Many of the most controversial issues in developmental psychology are the ones that bridge the gap between academic psychology and social issues or policy. Three areas are particularly rife with topics:
1. Education: The use of testing, focus on reading and math, and a decline in character-based or social education have all had impacts on children. In many cases the prevailing wind in our culture goes against what psychologists say about how to raise children. In other cases, psychologists are divided and their research is used to support more than one side of an issue.
Examples: Common Core education standards and developmental psychology
Home schooling and social development
Educational testing and its impact on children
2. Media: The exposure of children to violence, graphic content, and even television and video games themselves have been topics of a great deal of psychological research, much of which often gets media coverage as concerned parents try to do what is best for their children.
Examples: Violent video games' impact on children
Is there such a thing as too much television, from a brain-development perspective?
3. Nature and Nurture: What impact does parenting have on personality, intelligence, and all forms of development? Many of the aspects of this question have been played out across years and years of research.
Examples: Environmental versus genetic impacts on reading proficiency
Educational aptitude in adopted children
The effects of divorce on children's developmental growth