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 and contributes to the LSE’s Media Policy Project blog. Follow her on Twitter @Livingstone_S

Dire warnings about children dying because of apps and games are a form of ‘juvenoia’

In this post Larry Magid takes a look at the recent media coverage of two apps and games that have been accused of harming children’s mental health. He argues that these sensationalist stories are often based on fake news and may serve only to exaggerate fears surrounding online risk in potentially damaging ways. Larry is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He is […]

September 21st, 2018|Featured, In the news|0 Comments|

Does excessive social media use actually harm the self-esteem of young people?

A Swedish survey has claimed that social media use negatively affects the self esteem of young people. But such studies must take into account the complex intertwining of online and offline worlds, and recognise that a sharp distinction  between life, relationships, and communication online and offline is no longer meaningful. Stine Liv Johansen is an Associate Professor at the Centre […]

September 19th, 2018|Featured, In the news|0 Comments|

It’s time to end the Wild West of the Web

Rapidly developing technology and the ubiquity of social media means that there is increasing risk of child sexual exploitation or abuse online. A recent NSPCC FOI investigation found there were more than 3,000 police-recorded offences for sexual communication with a child in England and Wales in 2017/18 alone. In this post, Pooja Kumari introduces the NSPCC’s new Wild West Web […]

September 14th, 2018|Featured, In the news|0 Comments|
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    Children’s online safety in Nigeria: the government’s critical role

Children’s online safety in Nigeria: the government’s critical role

Recent research by Project Open Eyes in Lagos, Nigeria has found that while nine out of 10 teenagers have access to the internet and three out of four have made friends with strangers online, there remains a very low level of digital literacy and a lack of regulatory protection at the state level. In this post Chukwuemeka Monyei calls for a more […]

The importance of video game literacy for healthy parenting

Many children enjoy playing video games, yet they offer distinct challenges and opportunities arising from their ability to tell stories, invite participation, create imaginary worlds and connect players. Andy Robertson outlines how parents, by taking a more holistic approach, can develop their own video game literacy and guide their children towards a healthy video game experience. Andy is a freelance journalist specialising in video games for […]

September 5th, 2018|Featured, Reflections|0 Comments|
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    Critical digital literacy: Ten key readings for our distrustful media age

Critical digital literacy: Ten key readings for our distrustful media age

Misinformation and distrust are the characteristics of our time. They make the question of how to promote critical digital literacy particularly important. In this post, Gianfranco Polizzi suggests ten key texts that offer a framework for thinking about how to approach it. Gianfranco is a PhD researcher at the Department of Media and Communications, LSE. Employing a mixed qualitative methodology, his PhD […]

Banning kids from having smartphones misses the point

Recent articles have suggested that handheld devices should be banned for children. In this post, Lynn Schofield Clark, shows why that view hyperbolic and argues for a productive and valuable use of technology and screen time. Lynn is a Professor at the University of Denver who studies the choices we face as digital and mobile media change our relationships and […]

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    Fake news and critical literacy: new findings, new questions

Fake news and critical literacy: new findings, new questions

The Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills recently published a report on fake news and critical literacy which surveyed schoolchildren and teachers. LSE PhD researcher Gianfranco Polizzi summarises the key findings of the report – which include that only 2% of children can spot fake news – and sets out his recommendations in response. [Header image credit: Y.C.V. Chow, […]

What’s new in ‘digital parenting’ research? Insights from the Connected Learning Summit 2018

Connected learning has been defined as learning that is “socially embedded, interest driven and orientated towards educational, economic, or political opportunity”. In this post Sonia Livingstone outlines research from Parenting for a Digital Future, presented at the Connected Learning Summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which shows the many ways in which social class inequalities differentiate how parents can provide for their children’s […]

A clearer picture of what hurts kids online

What do young people find harmful online? Is ‘cyberbullying’ an adequate and useful term to be using in our research?  Anne Collier discusses findings from Global Kids Online research against University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center’s findings. Anne is executive director of national nonprofit organisation The Net Safety Collaborative (TNSC) and founder of its main project, the U.S.’s social media helpline for […]