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Instrumentalising the digital: adolescents’ engagement with ICTs in low- and middle-income countries

Photo: Adolescents in a ICT class. Credit: World Bank, Namibia 2007.


Shakuntala Banaji
Sonia Livingstone
Anulekha Nandi
Mariya Stoilova

Publication type:
Journal articles
Date: April 2018

In development agendas regarding children in low-income communities, both older and emerging media are typically ignored or assumed to have beneficial powers that will redress social and gender inequality. This article builds on a recent rapid evidence review on adolescents’ digital media use and development interventions in low- and middle-income countries to examine the contexts of children and adolescents’ access to, and uses of, information and communication technology(ICT). Noting that only a handful of studies heed the significance of social class and gender as major axes of inequality for adolescents, the article scrutinises the gap between the rhetoric of ICT-based empowerment and the realities of ICT-based practice. It calls for a radical rethinking of childhood and development in light of the actual experiences, struggles, and contexts.

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