SEL & Media [Research Guide]

Within the past several years, social-emotional learning – the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions – has grown into one of the most frequently talked about (and researched) topics within the field of education. Children’s media – from television programming to movies to video games – has a long history of not only entertaining but also trying to educate children. As more and more children interact with media, it is important to identify the components that might support greater social-emotional development.


Activities for Building Character and Social-Emotional Learning (2012). Used in hundreds of classrooms across the United States, this book provides field-tested activities to help students build attitudes of respect and caring, reduce problem behavior, empower students to solve problems, and educate the whole child.

Effective Interventions for Social-Emotional Learning (2018). This book reviews evidence-based, multi-tiered methods for promoting social-emotional learning with typically developing students as well as those with special needs.

Emotions, Technology, and Social Media (2016). This book discusses the ways the social media sphere uses emotion and technology, and how each of these has become part of the digital culture.

Internet and Emotions (2014). This book features theoretical and empirical chapters from international researchers who investigate a wide range of issues concerning the sociology of emotions in the context of new media.

Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning (2015). This book contains developmentally-appropriate recommendations for teaching with technology in early childhood, focusing specifically on utilizing media to impart social-emotional learning competencies on children.


Selected Articles

A Multi-Media Approach for Violence Prevention: Integrating Character Education and Social Emotional Learning in Your Program. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Piotrowski JT. Content Effects: Educational Media for Children. In: The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects. American Cancer Society; 2017:1-13. doi:10.1002/9781118783764.wbieme0130

Serrano-Puche J. Emotions and Digital Technologies: Mapping the Field of Research in Media Studies.; 2015. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.31240.62729

Shiratuddin N, Landoni M. Evaluation of content activities in children’s educational software. Eval Program Plann. 2002;25(2):175-182. doi:10.1016/S0149-7189(02)00011-3

Felt L. Making Education (Double) Count: Boosting Student Learning via Social and Emotional Learning and New Media Literacy Skills. eLearn. 2010;2010(7). doi:10.1145/1833513.1839556

Portnoy, L, Schrier, K. Using Games to Support STEM Curiosity, Identity, and Self-Efficacy. Journal of Games, Self & Society. 2019;1:66-98.

Greenhow C, Robelia B. Old Communication, New Literacies: Social Network Sites as Social Learning Resources. J Comput-Mediat Commun. 2009;14(4):1130-1161. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01484.x

Chen VH-H, Lin W, Ng CW, Chai SL, Khoo ACE, Duh HB-L. Children’s Choice of Games: The Influence of Prosocial Tendency and Education-Level. In: Natkin S, Dupire J, eds. Entertainment Computing – ICEC 2009. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2009:110-119. 


Digital Wellness Lab

The Digital Wellness Lab (formerly known as the Center on Media and Child Health) at Boston Children’s Hospital is an academic research center whose mission is to educate and empower children and those who care for them to create and consume media in ways that optimize children’s health and development.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

CASEL is one of the leading authorities on social-emotional learning in the country. Their website includes the latest research on social-emotional learning as well as a library of SEL-related assessments.

Common Sense Education – Educator Toolkit

An online resource for educators seeking to implement social-emotional learning into their classrooms and teach character through digital technology and interactive media.

Fred Rogers Center – Social-Emotional Learning Resources

A series of publications that detail ways in which social-emotional learning curriculum can be enhanced using media in the classroom and at home.

iThrive Games Foundation

The iThrive Games Foundation works to benefit teens at the intersection of game development, education, and mental health.  We strive to foster and enhance empathy, creative thinking, problem-solving, and other social and emotional skills using games.

Researchers of Note


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