Don’t @ me: rethinking digital civility online and in school

Gideon Dishon, Sigal Ben-Porath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Online platforms enable free-form, spontaneous, unbridled political expression, blurring the public and private, the written and spoken, and the norms of formal and casual speech. Consequently, they pose new opportunities and challenges to civic interactions, necessitating a reconfiguration of the norms informing civic exchanges. In this paper, we introduce a relational account of civility attuned to emerging modes of civic interactions online, one which goes beyond prescribing specific modes of speech and conduct. We suggest three characteristics of civility in digital contexts: commitment to ongoing and just dialogue, seeking a diverse audience with a shared goal, and horizontal accountability. We then make the case for schools’ vital role in cultivating digital civility. Rather than introducing new curricular content, we argue for reframing existing school engagement with online communication to support the development of digital civility, in light of the shifting forms of participation that typify youth civic engagement today.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)434-450
Number of pages17
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Civility
  • citizenship
  • civic education
  • digital media
  • school

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Media Technology


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