On the Rapid Rise of Social Networking Sites: New findings and policy implications

Sonia Livingstone
David Brake


Social networking sites have been rapidly adopted by children and, especially, teenagers and young people world wide, enabling new opportunities for the presentation of the self, learning, construction of a wide circle of relationships, and the management of privacy and intimacy. On the other hand, there are also concerns that social networking increases the likelihood of new risks to the self, these centering on loss of privacy, bullying, harmful contacts and more. This article reviews recent findings regarding children and teenagers’ social networking practices in order to identify implications for future research and public policy. These focus on the interdependencies between opportunities and risks, the need for digital or media literacy education, the importance of building safety considerations into the design and management of social networking sites, the imperative for greater attention to ‘at risk’ children in particular, and the importance of a children’s rights framework in developing evidence-based policy in this area.



The purpose of this article is to review the social networking practices of children and teenagers in the UK and identify any implications for further research and public policy. The authors suggest that children and teenagers are constructing different identities through their interaction with others on social networking sites in an effort to express themselves and their many identities. However, SNSs facilitate the quantity and quality of communication among 13-18 year olds in the US where certain factors are important to them, such as maintaining small extensive social ties, overcoming embarrassments of face-to-face communication, and disembedding communication from its traditional anchoring (p. 4).

APA Citation

Livingstone, S. & Brake, D. R. (2010). On the rapid rise of social networking sites: New findings and policy implications. Children & Society, 24, 75-83.

About the Study

Links to Article http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/30124/1/On_the_rapid_rise_of_social_networking_(LSERO_version).pdf
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Children and Society
Type of Research Review of literature
Research Design Not applicable
Intervention/Areas of Study Social media, Social presence
Level of Analysis
Specific Populations Examined Age groups
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest
Student Sample Size
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