Sonia Livingstone OBE is a professor of Social Psychology and former head of the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics, and Political Science and has dedicated much of her research to children and Internet use. She has written or edited eleven books and 100+ academic articles and chapters. She serves on several boards along with directing several different research projects. Through her different books and research projects, she has illustrated media influence on a younger audience and has offered insights regarding digital safety.
- 1 Major contributions
- 2 Books
- 3 Research projects
- 4 Involvement
- 5 References
- 6 See also
Throughout her career, Livingstone has been interested in exploring how people "maintain a sense of themselves in a communication environment replete with meanings they didn't create," as she has stated. In her earliest research, Livingstone focused on how television audiences respond and create meaning from various television genres, focusing specifically on soap operas. Her earliest work was recognized for the innovative way in which she combined critical and social psychological theoretical frameworks and employed qualitative interview research methodologies, traditions that she still identifies with today. She is also renowned for her multi-methodological approaches, as she has overseen projects incorporating both large-scale quantitative and qualitative methods in the study of media reception.
Children and the Internet
In this book, Livingstone addresses several different questions: "Is the internet really transforming children and young people's lives? Is the so-called 'digital generation' genuinely benefiting from exciting new opportunities? And, worryingly, facing new risks?"  The book interprets children and their everyday use of the Internet in relation to the historical and cultural changes that are occurring. The book looks at the risks and opportunities that Internet has to offer to children through looking at different issues. Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California, writes "Sonia Livingstone is equally at home with statistical and ethnographic insights as she digs deep into the paradoxes and contradictions surrounding young people's online lives. She punctures myths and tips over sacred cows here, but in the process, she's modeling a process of healthy skepticism about the claims being made on all sides about what it means to grow up digital. Throughout, Children and the Internet offers us a guide to how we might seize the potentials and avoid the risks of this new and uncharted cultural terrain."  Another review from Patti Valkenburg, University of Amsterdam, says of the book, "Rich and up-to-date information. An excellent assessment of the various risks and opportunities of children's internet use in the home and at school. Sonia Livingstone thoughtfully integrates insights from published work with lucid descriptions of her own research. An invaluable contribution to the field of children and the media." The book was published in 2009.
The International Handbook of Children, Media and Culture
Through looking at different parts of the world, "from China to Denmark, from Canada to India, from Japan to Iceland," the authors look at children and young people and how they engage with different forms of media and communication while taking into account different themes of global trends. The book was published in 2008 and has been recognized for the groundbreaking way in which it addresses its topic from a truly cross-cultural comparative perspective as well as one that draws upon the humanities and social sciences.
Children and Their Changing Environment: A European Comparative
Researchers from 12 different countries in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, present their findings on how new forms of media and technologies affect children. From looking at televisions in households in the 1950s and comparing it to the arrival of new media into children's daily life and how they are now become the center of everyday activities. "Focusing on the meanings, uses, and impacts of new media in childhood, family life, peer culture, and the relation between home and school, this volume sets out to address many of the questions, fears, and hopes regarding the changing place of media in the lives of today's children and young people."  The results are taken from 11,000 children from age 6-16 "concerning their 'access to, time spent with, uses of, and meaning ascribed to a range of 'new' and 'old' media'"  The book was published in 2001.
EU Kids Online
EU Kids Online I
In a BBC article, Livingstone stated "I am struck by a sense that a significant minority of parents don't know what they do online."  Therefore, many of her projects focus on what children do online. This project was focused on children's safety use of the Internet and the new forms of media. The project took place from 2006 to 2009.
EU Kids Online II
The second project again focuses on Children and the risk, safety and use of the Internet. It will consist of a comparable quantitative survey that looks at Children's online use and the safety and risk the Internet provides. In addition, it will also take into account parent's practices and concerns about children's use with the Internet. One main goal of the project is to enhance the knowledge of children's use online and safety because according to LSE, the information about online risk to European children is lacking. "Enhancing the knowledge base is understood as (i) producing new, relevant, robust and comparable findings regarding the incidence of online risk among European children; (ii) pinpointing which children are particularly at risk and why, by examining vulnerability factors (at both individual and country levels); and (iii) examining the operation and effectiveness of parental regulation and awareness strategies, and children’s own coping responses to risk, including their media literacy"  “At last, Europe's children are to be asked directly what they see as the opportunities and risks of the internet,” said Professor Livingstone. (Press Release)
UK Children Go Online: Emerging Opportunities and Dangers
The project investigated 9- to 19-year-olds' use of the Internet through face-to-face interviews along with qualitative interviews with children and parents. In addition, the project took into account age, background, gender and other demographics of the different subjects. The aim of the project is to understand how children are using the Internet and for what reasons. "Recent figures show that among 7- to 16-year-olds, 1 in 2 have internet access at home and most also have access at school. Overall, 75% have used the internet, a figure double that for adults"  Therefore, most research has only looked at adults and their use of the Internet and this project now takes a different direction and focuses on children.
Sonia Livingstone served as President of the International Communication Association from 2007 to 2008 and she continues to serve on the executive committee. The ICA is a membership based organization and to be president the member must be on it for over six years. ICA is an organization that is built around the teaching, study and application of communications. In addition, Livingstone serves on the executive board of the UK's Council for Child Internet Safety. She advises DCSFs Home Access Programme Advisory Group, Ofcom's Media Literacy Research Forum and is on the Board of the Voice of the Listener & Viewer. As a fellow of Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University she will write her book “The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age”, based on her work with the Connected Learning Research Network.
- See http://dmlcentral.net/conference/sonia-livingstone
- Sonia Livingstone, Youth Participation: What Have WE Learned, What Shall We Ask? Keynote lecture, Digital Media & Learning Conference, February 20, 2010.
- Rouner, Donna. (1992). Review, Making Sense of Television: The Psychology of Audience Interpretation. Journalism Quarterly 69(1): 243.
- Sonia Livingstone, Youth Participation: What Have We Learned, What Shall We Ask? Keynote lecture, Digital Media & Learning Conference, February 20, 2010.
- Henry Jenkins, Interview with Sonia Livingstone, Confessions of an Aca-Fan, available online: http://henryjenkins.org/2009/06/risks_rights_and_responsibilit.html
- See http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745631943#description
- See http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745631943#description
- See http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-International-Handbook-of-Children-Media-and-Culture/Sonia-Livingstone/e/9781412928328
- Zanker, Ruth. (2010). Review, The International Handbook of Children, Media, and Culture, edited by Kirsten Drotner and Sonia Livingstone. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 6(1): 115-118.
- See http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=t792478204
- See http://www.eric.ed.gov:80/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED465468&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED465468
- See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3910319.stm
- See http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/EUKidsOnline/Objectives.htm
- See http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/children-go-online/
- See http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/media@lse/whosWho/soniaLivingstone.htm
- "Berkman Center Announces 2013-2014 Community". Berkman Center for Internet & Society. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2013.