Sonia Livingstone

About Sonia Livingstone

Sonia Livingstone OBE is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. Taking a comparative, critical and contextual approach, her research examines how the changing conditions of mediation are reshaping everyday practices and possibilities for action. She has published twenty books on media audiences, media literacy and media regulation, with a particular focus on the opportunities and risks of digital media use in the everyday lives of children and young people. Her most recent book is The class: living and learning in the digital age (2016, with Julian Sefton-Green). Sonia has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe and other national and international organisations on children’s rights, risks and safety in the digital age. She was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 'for services to children and child internet safety.' Sonia Livingstone is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Psychological Society, the Royal Society for the Arts and fellow and past President of the International Communication Association (ICA). She has been visiting professor at the Universities of Bergen, Copenhagen, Harvard, Illinois, Milan, Oslo, Paris II, Pennsylvania, and Stockholm, and is on the editorial board of several leading journals. She is on the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation’s Ethics Committee, is an Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe, and was recently Special Advisor to the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Communications, among other roles. Sonia has received many awards and honours, including honorary doctorates from the University of Montreal, Université Panthéon Assas, the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the University of the Basque Country, and the University of Copenhagen. She is currently leading the project Global Kids Online (with UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and EU Kids Online), researching children’s understanding of digital privacy (funded by the Information Commissioner’s Office) and writing a book with Alicia Blum-Ross called ‘Parenting for a Digital Future (Oxford University Press), among other research, impact and writing projects. Sonia is chairing LSE’s Truth, Trust and Technology Commission in 2017-2018, and participates in the European Commission-funded research networks, DigiLitEY and MakEY. She runs a blog called www.parenting.digital and contributes to the LSE’s Media Policy Project blog. Follow her on Twitter @Livingstone_S
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    Risks to children online are increasingly problematic. Is the new internet Safety Strategy the solution?

Risks to children online are increasingly problematic. Is the new internet Safety Strategy the solution?

Earlier this month, UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley outlined proposals intended to make Britain ‘the safest place in the world to be online,’ addressing ‘dangers like cyber-bullying, trolling and under-age access to porn.’ LSE Professor Sonia Livingstone, who was commissioned by DCMS in February to provide up to date evidence of how young people are using the internet and the […]

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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 […]