Helsper, Ellen J.

Dr Ellen J. Helsper  


Position held

Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in Media and Communications


Non LSE positions held

Anneberg School for Communication and Journalism (USC)

Visiting Scholar


Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Research Associate


PUC Chile, Media and Communications Department

Associate lecturer


Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Social Psychology and Communications Faculties

Associate Researcher


Steinhardt School, Department of Media, Culture and Communication (NYU)

Visiting Scholar


University of Twente, Communication and Organisations Department

Visiting Scholar


Welsh Assembly Committee

Special Advisor on Digital Inclusion


Experience keywords:

digital exclusion; information and communication technologies (ICTs); internet; interpersonal mediated communication; media and everyday life; quantitative and qualitative research methodology, cross-cultural research; social exclusion; social identity

Research summary > [Click to expand]

My main research interest is in the role of new media in the everyday life of disadvantaged social groups. An important element is the development of a theoretical framework to understand the links between digital and social exclusion. My current interest is in further developing the corresponding fields model. This model seeks to theorise the multiple barriers that lead to digital disengagement as well as those factors that stop digital engagement from having an impact on economic, social, cultural, and personal aspects of everyday life. This interest is backed up by analysis of international datasets which have comparable data in this area. Cross-cultural comparisons of the processes that lead to engagement and to mediation of our everyday life, pose interesting questions about the generalisability of research in different socio-cultural contexts.

I also continue work on the role of digital media in people's everyday social and personal relationships. This includes the relationship of mediated communication with social and psychological well-being and the cross cultural similarities and differences in the processes that make people lead 'digital' or 'non-digital' lives. The theoretical and empirical complications of disentangling forced exclusion and choice in these matters is what fascinates me most. Recent publications include 'Netiquette within Married Couples: Agreement about Acceptable Online Behavior and Surveillance' (Computers in Human Behavior), 'Gendered Internet use across generations and lifestages' (Communication Research) and 'Digital natives and digital immigrants: Where is the evidence?' (British Journal of Educational Research).

Having worked on the research project, UK Children Go Online, I am now on the advisory board of the EU Kids Online project, for the EC's Safer Internet Plus programme. There my contributions are in developing the methodology and my research input will focus on digital inclusion and mediated parent-child relationships across Europe.

Sectors and industries to which research relates:

Information Technology; Media Technology and New Media; Policy and Regulatory Bodies; Telecommunications

Countries and regions to which research relates:

Chile; Europe; Latin America; UK; US


Dutch [Spoken: Fluent, Written: N/A]; German [Spoken: Intermediate, Written: Basic]; Spanish [Spoken: Fluent, Written: Fluent]

Media experience:

Radio; TV

Contact Points

LSE phone number:

+44 (0)20 7955 6420



Helsper, Ellen J. and Reisdorf, Bianca C. (2016) The emergence of a "digital underclass" in Great Britain and Sweden: changing reasons for digital exclusion New Media & Society. ISSN 1461-4448

Helsper, Ellen J. and Van Deursen, Alexander J.A.M. (2016) Do the rich get digitally richer? Quantity and quality of support for digital engagement Information, Communication & Society. ISSN 1369-118X

Van Deursen, Alexander J.A.M. and Helsper, Ellen J. and Eynon, Rebecca (2016) Development and validation of the Internet Skills Scale (ISS) Information, Communication & Society, 19 (6). 804-823. ISSN 1369-118X

Helsper, Ellen (2016) Inequalities in digital literacy: definitions, measurements, explanations and policy implications In: Pesquisa sobre o uso das tecnologias de informação e comunicação nos domícilios brasileiros: TIC domicílios 2015 = Survey on the use of information and communication technologies in Brazilian households : ICT households 2015. Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil, São Paulo, Brasil, 175-185. ISBN 9788555590313


Helsper, Ellen and Deursen, Alexander J. A. M. van (2015) Digital skills in Europe: research and policy In: Andreasson, Kim, (ed.) Digital divides. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 125-149.

van Deursen, Alexander and Helsper, Ellen (2015) A nuanced understanding of Internet use and non-use amongst older adults European Journal of Communication, 30 (2). 171-187. ISSN 0267-3231

Helsper, Ellen J. and van Deursen, Alexander J. A. M. and Eynon, Rebecca (2015) Tangible outcomes of Internet use: from digital skills to tangible outcomes project report Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK.

Eynon, Rebecca and Helsper, Ellen (2015) Family dynamics and internet use in Britain: what role do children play in adults' engagement with the internet? Information, Communication & Society, 18 (2). 156-171. ISSN 1369-118X

van Deursen, Alexander J. A. M. and Helsper, Ellen J. (2015) The third-level digital divide: who benefits most from being online? In: Robinson, Laura and Cotten, Shelia R. and Schulz, Jeremy and Hale, Timothy M. and Williams, Apryl, (eds.) Communication and Information Technologies Annual. Studies in Media and Communications, 10. Emerald, 29-52. ISBN 9781785603815


Helsper, Ellen (2014) Book review: danah boyd, it’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens International Journal of Communication, 8. 2783-2786. ISSN 1932-8036

Helsper, Ellen (2014) Harnessing ICT for social action: a digital volunteering programme Synthesis Report, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Brussels, Belgium. ISBN 9789279394096

Helsper, Ellen (2014) Harnessing ICT for social action: a digital volunteering programme (Spain, 25 March 2014) - Digital inclusion in Europe: evaluating policy and practice Discussion Paper, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Brussels, Belgium.

Helsper, Ellen (2014) Book review: status update: celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age International Journal of Communication, 8. 5. ISSN 1932-8036

Helsper, Ellen J. (2014) Book review: the handbook of food research, edited by Anne Murcott, Warren Belasco, Peter Jackson LSE Review of Books (1 Mar 2014) Blog entry

Helsper, Ellen (2014) Offline social identity and online chat partner selection Information, Communication and Society, 17 (6). 695-715. ISSN 1468-4462

van Deursen, Alexander and van Dijk, Jan and Helsper, Ellen (2014) Investigating outcomes of online engagement Media@LSE Working Paper Series, 28. Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

van Deursen, Alexander J.A.M. and Helsper, Ellen and Eynon, Rebecca (2014) Measuring digital skills: from digital skills to tangible outcomes Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Helsper, Ellen J. and Kalmus, Veronika and Hasebrink, Uwe and Ságvári, Bence and de Haan, Jos (2013) Country classification: opportunities, risks, harm and parental mediation EU Kids Online, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London.

Helsper, Ellen and Eynon, Rebecca (2013) Distinct skill pathways to digital engagement European Journal of Communication, 28 (6). 696-713. ISSN 0267-3231

Helsper, Ellen J. and Reisdorf, Bianca C. (2013) A quantitative examination of explanations for reasons for internet nonuse Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16 (2). 94-99. ISSN 2152-2715

Livingstone, Sonia and Helsper, Ellen (2013) Children, internet and risk in comparative perspective Journal of Children and Media, 7 (1). 1-8. ISSN 1748-2801


Smahel, David and Helsper, Ellen and Green, Lelia and Kalmus, Veronika and Blinka, Lukas and Ólafsson, Kjartan (2012) Excessive internet use among European children EU Kids Online, London School of Economics & Political Science, London, UK.

Helsper, Ellen (2012) A corresponding fields model for the links between social and digital exclusion Communication Theory, 22 (4). 403-426. ISSN 1050-3293

Helsper, Ellen and Gerber, Monica M. (2012) The plausibility of cross-national comparisons of internet use types The Information Society, 28 (2). 83-98. ISSN 0197-2243


Helsper, Ellen (2011) Book review: the social dynamics of information and communication technology Information Communication and Society, 14 (2). 295-297. ISSN 1369-118X

Helsper, Ellen (2011) Britain needs a digital inclusion policy with concrete targets for both availability and take-up to counter the emergence of a digital underclass British Politics and Policy at LSE (18 Aug 2011) Blog entry

Eynon, Rebecca and Helsper, Ellen (2011) Adults learning online: digital choice and/or digital exclusion? New Media and Society, 13 (4). 534-551. ISSN 1461-4448

Helsper, Ellen (2011) The emergence of a digital underclass: digital policies in the UK and evidence for inclusion LSE Media Policy Project Series, Broughton Micova, Sally and Sujon, Zoetanya and Tambini, Damian, eds Media Policy Brief 3. Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Georgiou, Myria and Haddon, Leslie and Helsper, Ellen and Wang, Yinhan (2010) Existential field 8: appendix to the report - special focus pieces Working reports: Existential Fields, EF8. Family Platform Project.

Helsper, Ellen (2010) Gendered internet use across generations and life stages Communication Research, 37 (3). 352-374. ISSN 0093-6502

Helsper, Ellen and Eynon, Rebecca (2010) Digital natives: where is the evidence? British Educational Research Journal, 36 (3). 503-520. ISSN 0141-1926

Helsper, Ellen and Whitty, Monica (2010) Netiquette within married couples: agreement about acceptable online behavior and surveillance between partners Computers in Human Behavior, 26 (5). 916-926. ISSN 0747-5632

Livingstone, Sonia and Helsper, Ellen (2010) Balancing opportunities and risks in teenagers' use of the internet: the role of online skills and internet self-efficacy New Media and Society, 12 (2). 309-329. ISSN 1461-4448


Helsper, Ellen (2009) The ageing internet: digital choice and exclusion among the elderly Working With Older People, 13 (4). 28-33. ISSN 1366-3666


Bradbrook, Gail and Alvi, Imran and Fisher, John and Lloyd, Heidi and Moore, R. and Thompson, V. and Brake, D. and Helsper, Ellen and Livingstone, Sonia (2008) Meeting their potential: the role of education and technology in overcoming disadvantage and disaffection in young people BECTA research reports, BECTA, Coventry, UK.

Helsper, Ellen and Dutton, William and Gerber, Monica (2008) To be a network society: a cross-national perspective on the internet in Britain Research report, 17. Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK.

Livingstone, Sonia and Helsper, Ellen (2008) Parental mediation and children’s Internet use Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 52 (4). 581-599. ISSN 0883-8151

Helsper, Ellen (2008) Internet use and opinion formation in countries with different ICT contexts OBServatorio (OBS*), 2 (3). 121-149. ISSN 1646-5954

Helsper, Ellen (2008) Digital inclusion: an analysis of social disadvantage and the information society Department for Communities and Local Government, London, UK. ISBN 9781409806141

Helsper, Ellen (2008) Digital natives and ostrich tactics?: the possible implications of labelling young people as digital experts Futurelab, Bristol, UK.

Dutton, William and Helsper, Ellen and Whitty, Monica and Buckwalter, Galen and Lee, Erina (2008) Mate selection in the network society: the role of the Internet in reconfiguring marriages in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford.


Dutton, William and Helsper, Ellen (2007) Internet in Britain: 2007 Oxford Internet Surveys, 2007. University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK.

Livingstone, Sonia and Helsper, Ellen (2007) Gradations in digital inclusion: children, young people and the digital divide New Media and Society, 9 (4). 671-696. ISSN 1461-4448


Helsper, Ellen (2006) OSS Watch survey 2006 OSS Watch, Joint Information Systems Committee, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Livingstone, Sonia and Helsper, Ellen (2006) Does advertising literacy mediate the effects of advertising on children? A critical examination of two linked research literatures in relation to obesity and food choice Journal of Communication, 56 (3). 560-584. ISSN 1460-2466

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