The paper explores the implications of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the sudden boost in use of digital media, due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders. It builds on the idea that in times of routine, youth are often the first to adopt new technologies and platforms, to experiment with modes of production and practices of sharing, and often spend significant time and energy socializing online. Considering the forced adoption of new technologies in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, such practices are seen as much common among wider demographics. While it was written long before the COVID-19 pandemic, it addresses many of the questions that the pandemic brought to the forefront: What are the potentials and opportunities offered by youth digital participation for learning, for self-expression, for identity formation, and for social connection? How does digital participation shape civic and political life? When digital participation is so ever-present, what are barriers to youth participation online, and what are the challenges and risks it poses?