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 

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

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

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

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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)

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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)

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 >