cheese party, cocktail reception, and lobster banquet. No-Housing packages include all costs except housing. Full payment is due four weeks prior to the meeting.

Register here or click the "Register" tab at the top of the page.

*Children and Screens and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are eager to have as many young people as possible attend this meeting. As such, we have some funds set aside to partially support students and postdocs. Please register and apply in writing to Catie Carr at carr@cshl.edu stating your eligibility and need for financial support. Preference will be given to those submitting abstracts.