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Children and the Internet

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3195-0
272 pages
July 2009, Polity
Children and the Internet (0745631959) cover image
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?

This major new book by a leading researcher addresses these pressing questions. It deliberately avoids a techno-celebratory approach and, instead, interprets children’s everyday practices of internet use in relation to the complex and changing historical and cultural conditions of childhood in late modernity. Uniquely, Children and the Internet reveals the complex dynamic between online opportunities and online risks, exploring this in relation to much debated issues such as:

  • Digital in/exclusion
  • Learning and literacy
  • Peer networking and privacy
  • Civic participation
  • Risk and harm

Drawing on current theories of identity, development, education and participation, this book includes a refreshingly critical account of the challenging realities undermining the great expectations held out for the internet - from governments, teachers, parents and children themselves. It concludes with a forward-looking framework for policy and regulation designed to advance children’s rights to expression, connection and play online as well as offline.

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Preface.

Acknowledgements.

1. Changing childhood, changing media.

2. Youthful experts.

3. Learning and education.

4. Communication and identity.

5. Participation and civic engagement.

6. Risk and harm.

7. Media and digital literacies.

8. Balancing opportunities and risks.

Appendix.

Notes.

Reference.

Index.

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Sonia Livingstone is a Professor of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics
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Major new contribution to the hot topic of children and internet from one of the world's leading researchers in this area.

Considers children's everyday practices of internet use in relation to the complex socio-cultural conditions of contemporary childhood.


Presents original research whilst also surveying the rich body of literature that defines this field.

Concludes with a forward-looking framework for policy and regulation designed to advance children's rights both on- and offline.

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"[Livingstone's] unashamedly sociological approach brings out the fine detail and subtle nuances of everyday life in the digital age."
British Journal of Educational Technology

"More than a summary, this text provides a clear argument that culminates in a series of practical recommendations that involve the responsibilities of parents, governments and the market."
Cultural Studies Review

"Masterfully combines a strong theoretical social science framework with reliable and valid qualitative and quantitative data to inform and engage the reader in a very readable and easily accessible text."
Telecommunications Policy

"Looking beyond exaggerated hype and panic, Sonia Livingstone offers a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the role of the internet in children's lives. Combining rigorous quantitative and qualitative research with a critical awareness of broader theoretical questions, this is a definitive work that takes the debate to a new level."
David Buckingham, Institute of Education, University of London

"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."
Henry Jenkins, Massachussetts Institute of Technology

"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."
Patti Valkenburg, University of Amsterdam

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