Insights from impacts of the digital divide on children in five majority world countries during the COVID-19 pandemic
The digital divide is especially pertinent in Majority World Countries (MWCs), and this was exacerbated greatly by the pandemic. Tackling the digital divide underpins the work of Human–Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D) and remains an important global endeavour. Our project aimed to understand how children and young people (CYP) in MWC coped during the pandemic and how technology played a role. Voices of CYP were complemented by those of their parents and professionals with whom CYP interacted regularly. Our empirical study involved 73 CYP and 76 adults from Brazil, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey. Qualitative data from diaries, drawings and focus groups were analysed thematically. Four major themes were identified – ‘access’, ‘usage’, ‘risk’, and ‘future Among others, some intriguing findings were that CYP acutely felt the peer pressure on ICT ownership and tended to direct frustration at parents, who grappled with their untenable roles as gatekeepers to digital worlds. Implications for addressing the digital divide include long-term strategies to improve infrastructures and mobilise community-based collaborative efforts and enhance digital literacy.
Author affiliationSchool of Law, University of Leicester
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