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Macalester College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Nicaragua: Youth Culture, Literacy, and Media

Abstract

Although still less than 20 percent of the Nicaraguan population has access to the internet, in the years preceding 2012, internet in Nicaragua grew by 113 percent. This rapid development of internet in the country generates several questions, including: “Who has access to the internet in Nicaragua?,” Where are they using the internet?,” and “How are they using it?” This paper answers these three questions and investigates how the answers differ between different demographic groups, especially between young and older people and women and men, through the results of a survey distributed primarily in a public park with free wifi and three cyber cafés in Matagalpa, interviews with cyber café workers, park-goers and experts in the field of technology, participant observation in spaces of internet use in Matagalpa, and an analysis of previous studies. The conclusions of this study show that the high price of internet in Nicaragua is the primary obstacle that impedes the access to internet for the majority of Nicaraguans. Of the Nicaraguans that do have access, the majority are young men and they use internet in various places that include homes, cyber cafés, and public parks, and for various reasons, the most popular being social networks and information searches. The essay also analyzes social factors, such as religion and sexism, and their effects on the access and uses of the internet, including pornography and the use of social networks for activism.

Disciplines

Communication | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Inequality and Stratification | International and Intercultural Communication | Place and Environment | Social Media | Social Psychology and Interaction

 

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