Communication Research and Practice
Taylor and Francis Ltd.
School of Arts and Humanities
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : DP190102435
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.