"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.

Read Vicky Rideout's comments about teens and smart phones in the August 2018 issue of the Atlantic

 

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

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

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

And more - stay tuned!  

 

Given the variety of activities children can undertake on their phones and tablets, does it 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 >

 

 
Social Media, Social Life:  Teens Reveal Their Experiences.
“The complexity of social media’s role in young people’s lives may frustrate those looking for easy answers or simplistic solutions. But it is a reality that this survey has made abundantly clear.” Read the new survey VJR Consulting did for Common Sense Media, tracking trends in teen social media use from 2012 to 2018. The survey includes data about how often US teens use social media; specific actions they take (active vs. passive use); when they do or don’t take breaks from social media; how often they encounter racist and sexist content online; and whether social media makes them feel better or worse about themselves. The survey explores the relationship of social media use with teens’ social and emotional well-being, including a special focus on more vulnerable teens.  Download the report here.   

And for more about the survey, watch coverage from CBS or NBC, listen to the story on NPR’s The Takeaway, or read stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, Education Week, or Time Magazine

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Digital Health Practices, Social Media Use, and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S.
This nationally representative probability survey of 14- to 22-year-olds sheds important new light on the relationship between social media use and adolescent depression. The survey reveals that teens and young adults are making extensive use of the internet, social media, and mobile apps to help address their depression and anxiety. In addition, young people suffering from depression or anxiety have diverse responses to social media – for some, it is an important lifeline to support and human connection, while for others it just reinforces negative emotions.  Many young people exhibit a high degree of 'agency' about how they use social media - consciously curating their feeds for inspiration and support, or staying off social media entirely during tough times. In addition to the quantitative data, the report includes numerous comments from survey respondents describing in their own words how they use digital media when they are feeling depressed or anxious. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Susannah Fox, on behalf of Hopelab and Well Being Trust. Download a copy of the full report here>

Interested in what others have to say about the research? Read the NBC News piece on the study, or the Health Populi post about what they call a “breakthrough, sobering” report.  Health Populi also calls the report “the first deep-dive into the many dimensions of young people, their relationship with social media, and depression.” In NetFamilyNews, Anne Collier calls the report “groundbreaking,” while The Quantified Self writes that the report “deserves sustained attention,” and notes “There’s a lot to think about in this report.”

  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 reportWatch 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.

 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."