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Platforming Families (PlatFAMs)

Tracing digital transformations in everyday life across generations

We look forward to researching digital transformations with children, parents and grandparents in the coming years, to understand whether and how platforms are reconfiguring their relationships and what they think of this.

Professor Sonia Livingstone

 

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LSE is delighted to be part of this new international project on the digital transformations in everyday life across generations. PlatFAMs examines the embeddedness of digital platforms in the lives and practices of modern families by researching three-generation families (children, parents, grandparents) in five European countries (Norway, Estonia, UK, Romania and Spain).

The LSE team, headed by Prof Sonia Livingstone, will lead the work on negotiation and co-construction of meaning (WP2) focusing on developing a robust understanding of the relational aspects across generations in ways of dealing with digital platforms. We will also contribute to the integration and theory development (WP4) by identifying the evidence as well as the gaps regarding families and platformisation and developing a new comprehensive theoretical model optimising synergies and complementarity among the various disciplines.

PlatFAMs is a three-year project (2022-25) funded by CHANSE and coordinated by the University of Oslo, Norway.

In the UK, we are also partnering with Parent Zone.

Project overview

Objectives

Our objective is to reveal and critically understand the conditions of family relationships with pervasive, all-encompassing digital platforms, and generate recommendations for diverse stakeholders. We want to unpack relational and temporal aspects of digital platforms’ wide-ranging social transformation of everyday family practices and intergenerational relations in contemporary European societies.

Aims

  • To trace the impact of digital platforms through the life course as expressed in family practices.
  • To better understand the negotiations between family members and across generations about the use and implications of digital platforms.
  • To understand the meaning making of how different age groups within diverse families create and co-construct imaginaries of digital futures.

Work packages

WP 1: Navigation and Domestication

WP 2: Negotiation and co-construction of meaning

WP 3: Future-making and home as site for learning

WP 4: Integration and Theory Development

WP 5: Dissemination and knowledge exchange

WP 0: Project management and coordination

 More about PlatFAMs

Research methods 

The core of the project is the study of up to hundred three-generation families in five European countries (Norway, Estonia, UK, Romania and Spain) over a two-year period, across different spaces online and offline, using a breadth of qualitative and participatory methods. In addition, we will do secondary analysis of longitudinal quantitative data across European countries.

Three thematic strands will be studied across families and generations:

  • Digital navigation and domestication: understood as the ways people interact with different platforms in order to identify inter-generational differences and similarities within diverse family structures.
  • Digital negotiation and co-construction: understood as relational aspects within diverse family structures regarding connections and networking using digital platforms.
  • Digital future-making: as the process of anticipating and creating imaginaries of digital futures, both personal and societal, that shape present practices in ways that are consequential for families.

Publications and outputs

Publications

Cover photo

Livingstone, S., and Blum-Ross, A. (2020) Parenting for a digital future: How hopes and fears about technology shape children’s lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Chapter summaries

Book flyer

  • Livingstone, S., and Blum-Ross, A. (2019) Parents’ role in supporting, brokering or impeding their children’s connected learning and media literacy. Cultural Science Journal, 11(1), pp.68–77. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/csci.124. [Text]
  • Livingstone, S., Ólafsson, K., Helsper, E. J., Lupiáñez-Villanueva, F., Veltri, G. A.., and Folkvord, F. (2017) Maximizing opportunities and minimizing risks for children online: the role of digital skills in emerging strategies of parental mediation. Journal of Communication, 67(1): 82-105. [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G., and Staksrud, E. (2018) European research on children’s internet use: Assessing the past, anticipating the future. New Media & Society, Vol. 20(3) 1103–1122 doi: 10.1177/1461444816685930. [Text and Text]

  • Blum-Ross, A. and Livingstone, S. (2017) “Sharenting,” parent blogging and the boundaries of the digital self. Popular Communication, 15(2): 110-125. [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., and Blum-Ross, A. (2019) Imagining the future through the lens of the digital: parents’ narratives of generational change. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self: Birth, Life, Death. London: Routledge (pp.50-68). [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., and Byrne, J. (2018) Parenting in the digital age: the challenges of parental responsibility in comparative perspective. In Mascheroni, G., Ponte, C., and Jorge, A. (eds.) Digital Parenting: The Challenges for Families in the Digital Age (pp.19-30). Gothenburg: Nordicom. [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., and Franklin, K. (2018) Families with young children and ‘screen time.’ Journal of Health Visiting, 6(9): 434-439. [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., and Das, R. (2010) Media, communication and information technologies in the European family: A report on Existential Field 8 for the FP7 Family Platform project, funded by the European Commission. London: LSE. [Text]

  • Livingstone, S., and Sefton-Green, J. (2016) The Class: Living and learning in the digital age. New York: New York University Press

Interviews and talks

  • Parenting for a Digital Future. Parentverse interview with Sue Atkins, April 2021 [Podcast]

  • ‘Parenting in the digital age.’ TED Talk, TEDSummit, Edinburgh, July 2019. [Video]

  • ‘Parenting for a digital future.’ The British Academy 10-minute talks. 27 May 2020. [YouTube]

  • Do parental control tools fulfil family expectations for child protection? Presentation to the euCONSENT Conference, “Online Child’s Rights, Age Verification and Parental Consent: Delivering the Balance.” Athens, May 2022 [YouTube]

Stay in touch 

Sonia LivingstoneSonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, OBE is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published 20 books including “The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age” and Parenting for a Digital Future (July 2020). She directs the projects “Children’s Data and Privacy Online,” “Global Kids Online” (with UNICEF) and “Parenting for a Digital Future”, and she is Deputy Director of the UKRI-funded “Nurture Network.” Since founding the 33 country EU Kids Online network, Sonia has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe, OECD and ITU.

Sonia tweets @Livingstone_S

mariya StoilovaMariya Stoilova is a Post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her area of expertise is at the intersection of child rights and digital technology with a particular focus on the risks and opportunities of children's digital media use, data and privacy online, digital skills, and pathways to harm and well-being.

Mariya tweets @Mariya_Stoilova

Sonia and Mariya blog about their research at:

Funding and partners

PlatFAMs is funded by CHANSE (Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe, a joint initiative of 27 research funding organisations from 24 countries) for a duration of three years (October 2022 to September 2025). The UK strand of the work is funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Resreach Council, ES/X005461/1, £296,954).

UK lead: Prof Sonia Livingstone (LSE)

Project lead: Ola Andres Erstad (University of Oslo)

Project coordinator: Kristinn Hegna (University of Oslo)

Research partners