Sonia Livingstone, head of the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics delivered the 2013 Danielson Lecture on her topic, "Digital Connections and Disconnections: Ethnographic Explorations Among Young Teens."
Based on an ethnographic study of an ordinary class of 13 to 14-year-olds over a school year, Livingstone reflected on the social and digital worlds of young people in the "risk society". The project offers insight into how social, digital and learning networks enable or disempower.
In terms of young people's learning, the experience of disconnections and blocked pathways is more common than that of connections and new opportunities, with digital technology uses having quickly become quotidian and utilitarian. In terms of their identity and networks, young people are exploring more creatively but the constraints of civility, of interface design, and of surveillance by anxious adults are equally constraining. The lecture concludes by reflecting on the potential of connected learning and the realities of mediatization in the digital age.