Priya Kumar


Assistant professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology,
Faculty affiliate, Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence


  • Digital Media Technologies

Focus Areas:

  • Mobile Media
  • Online Privacy
  • Social Media


  • Kumar can speak about how parents can navigate online privacy issues and help children develop a healthy relationship with social media.
  • Kumar's research focuses on shifting digital technology discourse and design away from a focus on individual control and toward more networked understandings of privacy and agency.

​Priya Kumar is an assistant professor of social and organizational informatics in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology, and a research affiliate with the Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence. Her research focuses on how privacy and agency operate when everyday life is datafied, and what effect that has on families.

Kumar’s research draws on theories and qualitative methods from social computing, digital media studies, and science and technology studies to critically examine how certain kinds of technology use have come to be treated as problematic, particularly in the context of childhood and parenting.

Kumar has been published in top-tier academic and media outlets, lending her expertise to publications such as the the New York Times, Slate and NBC Think on topics including how parents can teach their children about online privacy, how parents’ social media posting can affect their children, and how social media platforms as a whole threaten privacy.

In The Media

But the West-Kardashian case is a useful reminder that, like it or not, all parents must accept that children have digital presences. Parents can think about a social media approach early on or put it off for another day, but at some point, the question will come up."

"But by framing children’s online activities as inherently risky, the law reflects a deeper anxiety about children’s place on the internet and ignores how social media is embedded in family and other close relationships."

Talking to children about online privacy

from WTAJ March 20, 2022

“Parenting in general is not about protecting or shielding a child from every single form of risk. Digital technology is a way of life and there’s a lot of opportunity there. It’s unfortunate to focus just on all of the risks.”

There’s nothing to like in Facebook’s plans to hook our kids

from The New York Times September 30, 2021

“The goal is simply to capture the most users and become the middlemen in our social interactions."

What those baby photos on social media can teach us about moms

from National Public Radio June 23, 2014

"Those children have a digital footprint before they were even born."

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