danah boyd puts the 'spotlight' on Vicky Rideout in the latest issue of the International Communications Association's newsletter for the Division on Children, Adolescents & Media  - read the interview >

National Academies Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms

In October 2014 Vicky Rideout was appointed to a National Academies of Science committee on Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms.  The purpose of the Committee was to help the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration develop strategies to improve public attitudes and beliefs about mental health and substance abuse disorders.   Changing social norms is a challenging business; the Committee's task was to explore the scientific research that can help inform SAMHSA's efforts.  Watch the Committee's workshop "Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms," held March 18, 2015 for insights from various academics and practitioners in the field, and to see Vicky Rideout's presentation on the impact of embedding messaging in entertainment programming. 


A study for Common Sense Media on media use among 8- to 18-year-olds. (Fall, 2015)


A study for the Gates Foundation with Kevin Clark (George Mason University) and Kimberly Scott (Arizona State University) about access to, use of, and attitudes about digital technology among African-American youth. (2016)


A study with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Vikki Katz (Rutgers), also for the Gates Foundation, about digital equity, focusing on use of technology among low- and moderate-income families.  (2016)

Since 2013, Vicky Rideout has served as editor of Reviews and Commentary for the Journal of Children and Media. Here are a few great pieces from the Journal you can access for free online:

A commentary by New America’s Lisa Guernsey about translating research to the public, with a case study about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations on “Facebook Depression.”

A review of danah boyd’s It’s Complicated and Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s The App Generation, by June Ahn.

An article about the effects of background TV on child-directed speech by parents, by Tiffany Pempek, Heather Kirkorian, and Dan Anderson.   


March 2015:  Presentation to a National Academies of Science workshop on changing behavioral health social norms.  Presentation focused on evaluationing the effects of health content embedded in the popular entertainment television show show Grey's Anatomy. Watch the workshop here.


October 2014:  Presentation about trends in digital media use among young children, and the ongoing importance of the digital divide, at the Digital Kids Summit. Watch a video of the presentation here 


July 2014:  Panel presentation at the Casual Connect conference in San Francsico.  Read the article "Vicky Rideout Believes in the Power of Media," or watch the panel video here.

June 2014:  Luncheon speaker at the Association of American Publishers conference Content in Context.  


March 2013:  Participated in a panel discussion with Participant Media, The Ad Council, and others at SXSW Interactive in Austin. Topic: Content integration for social causes. Listen to Podcast >

July 2012:  Spoke at The Aspen Institute Children’s Forum, on a panel about video games and health.

May 2012:  Served on The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, in collaboration with HBO’s series The Weight of the NationRead the Committee’s reportwatch the HBO specials, or read the New England Journal of Medicine’s commentary on our Committee’s recommendations.

September, 2012:  Panelist at the Department of Health and Human Services Symposium Technology and Human Services.

How successful is issue-based “product placement” at motivating consumers to think differently about a social issue or inspire change?

In this podcast from a panel at SXSW Interactive's 2013 conference, Vicky Rideout shares her experience working in partnership with Grey’s Anatomy to embed health messages in the popular TV show, and then to evaluate the impact on the audience. Presenters include Anastasia Goodstein, VP of Digital Services at the Ad Council; Lindsay Guetschow, Senior Director of Marketing & Strategic Alliances for Participant Media; Rick Rey, head of Original Programming & Development at Blip Networks; and Vicky Rideout, president of VJR Consulting. Listen to Podcast >

VJR Consulting is an independent consulting firm specializing in research, policy, and strategic communications work for non-profits. Special areas of focus include conducting high-quality research on youth and media, and developing and evaluating media campaigns on social issues. We design and direct public opinion and media research, write reports, develop policy positions, conduct strategic planning, convene high-level events, and plan media campaigns.  We operate at the intersection of issues, research, and communications. Read More >


Teens, Health, and Technology: A National Survey
June 2015, for Northwestern University
If there is one thing that defines the current generation of teenagers, it is the degree to which they are always “connected”—spending vast amounts of time using social media, surfing the web, watching YouTube videos, Tweeting, and using apps.

The teenage years are also a time when young people grapple with a multitude of health concerns, ranging from puberty to obesity to drug and alcohol use.  Yet this is the first study we are aware of in nearly 15 years to survey a large, nationally-representative sample of teens to document how they use the Internet for health information. And it is the only national survey we know of to document teens’ use of newer technologies for health, such as mobile apps, social networking sites, and wearable devices. Read the Study >

In the News

Study: Nearly third of teens changed health habits based on online search
Washington Post - ‎June 7, 2015. "...a lot of teens are grappling with very real, very important health challenges and...the Internet is empowering them with the information they need to take better care of themselves,” said Vicky Rideout, a co-author of the study.   Read the Article >

Teenagers Seek Health Information Online, but Don't Always Trust It
New York Times - ‎June 7, 2015. "One in three teenagers said they changed their behavior because of what they had learned from online sites or apps..." "[The study] shows that teenagers can be independent and empowered actors in taking care of their own health,” said Vicky Rideout, a media and health researcher who designed the survey. Read the Article >

 The NO MORE Project

It's not often that public service campaigns get a platform as large as the one the NO MORE campaign got at the 2015 Super Bowl, when a NO MORE PSA on domestic violence aired before a huge television audience.  The LA Times called it "the single most important thing on television this year" and MediaPost reported that it was the second-best-viewed ad in the Super Bowl!  (Watch CNN's story about the ad and the NFL's decision to donate the airtime.)  VJR Consulting is very proud to have been part of this campaign from the start, working with a coalition of domestic violence and sexual assault organizations to help develop and launch the NO MORE Project. We designed, recruited participants for, and facilitated strategic planning workshops with media and advertising experts; directed the formative consumer research including focus groups in New York, San Jose and Atlanta; oversaw an online survey to test specific concepts; wrote the strategic plan for the project; and helped negotiate media partnerships to secure free air time for the PSAs.  Read more about this project here....

 Research Brief on Children, Teens, and Reading, May, 2014. 

This research brief for Common Sense Media documents a dramatic drop in reading among teens in recent years, coupled with a persistent achievement gap in reading between White and minority youth.  Download a copy of the report here, read Frank Bruni’s impassioned column in the New York Times, listen to NPR’s story, or read other coverage from The Washington Post, TIME, or Reuters. 

 Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America, January 2014.

Ever since the dawn of electronic media, educators and children’s advocates have been working to maximize its use as a tool for children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.  This study for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center explores just what portion of children’s screen media consumption is educational, and how parents view the benefits of educational media.  Download a copy of the report, watch a video of Vicky discussing the findings, view the edWeb webinar in which Vicky and the Cooney Center’s Michael Levine present findings from the report, or read coverage of the study in the New York Times, USA Today, or the Washington Post.

Advertising to Children and Teens:  A Common Sense Media Research Brief, Spring, 2014.

The media environment for children and teens has changed dramatically in recent years, and so, too, has the advertising environment – perhaps even more so.  Advertising to youth now includes product placement, immersive websites, advergaming, viral marketing, mobile ads, social-media marketing, and precise behavioral and geographic targeting.  The purpose of this report is to inventory the new techniques being used, and to review what we do and don’t know about the extent of children’s exposure to advertising through media.  Download a copy of the report, or read coverage in US News & World Report or The Christian Science Monitor.

Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America for Common Sense Media, Fall, 2013.

Even a casual observer of children and families today knows big changes are afoot when it comes to children and new media technologies. This report, based on the results of a large-scale, nationally representative survey, documents for the first time exactly how big those changes are. Read the report, or the story that ran in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Toddlers and Tablets: Way of the Future?
June 5, 2013, ABC News Nightline
A survey (Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology) by Northwestern's School of Communication of 2,300 parents of children aged to 8-years-old found that 37 percent of parents still report they are likely to use their tablet or smartphone to entertain their kids, despite the fact that 54 percent worry their children's use of mobile devices had a negative impact on their physical activity. Read More >

Most Parents Show Little Worry About Media Use, Survey Says
June 4, 2013. New York Times
Do parents worry about the growing amount of time their children spend with media? One new study suggests that most parents are largely unconcerned. And perhaps no wonder: Parents who show little concern about their children’s use of technology themselves spend big chunks of their leisure time with media. The study’s co-author, Vicky Rideout, an independent researcher who over the last decade has done pioneering research into patterns of technology use, said she was surprised to find that 59 percent of the 2,300 parents surveyed were not worried... Read Article > 

Children, Teens and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom
October, 2012.  Read the New York Times story on the national survey of teachers we directed for Common Sense Media, about how teachers view the impact of entertainment media on students’ academic skills and social development.   Download the full report or visit Common Sense Media’s research library for more of their work. 
Social Media, Social Life:  How Teens View Their Digital Lives 
June 26, 2012:  Read the new study we directed and wrote for Common Sense Media, about how teens think social media impacts their social and emotional well-being.

Download Report >
Download Infographic > 
Read Washington Post Article >