About us

 

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Digital Futures for Children (DFC) is a joint research centre between LSE and 5Rights Foundation which advances understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies for children's rights and needs. Our goals are framed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General comment No. 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment - the authoritative statement in international law of how the UNCRC should be implemented by states worldwide in relation to all things digital.

Our aims

  • Conduct critical and practical research: We conduct high-quality research on current and emerging areas relevant to children's rights in the digital environment. This includes research on topics such as online safety, digital literacy, and the impact of emerging technologies on children and young people.
  • Provide an evidence base for advocacy: We produce research outputs that contribute to a robust evidence base for advocacy on children's rights in digital contexts. This will include longer-form research reviews, rapid response research briefs, and other materials that will provide key insights and recommendations to policymakers and other stakeholders.
  • Facilitate dialogue between academics and policymakers: We facilitate a bridge between academic research and policymaking, facilitating dialogue and exchange of ideas between scholars and policymakers to ensure that children's rights are central in decision-making processes relating to digital provision and policy.
  • Amplify children's voices: We ensure that children and young people have a meaningful voice in our research, and that their views and experiences are taken into account in the development of policy and practice. We will seek to capture the perspectives of diverse groups of children and young people, including those who are often marginalized or underrepresented.

We are based at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE.

Our work is a partnership with and largely funded by the 5Rights Foundation.

Learn more about the way we work and what good looks like.

Our team

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Professor Sonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), OBE, FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, is a full professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She has published 20 books and advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Council of Europe, OECD, ITU and UNICEF on media audiences, children and young people’s risks and opportunities, media literacy and rights in the digital environment. She directs the Digital Futures for Children centre.

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Baroness Beeban Kidron OBE is a British filmmaker, Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, and an advocate for children’s rights in the digital world. She is the Founder and Chair of 5Rights Foundation, a charity that works to create policy and practical solutions to build the digital world children and young people deserve, and a Visiting Professor in Practice at LSE. 5Rights funds Digital Futures for Children and Baroness Kidron chairs the Management Committee.

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Professor Ellen Helsper is Professor of Digital Inequalities in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, where she also serves as Doctoral Programme Director for the department's PhD Programmes. Her current research interests include the links between social and digital inequalities; mediated interpersonal communication; participatory immersive digital spaces (VR, ER); and quantitative and qualitative methodological developments in media and communications research. She serves on the Management Committee of the Digital Futures for Children centre.

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Senait Fassil is the Director of Operations at 5Rights. Her role includes oversight of fundraising, partnerships, youth engagement, and operations functions. She has held senior roles in diverse sectors such as private enterprise, management consultancy, and international development. Her previous positions include Executive Director at SIDCA Worldwide and International Alert, and director roles at AMREF UK, CARE International, TechforTrade, LWF, and Phelps Dodge Corporation. She is on the Management Committee of the Digital Futures for Children centre.

Mariya Stoilova(1)

Dr Mariya Stoilova is the Manager of the DFC centre. She is also a post-doctoral researcher at the Media and Communications Department, LSE. With a strong focus on multi-method evidence generation and cross-national comparative analyses, her work focuses on the intersection of child rights and digital technology use, well-being and family support, and intimate life, citizenship and social inequalities.

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Gazal Shekhawat is a Research Assistant at the Digital Futures for Children centre at LSE where she contributes to emerging research projects, administration, and communications. Gazal is also a PhD researcher at the Media and Communications Department, LSE. Her work explores how social change and digital media shape the lives of women in India’s provincial regions.

Carla Sofia Davila

Carla Sofia Davila is the Partnerships Coordinator at 5Rights Foundation, including with the Digital Futures for Children centre. Carla has a BA in International Studies from Leiden University, an MSc in Human Rights and Politics from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Tel Aviv University. She had an international upbringing, is fluent in English and Spanish, and speaks Hebrew and Arabic.

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Anri van der Spuy is a PhD researcher at LSE and a research consultant for Rephrain (Towards a better understanding of global experiences of online child sexual exploitation and abuse) at the Digital Futures for Children centre. Anri has consulted on digital policy for UN and intergovernmental agencies (e.g., African Union Commission, IGF, UNESCO, UNCTAD); donor agencies (e.g., GIZ); internet-focused entities (e.g., Internet Society, ICANN); and global/regional NGOs (Research ICT Africa, Project Isizwe, APC).