Professor Sonia Livingstone

Professor Sonia Livingstone

Professor of Social Psychology | Doctoral Programme Director

Department of Media and Communications

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TW2.7.01L, Tower 2, LSE
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About me

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 Professor Livingstone on Twitter @Livingstone_S.

Expertise

media and everyday life; media audiences; children and digital media; media literacy; children’s rights in the digital environment; mediated participation; online risks; privacy and safety; media regulation in the public interest

Teaching

Professor Livingstone teaches the following postgraduate courses on media and communications theory, methods and audiences:

In addition, Professor Livingstone supervises master’s and doctoral students researching questions of audiences, publics and youth in the changing digital media landscape, and has successfully supervised 18 PhDs, with six currently in progress.

Professor Livingstone will be on sabbatical in Spring 2019.

Books

All publications

Projects

Global Kids Online

Global Kids Online is an international research project that aims to generate and sustain a rigorous cross-national evidence base around children’s use of the internet by creating a global network of researchers and experts, and a research and impact toolkit, to inform and promote children’s rights in the digital age. Our 2016 synthesis is here. Watch the overview.

Parenting for a Digital Future

This qualitative and quantitative research project is investigating how children and young people, along with their parents, carers, mentors and educators imagine and prepare for their personal and work futures in a digital age. The work is being blogged at www.parenting.digital.

Children’s Rights in the Digital Age

To examine how children's rights to provision, protection and participation are being enhanced or undermined in the digital age, this project aims to build on current evidence of online risks and opportunities for children worldwide. 

Children's Online Privacy and Commercial Use of Data

Funded by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, this project led by Prof Sonia Livingstone seeks to address questions and evidence gaps concerning children’s conception of privacy online.

Outcomes and Effectiveness for Children's Helplines

Funded by the NSPCC, this project will review the evidence related to outcomes and effectiveness for children’s helplines and inform the future planning of effective service delivery.

The Class

This ethnographic research project examined the emerging mix of on- and offline experiences in teenagers’ daily learning lives. The team focused on the fluctuating web of peer-to-peer networks that may cut across institutional boundaries, adult values and established practices of learning and leisure. The book is here.

EU Kids Online

EU Kids Online is a multinational research network. It seeks to enhance knowledge of European children's online opportunities, risks and safety. It uses multiple methods to map children's and parents' experience of the internet, in dialogue with national and European policy stakeholders. Our 2014 interactive summary is here.

Toddlers and Tablets

This project investigates family practices and attitudes around very young children’s internet use in Australia and the United Kingdom with the aim of developing recommendations for policy makers and offering guidelines for parents of young children.

MakEY

Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity. This research network aims to further research and innovation in the area of young children’s digital literacy and creative design skills.

DigiLitEY

This COST Action is examining children’s digital literacy skills as they engage with the latest technologies including wearable technologies, 3D printers, robots, augmented reality apps, toys and games and the Internet of Things.

Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE)

This nine-year (2015-2024) mixed methods longitudinal research and evaluation programme is following the lives of adolescents in diverse Global South contexts. Read the report on digital media.

Connected Learning Research Network

This interdisciplinary research network is dedicated to understanding the opportunities and risks for learning afforded by today's changing media ecology, as well as building new learning environments that support effective learning and educational equity. Read the framework report.

Community Through Digital Connectivity

This project examined the role that communication plays in promoting and hindering community among London’s diverse populations. Read the final report here.

Impact of Marketing on Children's Behaviour

In light of raising concerns about advertising practices targeting children, the study examined children's exposure to online marketing content in social media, online games and applications. Read the final report here.

Media Consumption and the Future of Public Connection

This project examined the relationship between consumption and citizenship, asking whether and, if so, how, people's media consumption gives them the resources to connect to wider publics. Read the final report, and the resulting book.

Public Understanding of Regimes of Risk and Regulation

This project (2004-2008) asked how consumers are now represented within the new culture of regulation and, on the other hand, how consumers themselves understand their changing role within communications and financial service regulation.

For previous research projects, see Professor Livingstone's CV (available on request).

Knowledge exchange and impact

'World-leading' impact case study

Professor Livingstone's impact case study Protecting and empowering children in digital environments was judged 'world-leading' in the UK's most recent research excellence exercise, 'REF 2014'.

Recent knowledge exchange and impact work

Recent selected reports resulting from Professor Livingstone's knowledge exchange and impact work are listed below:

Social media

Professor Livingstone's YouTube videos relating to screen time, children’s rights online and parenting the digital. Here’s a good overview. See also Professor Livingstone's Tedx talk on children and the internet, and a recent podcast for the FT’s Tech Tonic.

Professor Livingstone's blog on all things parenting/childhood/digital media is at www.parenting.digital – contributions to this are welcome, so do email her with suggestions. Professor Livingstone also blogs on media policy, internet governance and children’s rights on the LSE Media Policy Project blog.

You can follow her on Twitter @Livingstone_S.