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About Sonia Livingstone

Sonia Livingstone is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is author or editor of sixteen books and many academic articles and chapters. Her research examines children, young people and the internet; social and family contexts and uses of ICT; media and digital literacies; the mediated public sphere; audience reception for diverse television genres; internet use and policy; public understanding of communications regulation; and research methods in media and communications. Sonia Livingstone directs a 33-country network, EU Kids Online, for the EC's Safer Internet Programme. She serves on the Executive Board of the UK's Council for Child Internet Safety, and has, at various times, served on the Department of Education's Ministerial Taskforce for Home Access to Technology for Children, Ofcom's Media Literacy Research Forum, the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, and the Internet Watch Foundation. She has advised Ofcom, Department for Children, Schools and Families, Home Office, Economic and Social Research Council, BBC, The Byron Review on children's online risk, and Higher Education Funding Council for England. She was President of the International Communication Association (2007-8).
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    Children’s privacy rights are prominent in the Data Protection Bill but there’s many a slip…

Children’s privacy rights are prominent in the Data Protection Bill but there’s many a slip…

Last week, the UK government announced its plans for a new Data Protection Bill that would give people “more control over their personal data” and enable them to be be “better protected in the digital age.” LSE’s Sonia Livingstone looks the implications of the Bill for child rights and highlights areas that might need more work. 

Unexpectedly for many interested […]

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    Digital media challenge children’s rights around the world: The case for a General Comment on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Digital media challenge children’s rights around the world: The case for a General Comment on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Around the globe, in the global North as well as the global South, digital media are there to stay with significant implications for child rights and children’s wellbeing online. Following the launch of their report to the Children’s Commissioner for England, in this post Amanda Third, Sonia Livingstone and Gerison Lansdown are advocating for a General Comment on children’s […]

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    Children’s rights and the GDPR – are the new consultations creating light or further confusion?

Children’s rights and the GDPR – are the new consultations creating light or further confusion?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is due to become law throughout the EU on 25 May 2018. Recent consultations from the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have sought views on, among other aspects, the implications for children and their data. LSE Professor Sonia Livingstone explains some of the issues […]

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    It’s time to anticipate child rights issues in designing online services and policies for their use

It’s time to anticipate child rights issues in designing online services and policies for their use

The internet offers a range of advantages but also a multitude of risks for children who are using it. Two key issues in this context are the need for developing critical literacy skills as well as the lack of child-centered design in online applications. In this post, LSE Professor Sonia Livingstone, who is currently contributing to the UK Government’s […]

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    Where are the age restrictions on children’s use of Instagram?

Where are the age restrictions on children’s use of Instagram?

The UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley has just announced a new Internet Safety Strategy to crack down on risks to children such as cyber-bullying, sexting and online trolls. One way that tech companies claim to protect children is through setting age limits – usually 13 years old – for the use of their […]

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    Online challenges to children’s privacy, protection and participation: what can we expect from the GDPR?

Online challenges to children’s privacy, protection and participation: what can we expect from the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation, which will apply throughout the EU (including the UK) from 25 May 2018, contains provisions intended to enhance the protection of children’s personal data. LSE Professor Sonia Livingstone has been leading an effort by experts to explore the implications of the regulation and highlight issues that policy makers should address.

In the digital age, how […]

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    Children’s commercial media literacy: new evidence relevant to UK policy decisions regarding the GDPR

Children’s commercial media literacy: new evidence relevant to UK policy decisions regarding the GDPR

As for all EU member states, the UK has until May 2018 to incorporate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into British law. Article 8 states that, unless member states decide otherwise, children under the age of 16 years old will require parental permission to use “information society services”, which refers to most online resources. Most provisions of the […]

An updated UNCRC for the digital age

Child rights academic Sonia Livingstone has “edited” the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to reflect the digital world in which we live in today. The Convention was adopted in 1989, and since then the internet has become an integral part of children’s lives in ways which Sonia argues should be reflected in today’s interpretation […]

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    The GDPR: Using evidence to unpack the implications for children online

The GDPR: Using evidence to unpack the implications for children online

The 2016 European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) contains several provisions highly relevant to children and young people. In this post, Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology at LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, will discuss empirical evidence to explore issues around the application of the GDPR to children’s online activities.

Throughout this blog series, we have been decoding the implications of […]

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    New ‘screen time’ rules from the American Academy of Pediatrics

New ‘screen time’ rules from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its stance on screen time. Sonia Livingstone takes a closer look at the new recommendations and their evidence base. She argues that while the new guidelines fit better with the current circumstances of family lives, the AAP faces a dilemma: there isn’t yet a robust body of research on the effects of digital media on children, yet […]