The Class

Principal Investigators:

Associated Researchers and Staff:

Associated Projects

This research project examined the emerging mix of on- and offline experiences in teenagers’ daily learning lives. We focused on the fluctuating web of peer-to-peer networks that may cut across institutional boundaries, adult values and established practices of learning and leisure. Key research questions included:

  • How do social relationships shape forms of learning in and out of school? And how do forms of learning shape social relationships?
  • How do young people use digital technologies within their daily activities within and beyond the classroom, as part of their ‘learning lives’, and under what conditions is this constructive, enabling or impeding?
  • How is youthful engagement with digital technologies shaped by the formal or informal practices, opportunities or risks, empowerment or constraints of the institutions and spaces in which learning occurs?
  • Insofar as these technological mediations enable or complement learning, can this be harnessed constructively to develop future recommendations?

Working with an ordinary London school, we followed the networks within and beyond a single class of 13-14-year-olds at home, school and elsewhere over the course of an academic year – observing social interactions in and between lessons; conducting interviews with children, parents, teachers and relevant others; and mapped out-of-school engagements with digital networking technologies to reveal both patterns of use and the quality and meaning of such engagements as they shape the learning opportunities of young people.

We are presently completing a book about The Class:

Livingstone, S., and Sefton-Green, J. (forthcoming, 2015). The Class: Connections and disconnections in the digital age. New York: NYU Press.

Additional Resources




In the News


What foster and adoptive parents need to know about digital media PART 1: The benefits

Looked after children are particularly vulnerable and Alicia Blum-Ross discusses some of the opportunities of digital media for foster and adoptive children. She finds that these can help young people to hold on to precious memories and relationships, to seek support and community, and to enjoy and learn. Alicia is a researcher at the LSE’s Department of Media and Communications. She is interested in youth media production and is part of the Parenting for a Digital Future research project. Childr

How do parents influence their children’s attitudes to life?

In December 2014, the government’s Horizon Scanning Programme published a report on the Social Attitudes of Young People. Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde takes a closer look and shares insights into the significant roles that parents play in shaping their children’s take on life. Svenja is a doctoral researcher at LSE’s Department of Media and Communications and contributes to the Parenting for a Digital Future research project. From the moment a child is born, parents wonder (and worry)

Not just playing games: Moving on from hobbies to digital jobs

Julian Sefton-Green shares insights from his research on young people’s interest in digital technologies and how their formal and informal learning journeys helped them transformed their passions into genuine creative and digital opportunities. Julian is an independent scholar working in education and the cultural and creative industries. He is currently principal research fellow at the Department of Media & Communication, LSE, a research associate at the University of Oslo and visiting professor

iRights – advocating for children’s rights online

Sonia Livingstone thinks that promoting children’s rights in the digital age is an idea whose time has come. She discusses why it is difficult to tell who is a child online, how these and other issues can be addressed, and how the iRights initiative and its five simple claims attempt to deliver children’s rights online. Sonia is Professor of Social Psychology at LSE’s Department of Media and Communications and has more than 25 years of experience in media research with a particular focus on

Now that kids are diversifying away from Facebook, how can parents keep up?

  As kids seem to be leaving Facebook, they turn to a range of other social media platforms. Sonia Livingstone discusses the latest research findings on which sites are safe and what more can be done to make them safe. She urges parents to talk to their children, but says it is time that policy makers keep an eye out for families. Sonia is Professor of Social Psychology at LSE’s Department of Media and Communications and has more than 25 years of experience in media research with a particu

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Sonia Livingstone reflects on Lynn Clark Schofield’s recent book, “The Parent App: Understanding Families in a Digital Age“, and reminds us of the messy realities of family life. Sonia thinks that parents will find stimulation and guidance in the book how to navigate these messy realities. She is Professor of Social Psychology at LSE’s Department of Media and Communications and has more than 25 years of experience in media research with a particular focus on children and young people. She

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The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and aro

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Media Literacy in 2014: Forthcoming Research and Call to Action

In December, Sonia Livingstone and Monica Bulger pooled the insights of 25 media literacy experts from academia, policy, and regulatory institutions to clarify the current state of play and identify future directions for media literacy research and policy in Europe. Their report, “Media literacy research and policy in Europe”, finds a genuine political consensus in favour of promoting media literacy among the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and other national and international organisat

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The Latest on Children’s Media Literacy: New Trend Policymakers & Parents must Watch

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Towards the Value, Purpose, and Sustainability of Out-of-School Learning

On the basis of the truism about life/success/genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration it is strange that so many initiatives in education – particularly those aimed at engaging youth who may be disenchanted with mainstream schooling or excluded from society for socio-economic reasons – pay so much attention to the initial moments of engagement rather than the long-term problem of consolidation and sustaining growth. This is a challenge for the digital media and learning field and the host of al

The Case for European Level Action on Child Safety Online

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Media Literacy Update: What’s Changed and Why?

On 23 April Ofcom published its 2013 Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report. The report reveals some – but only some – grounds for optimism in media literacy compared with our recent assessment based on Ofcom surveys from 2005 to 2011. And it raises some pressing questions about how media literacy can be further improved. By Yin-Han Wang and Sonia Livingstone Read more

National Curriculum Needs more Attention to Digital Skills

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