Professor Sonia Livingstone

Professor Sonia Livingstone

Professor of Social Psychology

Department of Media and Communications

+44 (0)20 7955 7710
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Key Expertise
media and everyday life

About me

Sonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), OBE, FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Taking a comparative, critical and contextualised approach, her research examines how the changing conditions of mediation are reshaping everyday practices and possibilities for action. Much of Sonia’s time these days is concerned with Children’s Rights in the Digital Age.

Sonia has published 20 books on media audiences, especially children and young people’s risks and opportunities, media literacy and rights in the digital environment, including The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age  (New York University Press, with Julian Sefton-Green) (view here). Her new book is Parenting for a Digital Future: How hopes and fears about technology shape children's lives (Oxford University Press), with Alicia Blum-Ross (view here).

Recipient of many honours, she has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, OECD, ITU and UNICEF, among others, on children’s internet safety and rights in the digital environment. Sonia served as chair of the LSE’s Truth, Trust and Technology Commission, Special Advisor to the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Communications, Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe, President of the International Communication Association, and Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

Sonia is Director of Digital Futures for Children, a joint LSE and 5Rights Foundation research centre. She has recently directed the Digital Futures Commission (with the 5Rights Foundation) and the Global Kids Online project (with UNICEF). She is Deputy Director of the UKRI-funded Nurture Network, contributes to the euCONSENT project, and leads work packages for two European H2020-funded projects: ySKILLS (Youth Skills) and CO:RE (Children Online: Research and Evidence). Founder of the EC-funded 33 country EU Kids Online research network, she is a #SaferInternet4EU Ambassador for the European Commission. She is a project lead for DIORA: Dynamic Interplay of Online Risk and Resilience in Adolescence as part of the MRC Digital Youth Programme.

She blogs at and tweets @Livingstone_S

See YouTube for recent talks, and visit

Expertise Details

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

Current projects

Digital Futures for Children

Digital Futures for Children (DFC) is a joint LSE and 5Rights research centre, directed by Prof Livingstone and based in the Department of Media and Communications. The centre will support an evidence base for advocacy, facilitate dialogue between academics and policymakers and amplify children's voices, in accordance with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General comment No. 25.

Digital Futures Commission

A collaboration with the 5Rights Foundation, this applied research project is working to put children’s interests at the centre of the design of the digital world.

DIORA: Dynamic Interplay of Online Risk and Resilience in Adolescence

A multi-method study of the mental health risks and benefits of digital technology use.


Led by UpcomeuCONSENT is an EU-funded research and development initiative bringing together twelve partners including academic institutions, NGOs and technology providers to design, deliver and pilot a new Europe-wide system for online age verification and parental consent.

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. 

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. 

Platforming Families (PlatFAMs)

Funded by CHANSE/ESRC, PlatFAMs examines the embeddedness of digital platforms in the lives and practices of modern families by researching three-generations (children, parents, grandparents) in five European countries (Norway, Estonia, UK, Romania and Spain).

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.


The project involves longitudinal research with children aged 12 to 17 to offer evidence on how to enhance and maximise long-term positive impacts of the ICT environment on multiple aspects of children’s well-being by stimulating resilience through the enhancement of digital skills.

Recent projects

Adolescent Mental Health and Development in the Digital World

Research will address how the digital environment influences brain development and function, mental health and mental health problems, risk behaviours, bullying, loneliness and social isolations and also how digital technologies can be harnessed to promote positive behaviours and mental well-being.

Children's Data and Privacy Online

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.

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. 

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.

CO:RE – Children Online: Research and Evidence

Towards a pan-European knowledge platform on the effects of digital technologies on children and young people. CO:RE examines children’s digital experiences relating to their health, lifestyles, participation and digital citizenship, well-being, safety, and security. The LSE team  coordinates the theoretical dimension of the research.

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.

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 final report here.


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.

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.


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.

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.

The Nurture Network (#eNurture)

Funded by UKRI (ESRC), this network is researching how the digital environment intersects with the traditional influences on children – family, school, peers. The aim is to build new practice models to improve children and young people’s mental health outcomes.

Outcomes and Effectiveness for Children's Helplines

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

Parenting for a Digital Future

This qualitative and quantitative research project  investigated 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

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).

Teaching and supervision

Postgraduate teaching

Professor Livingstone convenes the popular postgraduate course The Audience in Media and Communications. Her new course is Children, Youth and Media. She has also contributed lectures to team-taught graduate-level Media and Communications courses relating to theories and concepts (MC408/MC418) and research methodologies (MC4M1/MC4M2).

Doctoral supervision

Professor Livingstone supervises doctoral candidates researching questions of children and media, and audiences and publics in the changing digital media landscape, and has successfully supervised 25 PhDs.  Her current supervisees include Zoë GlattRodrigo Muñoz-GonzálezGianfranco PolizziHao WuSsu-Han YuYang Zhou and Runze Hu.


All publications

Knowledge exchange and impact

'World-leading' impact case study

Professor Livingstone's impact case study Realising children's rights in a digital world was judged 'world-leading' in the UK's most recent research excellence exercise, 'REF 2021'.

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 Professor Livingstone’s TED Talk on Parenting in a Digital Age and a recent podcast for the FT’s Tech Tonic.

Professor Livingstone's blog on all things parenting/childhood/digital media is at – 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.