"The distinction between correlation and causation is not a mere technicality to acknowledge before moving on to a pre-ordained conclusion; it is fundamental to a correct interpretation of the work." Read Vicky Rideout's response to Jean Twenge's provocative Atlantic article on the London School of Economics' Parenting for a Digital Future blog.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences summarizes workshops on how to change social norms and promote behavior change on behavioral health issues such as depression and other mental health issues.  Vicky Rideout shared her experience working with Hollywood writers and producers to integrate health-related content into enterainment television shows.  Report available free here.

 

A survey with University of Texas Professor Craig Watkins about Millennials' use of social media for social and political engagement;

A benchmark study on youth, tech, and health for HopeLab;

An evaluation of a pro-social media campaign for the Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail;

The second wave of Social Media, Social Life - a survey of teen social media use for Common Sense Media;

And more - stay tuned!  

 


Given the variety of activities children can undertake on their phones and tablets, does it even make sense to talk about "screen time" any more?  And in this transmedia world, how can we effectively measure children's media usage - or should we even bother to try? 

Read Vicky Rideout's commentary in the Journal of Children and Media on why it does make sense to continue doing our best to measure the time children and teens spend with various types of media, using quantitative, nationally representative, probabilistic samples - despite the many challenges of doing so.  The article includes lots of key data from the recent Common Sense Census: Media Use By Tweens and Teens, now available in an academic journal. 

 

danah boyd puts the 'spotlight' on Vicky Rideout in the International Communications Association's newsletter for the Division on Children, Adolescents & Media 

read the interview >

Watch Politico's behind-the-scenes video about Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic Convention speech, including an interview with Vicky Rideout, director of speech writing for the Convention. 

VJR Consulting is an independent consulting firm specializing in high-quality research on youth and media. We design nationally-representative quantitative survey research, analyze data, and write reports. We also develop and evaluate pro-social media campaigns on issues concerning children and families. We operate at the intersection of issues, research, and communications. The firm is run by Vicky Rideout, who the New York Times says "has done pioneering research into patterns of technology use."   Read More >

 

Stop Bullying Before It Starts: Giving Kids a Voice: We loved working with Cartoon Network and the Making Caring Common project at Harvard University on this nationally-representative, probability-based survey of 9- to 11-year-olds. The survey documents the number of kids that have witnessed or experienced bullying, as well as how many have tried to help someone who has been bullied. But more than that, it also documents the fact that lots of kids are reaching out in brave acts of kindness to kids who are different from them – kids who are being left out, picked on, or just having a tough time or feeling down. The survey also shows that kids aren’t getting the leadership from adults that they deserve: a majority say the adults in our government don’t set a good example of treating people kindly, and 70% said it would help kids their age be nicer to one another if our country’s leaders set a better example.  See the infographic or read the report for more information, and check out the NPR Ed blog here. 

 

The Common Sense Census: Media Use By Kids Age Zero to Eight (2017).  We surveyed more than 1,400 parents to document the amount of time children spend engaged in various media activities, as well as their access to and use of media devices.  The survey is the third in a series of tracking studies measuring changes over time.  Media activities include watching TV and online videos, playing video games, listening to music, reading, and other digital activities.  Devices include television, smartphones, tablets, computers, e-books, and video game players - and we even look at the newest trends such as Virtual Reality, virtual assistants (think Siri or Alexa), and the "internet of toys."  Download a copy of the Executive Summary or Full Report.  Listen to NPR's story on the survey, watch CNN's Headline News piece about the study, or read coverage from USA Today, EdWeek, or EdSurge

The Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents: Innovating and Learning with Technology.  Funded by the Gates Foundation, this study surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 African-American teen-parent dyads, on attitudes toward and use of computers and other digital technology.  Our conclusion?  "The shortage of young African Americans going into tech or STEM fields does not appear to be due to a lack of interest in, enjoyment of, or confidence about using computers.  African American youth enjoy learning about new technology, they enjoy using computers, and they have done a lot with computers.  But they have a great unmet interest in learning more about computers.  There is no lack of aspiration on young people's parts - but the adults, educators, and policymakers in their lives now need to do their part to build the environments that will catalyze those aspirations."  Read about the study in Ebony and Education Week.  Also, check out the full report for data on parents' and teens' computer confidence, encounters with racist or sexist content online, and interest or experience in coding - and it's all broken out by age, gender, and socio-economic status.  

The Common Sense Census:  Media Use By Tweens and Teens

This comprehensive survey of 2,658 8- to 18-year-olds documents which media activities they enjoy most, how often they engage in each activity, and the average amount of time they spend with each activity per day.  The study covers TV, online videos, social media, video games, computer games, mobile games, surfing the Internet, listening to music, and reading.  In addition, the study documents the devices young people use to access those media, including time spent using smartphones, computers and tablets.  Data are provided separately for tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) and teens (13- to 18-year-olds), and are broken out by gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status.  Download the executive summary or full report Watch the video of Vicky Rideout's presentation of the key findings, and a panel discussion moderated by former White House press secretary Mike McCurry, featuring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Northwestern University Professor Ellen Wartella, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer, and Ms. Rideout. Read the New York Times article about the study.


Opportunity for All?  Digital Technology and Learning in Lower Income Families

VJR Consulting directed this nationally-representative telephone survey on digital access.  The survey, conducted among low- and moderate-income parents, explored issues of digital access, and documented the challenges of the “under-connected” – those without home broadband, or whose home connection is slow or inconsistent.  The full survey findings are available here.  The data were released at an event at New America, featuring remarks from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  Listen to the NPR story on All Things Considered, read the USA Today article about the findings, check out the commentary in EdSurge from Google's global education evangelist Jaime Casap, read the op-ed from London's Financial Times, or hear the interview with study co-authors Vicky Rideout and Vikki Katz on KQED’s Forum.  Learn more about the project here.

Teens, Health, and Technology: A National Survey
Study conducted 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.

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.  As Bruni writes in his column, "I was crestfallen on Monday, when a new report by Common Sense Media came out. It showed that 30 years ago, only 8 percent of 13-year-olds and 9 percent of 17-year-olds said they 'hardly ever' or never read for pleasure. Today, 22 percent of 13-year-olds and 27 percent of 17-year-olds say that...What a marked and depressing change."


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

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.

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.