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Teen Development, Academic Success are the Focuses of Forum on Children and Families

Dr. Robert Crosnoe

Dr. Robert Crosnoe

Social media, teen communication and risk-taking behavior will be a few of the research topics highlighted when the Center for Children and Families holds its fourth annual forum on Friday.

The event, Healthy Connections: Shaping Relationships and Achievement in High School, is free and open to the public. Featuring top researchers in psychology, sociology and neuroscience, the forum will explore how health, peer relationships and social development impact academic success and growth among adolescents.

Dr. Robert Crosnoe, professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin and author of more than 70 books and articles on adolescence, will deliver the keynote address.

Dr. Margaret Tresch Owen, director of the Center for Children and Families and Robinson Family Professor, said that families, school personnel and policymakers could use information from the forum to promote the success of their teens and high schools.

Dr. Margaret Tresch Owen

Dr. Margaret Tresch Owen

“The forum will help parents, teachers, counselors, coaches and others become more informed about how teens’ social problems can impede both short-term and long-term development trajectories,” Owen said.

Crosnoe will discuss teens navigating the difficult social structures found in American high schools. His multi-method approach to studying teens is designed to help identify those at risk for social marginalization and offers advice on improving long-term outcomes.

The schedule also includes talks by UT Dallas faculty and a luncheon with remarks from Regina Montoya of Children’s Medical Center.

Dr. Marion Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor, will discuss how the use of new communication technologies, such as text messaging and Facebook, may influence adolescents’ psychological well-being. Dr. Francesca Filbey, associate professor at the Center for BrainHealth, will talk about the relationship between an adolescent’s brain and risk-taking behaviors. Dr. Robert Ackerman, assistant professor, will discuss the long-term effects of a positive family environment in adolescence on an individual’s later marital relationships.

The event is free to all, but preregistration is necessary. Lunch is $10 and must be requested when registering to attend the forum. Continuing education credits are available for $10.

Schedule of Events

The 4th Annual Forum for Children and Families is at the Charles W. Eisemann Center, at 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson.

8:30 a.m. — Onsite check-in begins

9:00 - 9:15 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks

9:15 - 10:15 a.m. — Dr. Robert Crosnoe will present "Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School"

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. — Discussion and break

10:45 - 11:15 a.m. — Dr. Marion Underwood will present "Digital Connections"

11:15 a.m. - noon — Discussion

Noon - 1 p.m. — Lunch with remarks by Regina Montoya, senior vice president and general counsel, Children's Medical Center

1 - 1:30 p.m. — Dr. Francesca Filbey will present "Looking at the Adolescent Brain for Answers"

1:30 - 2 p.m. — Dr. Robert Ackerman will present "The Interpersonal Legacy of a Positive Family Climate in Adolescence"

2 - 2:30 p.m. — Dr. Robert Crosnoe will provide wrapup and commentary, "In Search of Action"

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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