Author Identifier

Lelia Green

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Communication Research and Practice


Taylor and Francis Ltd.


School of Arts and Humanities




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : DP190102435


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Communitcaion Research and Practice, published online: 2 March 2020, available online:

Green, L. (2020). Confident, capable and world changing: teenagers and digital citizenship. Communication Research and Practice, 6(1), 6-19.


Around the world policymakers are exploring the kinds of skills and competencies that teenagers need to have to contribute to society as digital citizens. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child framework, and informed by critical analysis of discourses around digital citizenship, this paper explores the competencies already demonstrated by many adolescents and addresses the priorities identified by policymakers. It compares the top-down adult policymakers’ blueprints for digital citizenship with the performances of citizenship by many young people, who mobilise digital resources to communicate with powerful others as a means of progressing their aims. Drawing upon examples of small-scale teenage activism, and linking these to some of the big questions of the age: climate change, gender equity and social justice, the paper moves beyond discussions of tech-addiction and online passivity to investigate adolescents’ strategic engagement in digital spaces to achieve a more equitable future. © 2020, © 2020 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.