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Children Online: Research and Evidence
Event · 30 Mar 2021 · by Team Theories (WP 05) · Digital environment: a debate

A webinar on the digital environment with experts discussing key theoretical approaches and debates

A multidisciplinary webinar on theories and concepts to understand children and the digital environment

Technologies are spreading into all aspects of our lives via smart devices, internet of things, augmented reality, and data profiling. Children’s lives have become digital by default and technology is the taken-for-granted means of playing, seeing family, doing schoolwork, hanging out with friends in a post-COVID world. The distinction between the offline and online no longer offers a meaningful way of conceptualising the infrastructure of life but what can we replace it with? Where does the digital begin and end, what does it incorporate? What are the implications for children? In this webinar we will debate the theories and concepts that underpin such questions, drawing on different disciplinary approaches.

Speakers: Taina Bucher (University of Oslo), Christine Hine (University of Surrey), Jean-Christophe Plantin (LSE), Bieke Zaman (KU Leuven)

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

This webinar took place on 07 May 2021. You can read up on the speakers’ positions here and watch the recorded webinar below:

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Note: This online public event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required. By participating in the webinar you agree that your contribution can be recorded and made available online. The webinar will be published on the CO:RE website as part of an online theory toolkit.

Our Speakers, Chair and Discussant

About Taina Bucher


Taina Bucher is an Associate Professor in Screen Cultures at the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo. She studies the relationships and entanglements between algorithms, social and political concerns – examining how users experience and make sense of algorithmic power and politics. Her first book, IF…THEN: Algorithmic power and politics (Oxford University Press, 2018) details the ontological politics at stake in the algorithmic media landscape. Her most recent book, Facebook (Polity Press, May 2021) provides an invitation to think Facebook anew.

About Christine Hine


Christine Hine is a Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey. He work offers a sociology perspective on science and technology with a particular focus on the role played by new technologies in the knowledge construction process. Christine Hine has a major interest in the development of ethnography in technical settings and in “virtual methods” (the use of the Internet in social research). In particular, she has developed mobile and connective approaches to ethnography that combine online and offline social contexts.

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 Jean-Christophe Plantin


Jean-Christophe Plantin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. His research investigates the politics of digital platforms, the evolution of knowledge infrastructures, and the rise of digital sovereignty. His research investigates the increasing infrastructural role that digital platforms play in society. In his first book, Participatory Mapping: New Data, New Cartography, (Wiley, 2014) details the use of web-based mapping platforms (exemplified by Google Maps) by non-experts to participate in socio-technical debates, focusing on radiation mapping initiatives after March 11th 2011 in Fukushima, Japan.

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.

About Bieke Zaman


Bieke Zaman is an Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction and research group leader of the Meaningful Interactions Lab (Mintlab) at the Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium. Her work lies primarily at the intersection of human computer interaction research and communication sciences and focuses on children, digital media and design; media convergence in a digital society; progressive research and dissemination methods. Some of her most recent projects include ySKILLS,  Gam(e)(a)ble: Interdisciplinary research into the blurring of boundaries between gaming and gambling in teenagers, and PARCOS – Participatory Communication of Science.

  1. Header image by Giu Vicente on Unsplash.

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About the authors

Theories (WP 05)

Mariya Stoilova

Theories (WP 05)

Sonia Livingstone

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