Welcome

Thank you for your interest in our work to help children safely and productively navigate the digital world in which we all increasingly live. I spent over 15 years as a senior executive at studios such as MGM and Sony (IMDB here), and then earned a PhD in child psychology from UCLA.  My background provides unique insight into the intersection of positive youth development, entertainment media and scientific research. I love sharing this expertise by keynoting and joining panels with a variety of audiences including parents, academics and industry.  

If you are interested in learning more about my research,  speaking or  writing, I’ve shared the latest on this site. For my bio, click here.   LinkedIn here

Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more about working with me or my colleagues.

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Research

I’ve been doing research since 2008 on how traditional and newer media impact the social behavior of preadolescents. I do research with the Children’s Digital Media Center@UCLA,  Common Sense Media and through my own lab at UCLA.

For my academic CV, click here.  For honors, advisory and community work, click here. If you are interested in working with us, reach out.

Past and Current Research Topics

Media, Kids and Character Development – How stories can best shape positive youth development – This research and report was done with Common Sense Media

Implicit Bias and Storytelling – This research is being conducted at UCLA

Screens, Face to Face Time and Non-Verbal Emotional Cues We are currently conducting a follow up study on this study at UCLA

Values on Popular Pre-Teen TV – This was a series of 3 studies on the relationship of TV, social media and values. We are currently conducting a follow up study at UCLA

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Media & Social Change

My background in both entertainment media and academia gives me unique insight into the intersection of social change, entertainment media and scientific research. The entertainment media that adolescents spend hours consuming represent a key opportunity to shape their world views. The work of researchers is critical to share with content creators who can apply the lessons learned to the stories that youth consume.  

My passion is to bridge the work of researchers and entertainment executives in order to help storytellers access useful science that can help them create impactful content and affect social change.

Past and Current Topics and Events 

  • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
    • With Women@Google: several events about Diversity in Media
    • With Women@Twitter : event called Creating Superwomen
    • At SXSW Interactive: presented on Body Image and Advertising
    • Presentations on gender include White House, HBS, the NFL and AFE
  • Character and Social and Emotional learning
    • Common Sense Media: Lead on grant (Bezos Family Foundation & the John Templeton Foundation) on connecting character development with media
    • Disney Channel and Common Sense: Host of Conversations about Andi Mack
    • Presentations include SXSW Edu, the Willows School and Character.Org
  • Implicit Bias
    • At UCLA: conducting a study to determine what kind of stories will reduce implicit race bias
  • STEAM learning
    • With Henson: held a private workshop* for writers and researchers on STEAM, implicit bias and children’s shows
    • KidScreen: Moderated a panel called Steam Research: Entertaining Kids where Creativity and Technology Intersect
    • Henson and Sprout: educational advisor on Sprout’s preschool series Dot 
  • Screens and Kids
    • Common Sense: held a private workshop* about the effects of screens on children’s brains and behavior.

*Attendees at private workshops include executives from many studios including Netflix and Disney and showrunners and producers from children’s shows as well as teen and adult programming.

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Writing & Translation

Sharing scientific research without bias to the public is key. In a world of fake news and information overload, I strive to translate research with a focus on balance and facts. Audiences include industry, parents and educators.

Recent writing:

Parenting Book, Media Moms & Digital Dads

My parenting book Media Moms & Digital Dads breaks down complex issues in a friendly, accessible fashion, making it a useful and, ultimately, reassuring read for anyone worries about the impact that media might be having on young minds.  Each chapter ends with summaries of the science, bottom lines for quick takeaways, and tips and guidance for parents.

 

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