The Social Impact of ICTs on Youth Living in less Developed Countries: A Case Study of the Mobile Phone in Cameroonian Rural Areas

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This paper addresses the problematic of the appropriation of ICTs and their influence on youth living in less developed countries. By focusing on the mobile phone which is the more used ICT in Cameroon as in many others African less developed countries, this study seeks to see how youth living in the country are influenced by new information and communication technologies. It argues that mobile phone gives way to many social transformations among young people living in rural areas. As a matter of fact, in rural area, youth use mobile phone to assert themselves socially in the villages and also to identify themselves with the city-dwellers. Given that they are the main mobile phone holders and users in rural areas, the youth are constantly asked for contributions by the others villagers who want to get and to stay in touch with theirs relations living out of the village. So to speak the holding of the mobile phone by the youth living in villages gives them an important position in their community. Furthermore, the mobile phone also redefines the relationship between the youth and their parents. This new technology gives actually the opportunity to the youth, to break free from the control of parents. This attitude is mainly observed among Muslim girls living in the northern Cameroon which is deeply influenced by the Muslim tradition and where parents, who are mostly traditionalist, use to watch over the relationship of their progeny. Those girls, who often keep up romantic relationship contrary to Islamic prescriptions and without their parents knowing, take advantage of their mobile phone to avoid cultural constraints. Thus, by focussing on mobile phone this study that has been carried out through observations and interviews tries to highlight the social transformations of ICTs among the youth living in rural areas.

Keywords: ICT, Mobile Phone, Youth, Rural Areas, Cameroon
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Francis Arsene Fogue Kuate

Student, Department of History, University of Ngaoundere (Cameroon)
Ngaoundere, Cameroon

Francis Arsene FOGUE KUATE is a PHD candidate at the University of Ngaoundere (Cameroon). He is member of the Council for the Development of Social Sciences in Africa (CODESRIA) and Assistant Researcher at the Support Research Centre-Laboratory of Social Sciences where he contributes to the training of American students of the School for International Training (SIT). As far as research is concerned, FOGUE KUATE has many ongoing researches on ICTs in Cameroon. His scientific interests are Media history; ICT , political and cultural values, Youth and ICT. His M.A. dissertation was related to the socio-cultural effects of media in the Adamaoua province (Northern Cameroon). Furthermore, from October 30 to November 03, 2006, he took part in a workshop organised in Burkina Faso by the Council for the Development of Social Sciences Research in Africa (CODESRIA) ; In October 2007, he was in Senegal for the 2007 session of the Child and Youth Studies Institute organized by CODESRIA on the theme “African Youth Cultures and the ICT Revolution”. He was also invited to the second international conference on “Media art, sciences and technology” organized in November 2007 in Germany by KULTURPROJEKTE BERLIN GmbH

Ref: T08P0435