Professor Sonia Livingstone

sonia_livingstoneSonia Livingstone is a full professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of London.

She is author or editor of nineteen books and many academic articles and chapters. She has been visiting professor at the Universities of Bergen, Copenhagen, Harvard, Illinois, Milan, Oslo, Paris II, and Stockholm, and is on the editorial board of several leading journals. She is a fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Royal Society for the Arts, and fellow and past President of the International Communication Association, ICA. Sonia has received honorary doctorates from the University of Montreal and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. 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.’

Taking a comparative, critical and contextualised approach, Sonia’s research asks why and how the changing conditions of mediation are reshaping everyday practices and possibilities for action, identity and communication rights. Her empirical work examines the opportunities and risks afforded by digital and online technologies, including for children and young people at home and school, for developments in media and digital literacies, and for audiences, publics and the public sphere more generally, with a recent focus on children’s rights in the digital age.

She leads the project, Preparing for a Digital Future, which follows the recently-completed project, The Class, both part of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Connected Learning Research Network. She directed the 33-country network, EU Kids Online, funded by the EC’s Better Internet for Kids programme, with impacts in the UK and Europe. She participated in the European COST action, Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies, and leads ECREA’s Children, Youth and Media group. She is currently researching parents’ responses to the online commercial environment for their children.

She serves on the Executive Board of the UK’s Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), for which she is the Evidence Champion. She has served on the Department of Education’s Ministerial Taskforce for Home Access to Technology for Children, the Home Secretary’s Taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet and the boards of Voice of the Listener and Viewer and the Internet Watch Foundation. She has advised Ofcom, Department for Education, Home Office, Economic and Social Research Council, BBC, The Byron Review, UNICEF, ITU, OECD, European Commission, Council of Europe, European Parliament, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Title of the keynote: Modelling children’s experiences of online skills, opportunities and risks: a European perspective

How do children’s digital skills and media competences relate to their experiences of online opportunities or risks? How do efforts to measure and model children’s mediated lives inform the development of policy?  This presentation will reflect on the interdependencies between these two questions by discussing the approach to evidence-based policy developed by the European research network, EU Kids Online. Our work has encompassed the crucial period in which many European children gained routine internet access, seeing how they have embedded digital media of all kinds in their learning, domestic and social lives, and tracking the extent to which this has amplified the range and depth of opportunities and risks in their everyday experience. Although the network focused mainly on 9-to 16-year-olds, its recent work has also encompassed younger children, reflecting the fact that they too are becoming internet users and digitally-skilled. How has its approach, measures, explanatory model and dialogue with stakeholders evolved? And what difficulties has it encountered that future researchers and policy makers might learn from?