The Leverhulme News Use Project

News use and parental anxiety in datafied societies.

Start date

16 March 2023

End date

31 October 2025


The Leverhulme News Use Project looks at parents’ news use and their diverse practices of news consumption in datafied, digital societies, with a specific focus on parents’ perceptions of risks and crises.

Navigating parenthood has always involved encounters with risks, crises and uncertainties. These might relate to health, safety, global affairs, the environment, or more. Some crises and risks are perceived by parents as more personally significant – or ‘riskier’ to their child - than others, and some of these might even alter parenting choices and decisions.

But, now, more than ever, news about crises and risks are mediated into parents’ palms and pockets - through always-on media and technology, as we live in high-choice and chaotic news environments, amidst overlapping global crises.

In this project, we are asking:

  • In what ways do parents – from a diversity of socio-demographic backgrounds - engage with the news?
  • (How) does parental news engagement shape parenting decisions and choices?
  • What kinds of role-modelling - of reacting to and engaging with news - is available to children?
  • And ultimately, how do parents conceptualise truth, trust, risk and responsibility, as they engage with the news?

Aims and objectives

We will produce a rigorous, in-depth examination of parents’ engagement with risk and crises in the news - in an information-saturated, high-choice society.

We will generate a blue-print for local, national, and global investigations of how parenting responds to news, at critical moments of crisis.

We are guided by four objectives:

Objective one

To investigate parental negotiation of news based on empirical data on the news habits of parents from diverse socio-demographic backgrounds.

Objective two

To generate robust, interdisciplinary and systematic case studies of parental new engagement modes – from news-avoidance through degrees of monitoring and active participation.

Objective three

To gather in-depth evidence on and theorise parental role-modelling of news engagement in relation to children’s environments.

Objective four

To break new theoretical ground by interrogating parental perceptions of truth, trust, responsibility and risk in contemporary media-saturated societies.

Funding amount





Research themes

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