Civic and Political Engagement

[Last updated: May 2020]

Civic and Political Engagement: The ability to participate in public matters (e.g., LGBTQ rights; peace building; addressing hate speech) and advocate for issues one cares about — using digital and non-digital tools — ideally to improve the quality of life in one’s community, from micro to macro levels (Levine, 2007).

Many youth today are shifting their social activities from the offline environment to the hybrid, online-offline world. For some, such social activities include civic and political engagement. This may be expressed through traditional political campaigns. More often, however, and more importantly, over the long term, this activism is expressed through a breadth of civic activities. These expressions may range from sharing political news on social media to using Twitter to rally others around a cause a young person cares about, to leveraging hashtags to raise awareness around an issue. Moreover, as many new political organizations have shown, such as Black Lives Matter, the online is a driver of engagement and can lead to offline engagement, and vice-versa.

Main publications:

Key learning resources:

These learning resources are available in over 35 languages! To view the translations, for each resource, please scroll down to “All Languages.” Additional languages will be added over time.

To learn about how to navigate our Digital Citizenship+ (Plus) Resource Platform — home to an evolving collection of 100+ educational tools (e.g., learning experiences, visualizations, podcasts) that can be used to learn and teach about youth’s digitally connected lives — please see the following slidedeck, presented at RightsCon Tunis 2019. The presentation also offers helpful tips in terms of adapting the tools to your context.

Other publications:

Selected presentations:

(For more information, please email Sandra Cortesi.)

  • November 2019: Presentation, “10 Things I Learned from Young People”, Festival of Technology, Polytechnic of Turin, Turin, Italy
  • October 2019: Panel Presentation, “Social Media and Democracy,” Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Cambridge, MA