Leen d’Haenens

National contact
Is Full Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences, University of Ghent, an MA in Romance Languages, an MSc in Press and Communication Sciences (University of Ghent), and an MSc in Information Studies (University of Toronto). Her current areas of research include digital media and youth, journalism studies (frame analyses on Islam and Muslims in the news, longitudinal studies on news diversity), media and ethnic minorities (e.g., ethnic discussion forums as a source of social capital for ethnic minorities), and media governance and accountability mechanisms.


picture Sofie for website (1)

Sofie Vandoninck

Team member
Phd student at the Institute for Media Studies (KU Leuven). Her phd project focuses on identifying which children are more vulnerable than others when it comes to internet use, and why some children are resilient while others are not. She investigates how children’s individual and social contexts play a role in their exposure to online risks & opportunities, the development of online resilience, and how this is mediated by their level of digital literacy. She is actively involved in the EU Kids Online project since 2009, and collaborated with several team members in analyzing and disseminating the EU Kids findings. Within the project, she mainly focuses on coping with online risks and the development of (online) resilience. In February 2012, she co-organized a workshop on presenting and discussing the EU Kids Online results for Belgium. From September to December 2013, she was working with the EU Kids Online team on the qualitative analysis of the EU Kids interviews and focus groups at Masaryk University in Brno.

Amongst her pubblications
: Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L., Segers, K. (2012). Coping and resilience: Children’s responses to online risks. In: Livingstone S., Haddon L., Görzig A. (Eds.), Children, risk and safety on the Internet. Research and policy challenges in comparative perspective. Bristol: The Policy Press, 205-218; Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L., Roe, K. (2013). Online risks: Coping strategies of less resilient children and teenagers across Europe. Journal of Children and Media, 7(1), 60-78; d’Haenens, L., Vandoninck, S., Donoso Navarrete, V. (2013). How to cope and build online resilience?. EU kids online, nr. January, 1-15 pp. London: EU Kids Online Network; Barbovschi, M., Green, L., & Vandoninck, S. (eds.) (2013). Innovative approaches for investigating how children understand risk in new media. Dealing with methodological and ethical challenges. London: EU Kids Online, Londen School of Economics and Political Science.


The Institute for Media Studies (IMS) conducts research on experiences with and usages of media platforms by individuals, (target) groups and organizations. This research takes shape in the form of parallel yet intersecting streams of research within the Institute. Strong focus is put on new technologies as illustrated in research on children and adolescents’ internet use, online journalism, videogames and usability design. A state-of-the-art media centre and usability lab constitute the ideal biotope to stimulate such research. Another focus is on journalism studies: here the Institute works together with Journalism Studies Antwerp (JOSTA) and the Brussels Centre for Journalism Studies (BCJS). Together they constitute a research team studying news production and reception from different angles (i.e. message, producer, audience). Other central areas of study are strategic communication, popular culture and media industries. Through this wide range of academic research, the IMS supports educational programs in communication science, corporate communication and journalism studies.

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition. From its Christian view of the world and the human, KU Leuven endeavours to be a place for open discussion of social, philosophical and ethical issues and a critical centre of reflection in and for the Catholic community. KU Leuven offers its students an academic education based on high-level research, with the aim of preparing them to assume their social responsibilities. KU Leuven is a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied research.  It is strongly inter- and multidisciplinary in focus and strives for international excellence. To this end, KU Leuven works together actively with its research partners at home and abroad. KU Leuven encourages personal initiative and critical reflection in a culture of idea exchange, cooperation, solidarity and academic freedom. It pursues a proactive diversity policy for its students and staff. KU Leuven aims to actively participate in public and cultural debate and in the advancement of a knowledge-based society. It puts its expertise to the service of society, with particular consideration for its most vulnerable members. From a basis of social responsibility and scientific expertise, KU Leuven provides high-quality, comprehensive health care, including specialised tertiary care, in its University Hospitals. In doing so it strives toward optimum accessibility and respect for all patients.KU Leuven carries out its academic activities at various campuses, research parks and hospital facilities in close cooperation with the members of the KU Leuven Association and with its hospital partners.