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Brown Leads Massive Online Survey on Parenting, Media + Learning

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Researchers are reaching out to parents to shed some light on what affects children's ability to learn.

Researchers from Brown University School of Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, and New England Center for Pediatric Psychology began The Learning Habit Study today, which will examine how media use, family routines, and parenting style impact a child's ability to learn. Researchers are anticipating at least 50,000 parents of children in grades K-12 to answer questions ranging from the type of school their child attends, to how flexible they are about setting rules.

The survey will be available thru October 31, also available on partner websites which include WebMD, Huffington Post Parents, The National PTA, and Parents Magazine. The entire survey is expected to take 10 minutes to complete. Parents who complete the survey can choose to enter into a $500 sweepstakes.

"The information gathered by this study will be critical toward understanding the relationships between media use, grades, social interactions, and emotional learning," said lead researcher Robert M. Pressman, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of Research at the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology. "Our goal is to provide parents, teachers and pediatricians information on which family routines and behaviors improve academic success, increase social skills, and contribute to emotional balance in children."

An all-star team

Dr. Pressman is joined by a research team comprised of Allison Schettini Evans, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist at Brown University School of Medicine, Dr. Judith Owens, M.D., MPH, Director of Sleep Medicine at Children's National Medical Center, and Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, M.S.W., LICSW, Clinical Director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.

The Learning Habit Study began in 2012, when Dr. Pressman's team conducted two surveys on homework and family routines. The surveys were administered to 1000 parents in the waiting rooms of 12 pediatric offices. Initial results found a link between nighttime media use (any electronic device with a screen) and a decrease in grades. Data gathered from these surveys will be incorporated into the Learning Habit Study.

"Those first surveys were like opening Pandora's Box; every question we answered led to ten more," said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman. "As researchers who are also clinicians working with families, we wanted more answers."

Results from The Learning Habit Study will be presented at the August 2014 American Psychological Association convention to be held in Washington, D.C., and also in the book, The Learning Habit, to be published by Penguin-Random House in August 2014.


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