IT Strategic considerations regarding refugees and asylum seekers : A study of digital practices among asylum seekers in Umeå, Sweden
Abstract: The refugee crisis is currently a major world event. However, not much is known about the technology adoption and digital skills of those fleeing these conflicts and seeking asylum in foreign countries. To study this, a qualitative study was conducted in Umeå, Sweden. Data was collected through interviews, written responses and observations. The results show that refugees and asylum seekers have positive attitude towards digital technology adoption. However, they perceived digital technology primarily as tools to fulfil their recreational needs. A strategic use of technology for improving productivity was not evident. While formal internet skills were generally common among every user, most interviewees were not able to carry out more complex tasks, such as finding facts online, as they found it particularly challenging to select appropriate search systems and to construct meaningful queries. This research wants to contribute to the literature in IT and social inclusion. The findings reported here suggest that digital divide can be conceptualized as digital illiteracy because of lacking awareness over data management and information processing capabilities. Moreover, identifying the digital practices of these minority groups could be extremely meaningful for the digital inclusion strategy efforts of Sweden and for a better design of public services.
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