Meet DearSmartphone:

Jane Gould is the voice of DearSmartphone. She got her first cellphone on Easter Sunday in 2002 but only after her middle son, then in high school, threatened to leave home if they did not get a family plan.  She recalls this day as the entry point to distracted driving and distracted parenting.

Jane began her career as a journalist but went on to get a doctoral degree from the Annenberg School of Communications. Her initial research was on young children and the impact of heavy television viewing. However, her interest in new technology and mobility led her to do trending research on this topic for over twenty years. It was only after the “invention” of the mobile phone that she was able to put together her work in these two areas- media impacts and mobility. 

After graduating, Jane worked for a subsidiary of AT&T.  She subbed as a phone operator during strikes and apologizes to callers she inadvertently disconnected.

She became interested in how nascent technologies like the AT&T Picturephone, Qube’s home shopping, and the Nokia car-phone might substitute or complement travel. With academic colleagues at the London Business School and the University of California-Irvine  and UCLA she has consulted, taught, and published numerous studies on future mobility, teleshopping (using the phone to shop from home) and telework. When not shopping from home, she wrote a well-acclaimed book called “Aging in Suburbia” available on Amazon

In 2015 she began teaching seniors how to use their smartphones for better mobility and access. She was also working on a campaign to reach distracted teen drivers and pedestrians who were looking down, not up. These projects made it evident that  mobile phones were changing our personal lives and relationships, and not always for the better. The research morphed into a larger pursuit on smartphones, partial attention, and multitasking- issues which are at the core of digital literacy.

Jane serves on several transportation boards. She also offers classes at Marin Community College for students who seek to change their digital habits and use their phones more mindfully. She is curious, and seeking to understand, how in less than ten years,  mobile devices have changed parenting,  attention spans, and free time and play. 

She is married to the same husband for over thirty years, has a wire fox terrier, and is mom to three grown sons. She splits her time between Marin County and Cambridge, Ma. Her boys insist they use their smartphones…responsibly!

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