ACCESS BARRIERS AND LOCAL STRATEGIES FOR INTRAFAMILIAL MOBILE COMMUNICATION IN RESOURCE CONSTRAINED CONTEXTS

Alcides Velasquez

Abstract


Despite their relative low cost, access to and use of mobiles and smart phones does not necessarily mean that individuals do face different adoption barriers, especially in constrained resource contexts. This study asks about parents’ development of local strategies for access to mobile communication technologies for intrafamilial communication in a resource constrained context. Intrafamilial communication is an important socialization source, and represents for many the first resource for emotional support.

Categorical differences in the social position of individuals within a social system produces an unequal distribution of the resources. Unequal resources influence unequal access to communication technologies.

Twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted to parents of children between the ages of twelve and eighteen years-old in Bogotá, Colombia, in order to learn about the different hurdles they face in order to get access to mobile technologies when trying to communicate with their children. Rarely, these barriers translated into no communication with family members. During the interviews, individuals also described the way in which they used alternative resources that acted as facilitating conditions for access.

While important access gaps are present, due to differences in the resources individuals can count on, it seems that in circumstances of high access motivation, like in the case of intrafamilial communication, individuals develop local strategies through alternative resources that facilitate access conditions to the technologies that will allow them to achieve their intrafamilial communication objectives.

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