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Children Online: Research and Evidence
Event · 14 Jun 2021 · by Team Theories (WP 05) · Benefits and constraints: a debate

A webinar on online opportunities and constraints with experts discussing key theoretical approaches and debates

A multidisciplinary webinar on theories and concepts to understand children’s opportunities online

Online opportunities bring diverse benefits for children, including positive outcomes on learning, participation, creativity, and identity. An important “ladder of opportunities” for children in Europe, digital technologies can activate the potential for social inclusion, equality and children’s rights. Even so, relatively little is understood about how online opportunities generate benefits for children. Opportunities for children have long been theorised, but how should they be rethought in a digital world? In this webinar we will debate the theories and concepts that underpin such questions, drawing on different disciplinary approaches.

Speakers: Shakuntala Banaji (LSE), Koen Leurs (Utrecht University), Giovanna Mascheroni (Università Cattolica of Milan), Jochen Peter (University of Amsterdam)

Chair: Sonia Livingstone (LSE)
Discussant: Mariya Stoilova (LSE)

This webinar took place on 12 July 2021. You can read up on the speakers’ positions here [link to digest blog post follows] and watch the recorded webinar below:

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Our Speakers, Chair and Discussan

About Shakuntala Banaji


Shakuntala Banaji is Professor of Media, Culture and Social Change and Programme Director for the Msc in Media, Communication and Development in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE. She has been teaching for over 28 years, winning numerous awards, and is the author or editor of 6 books and over 70 papers and monographs, including ‘Children and Media in India‘ (Routledge, 2017) and ‘Youth Active Citizenship in Europe’ (Palgrave 2020). Her forthcoming book ‘Social Media Hate’ with Ram Bhat (scheduled spring, 2022) theorises the landscape of disinformation and trolling in the U.K., India, Brazil and Myanmar with particular attention to the connections between contemporary and historical violence.

About Koen Leurs


Koen Leurs is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University. He works on digital migration and recently directed the projects Connected migrants: comparing digital practices of refuge and expatriate youth and Media literacy through making media: a key to participation of migrant youth?. His first monograph is entitled Digital Passages. Migrant Youth 2.0. Diaspora, Gender & Youth Cultural Intersections (Amsterdam University Press, 2015). Currently Koen Leurs is a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, writing a book on Digital Migration (under contract with Sage).

About Sonia Livingstone


Sonia Livingstone FBA, OBE is a Professor of Social Psychology at 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.” 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 UNICEF.

About Giovanna Mascheroni


Giovanna Mascheroni is a sociologist of media and communication. She is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Performing Arts, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and was visiting researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Studies. She is part of the management team of EU Kids Online, and WP leader in the H2020 project, ySKILLS. She is also leading DataChildFutures, a national project investigating the data practices of Italian families with children aged 0- to 8-year-olds. Her work focuses on the social shaping and the social consequences of digital media, Internet of Things and datafication for children and young people. She is author of several journal articles and books. Her forthcoming book, Datafied childhoods: Data practices and imaginaries in children’s lives, co-authored with Andra Siibak, will be published in the Digital Formations series (Peter Lang).

About Jochen Peter


Jochen Peter, PhD is a Full Professor at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam. His work explores how young people’s use of new technologies affects their psycho-social development, including the antecedents and consequences of children’s interaction with social robots, the impact of online communication on teenagers’ sociality, and the relationship between sexually explicit material online and adolescents’ sexual attitudes and behaviour. Peter Jochen has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and has received numerous awards, including the Young Scholar Award of the International Communication Association (ICA) and ICA Fellowship (2009)

About Mariya Stoilova


Mariya 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 opportunities and risks of digital media use in the everyday lives of children and young people, data and privacy online, digital skills, and pathways to harm and well-being.

  1. Header image by Mary Taylor from Pexels.

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About the authors

Theories (WP 05)

Mariya Stoilova

Theories (WP 05)

Sonia Livingstone

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