Read Vicky Rideout's response to the Atlantic's article, "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation," on the London School of Economics' blog Parenting for a Digital Future. "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 the blog >

 

The next wave of the Common Sense Census: Media Use Among 0-8 Year-Olds (2017).  We'll survey more than 1,000 parents to measure young children's access to and use of media, including television, touchscreens, computers, e-books, print, apps, and video games - and we'll look at the newest media such as Virtual Reality and virtual assistants (think Siri, or Alexa). And we'll track trends in screen use since the last study in 2013. 


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. 

Report on online privacy for Common Sense Media 
Most kids today live their lives online, immersed in a mobile and digital landscape. This brave new world has revolutionized childhood. Kids and teens now create and consume enormous amounts of online and mobile content. Their access to people and information presents both possibilities and problems. While the Internet is a platform for innovation and economic growth and brings rich resources for entertainment and learning, the very nature of digital interaction creates deep concerns about kids’ privacy.

Today, our kids are growing up in public. Whatever they text or post can be searched, copied, pasted, distributed, collected, and viewed by vast invisible audiences. Parents rightly fear that their children’s activities and personal information are being tracked and traced. 

Tracking and profiling children online has quickly become a widespread practice. The Wall Street Journal recently found that 4,123 cookies and other pieces of tracking technology were installed on a test computer that was used to visit the top 50 websites for children and teens – 30% more than a Journal test of the top 50 overall sites, which are generally aimed at adults.

So what privacy protections do our children have – and what protections should they have? At the moment, there’s mainly a law written in 1998, when Google was just beginning and Facebook and Zynga didn’t exist. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits the collection of “personally identifiable” information – including name, phone number, email or street address, and Social Security number – from children ages 12 and under without parental consent. COPPA remains the cornerstone policy protecting children’s online privacy, but the technological advances that have occurred since 1998 make COPPA woefully out of date for keeping children safe from new threats to their privacy. Read More >