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

In October 2014 Vicky Rideout was appointed to a standing committee of the National Research Council, part of the National Academies.  The purpose of the Committee is to assist the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement strategies to improve public attitudes and beliefs about mental health and substance abuse disorders.   In the wake of the tragic death of comedian Robin Williams, it is our honor to serve on this Committee and help inform the government's efforts on this critical topic.  Changing social norms is a challenging business; the Committee's task is to explore the scientific research that can help inform our efforts. 


As of 2013, Vicky Rideout was named 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.   


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.

A study for Northwestern University about teens' use of digital health information and tools, including medical websites, social media, health-related apps, and wearable devices.  (Spring, 2015)


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. (2014-2016)


A study with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Vikki Katz (Rutgers), also for the Gates Foundation, about technology use and attitudes in Hispanic families with children in the K-8th grades. (2015)

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 >


 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.  During the 2015 NFL playoffs it was hard to miss the NO MORE PSAs featuring various players, several of whom had grown up in abusive homes themselves.  Check out this January 2015 New York Times article The Small Team Behind No More. For more about this project, read Ad Age’s article about the development of the No More project, see Vice President Biden wearing the No More symbol, browse  Tim Gunn's blog about No More, watch a clip from Law & Order: SVU featuring the NO MORE message, or visit the NO MORE website for more information. And check out this incredible story about Christine Mau, brand design director for Kimberly-Clark group (Kleenex, Huggies) and one of Advertising Age’s “Women to Watch,” who was recruited by VJR Consulting to participate in the NO MORE project. The NO MORE television PSAs were created by the Joyful Heart Foundation. Read the Huffington Post piece about the launch of the PSA campaign and watch Mariska Hargitay tell Katie Couric about making her directorial debut with this PSA campaign.  In addition to the NFL partnership, our other media efforts include a major new campaign from Viacom, featured on MTV, BET and other networks (read the press release and watch the PSAs here).  Another ground-breaking partnership was forged with USA television network, which has hosted NO MORE marathons featuring long-form programming on domestic violence and sexual assault, custom "wraps" on related topics such as sexual assault in the military or teen dating abuse, and the NO MORE PSAs.  Learn more about the USA partnership here.  And Fox News has been with us from the beginning, generously donating substantial amounts of prime air time. 

 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 >