iOS app Android app

Julie Dobrow
Dr. Julie Dobrow, Ph.D., is Director of the Communications & Media Studies Program, a Senior Lecturer in the Eliot-Pearson of Child Development at Tufts University and has a faculty appointment in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts Medical School. She teaches classes on children and media issues and does research on portrayals of race, gender, ethnicity and age in children's media. A frequent speaker on media literacy to parent and educational groups, Dobrow is also the mother of four children.

Entries by Julie Dobrow

The App Gap: Debating and Rating "Educational" Apps for Kids

(2) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 2:21 PM

I'm in the grocery store and see a scene I see more and more: a harried young parent hands her phone to the fidgety toddler sitting in the shopping cart. "Here, play Abby Monkey!" says mom. Abby Monkey: First Phonics and Letter Sounds School Adventure ranked #4 on Amazon's 2014...

Read Post

Peggy Charren: The Godmother of Children's Television

(3) Comments | Posted January 24, 2015 | 10:55 AM

Peggy Charren used to call me up periodically to check on me. "Cookie, are still teaching that class on children's media?" she'd say. "These college kids need to understand that just because they've grown up with media doesn't mean they understand it." No one knew this better than Peggy. And...

Read Post

Outside of the (Media) Box: Music and Kids' Imagination

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 2:04 PM

These days we hear so much about the debate over whether too much screen time cuts into kids' ability to imagine. There's not much research about this - after all, how could you go about measuring imagination? - but it remains a hotly contested topic, nonetheless. That got me thinking...

Read Post

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the (Advertising) Year

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 10:25 AM

It's still a month until Christmas and yet the radio stations have begun their non-stop deluge of Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" and Andy Williams' version of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." This most wonderful time seems to start earlier every year. Indeed, this year, many...

Read Post

Be My Friend: The Staggering Number of Young People's Cell Phone Contacts

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 2:39 PM

After her six year-old flip phone had lost keys and was literally falling apart, my parsimonious and independent 20-something daughter finally agreed to let me get her a new one. It seemed to be taking forever to transfer the data from her old phone to her new one. Finally, she...

Read Post

Robots Are Everywhere! Learning About Technology From Robotics

(1) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 4:28 PM

If it seems like robots are everywhere today, that's because they are.

A quick glance at the weekly news and feature stories from the past couple of weeks has shown, among other things, a starfish shaped robot that cleans your rugs, curtains and floors; a newly-released X-Men movie featuring the...

Read Post

'Tis the Season: Posting College Admission Status On Facebook

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 11:44 AM

It's that time of year: The days are getting a little longer, we're seeing scores of professional baseball teams in their pre-season training match-ups. Here in New England there are even a few little brave crocuses poking their heads up in places where the snow has melted. Spring is on...

Read Post

'Watching Television' Means Something Different for Today's Kids

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 12:43 PM

When my kids were little, (which doesn't feel like it was that long ago even though objectively speaking, it's been almost a decade since my youngest could still be considered little), I depended on the VCR. I depended on this technological tool to help me with both television content and...

Read Post

Learning from Arthur: New Research on Anti-bullying Awareness

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 9:45 AM

If you ask any parent or teacher where they think the majority of educational television programming for children is shown, the answer is almost always "on PBS, of course!" But there are still open questions of what, exactly, constitutes "educational television" and even more importantly, what evidence do we have...

Read Post

Analyzing Your Media History

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 3:07 PM

Each spring semester for the past eighteen years, I've taught a course at Tufts University called Children and Mass Media. And each January I've chosen to begin the class the same way. On the first day of class, I give my students their first assignment: analyze your personal media history....

Read Post

Toddlers and Tablets

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 12:59 PM

A relative recently told me about her year-old granddaughter's first three words. "She can say 'mama,' 'dada' and 'iPad', "she reported. Have iPads become the new "babas"?

Certainly iPads and similar tablet devices has become far more ubiquitous in young children's lives than ever. In a Fall 2013...

Read Post

Do As I Say, Not As I Do': Teachers, Cellphones and Media Literacy

(4) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 7:53 AM

"Do as I say, not as I do," goes the idiom that's been utilized by sitcom writers, comic artists and satirists of all stripes. Yet there's something important to be learned from the hypocrisy inherent in this statement, especially with regard to teaching about media literacy.

In a

Read Post

Screen Time for Preschoolers: Recommendations vs. Reality

(1) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 11:32 AM

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with its 2013 recommendations about children and media use. To cut to the chase, they suggest limiting total screen time for children over 2 years old to two hours or less a day, and advise "discouraging" any screen time,...

Read Post

What Would Amy Ask? Etiquette for Young People in the Age of Cell Phones

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 4:53 PM

A couple of years ago before my daughter had graduated from college, I asked her why she never left a message when she called me. "Isn't it enough that you know I called?" she replied.

The etiquette of cell phone use is certainly an evolving one. When is it okay...

Read Post

Teens Shifting Privacy Settings on Facebook -- Really?

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 12:04 PM

A New York Times headline caught my eye last week: "Facebook Removes Dating Ads Featuring Photo of Dead Girl." The story, itself, was a little bizarre: an online Canadian dating service published an ad on Facebook which used the photo of a young woman who had committed...

Read Post

Texting, the New Anti-bullying Technology

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 10:10 AM

I heard a poignant story the other day in the grocery store. A woman I knew from my years as PTA president stopped me by the bananas. We don't see each other much anymore and took this opportunity to fill each other in on what our respective children were up...

Read Post

Back to School in an Ad-Centric World

(2) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 8:27 AM

Here in New England acorns are starting to fall, the nights are a little cooler, the trees are beginning to show their first tinges of color. But the back to school ads have been on the air for months prior to the first yellow school busses making their initial runs....

Read Post

Dealing With Difficult News: Children, Media and the Boston Marathon Bombings

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 3:08 PM

It's been almost week now since the Boston Marathon bombings. Over the past few days, those of us here in Boston have been living in what can only be described as a surreal state. I'll leave it to others to reflect on the meanings of this week with regard to...

Read Post

So Many Screens, So Little Time

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 3:06 PM

My 13-year-old son is in the other room playing an online soccer game with other kids which he's displaying on the TV while he's "watching" a rerun of Parks and Recreation on his laptop. Oh, and he's getting instant messages from some of his friends online, too. This sort of...

Read Post

Facing Facebook

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 4:32 PM

Turns out that Facebook isn't exactly permanently changing the world like everyone thought - or feared. Not if you pay attention to what college students, the originally intended audience for Facebook, are saying. At least some of them are deciding to turn away from Facebook in favor of good old...

Read Post