Youth Stories 2007


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How ICT matter to Youth

Themes and Quotes are taken from my dissertation: Understanding how information and communication technologies matter to youth. A network of developmental, social and technological dynamics. (2007) The themes: fun, convenience and connections are linked to adolescent developmental, societal and technological parameters in the dissertation. In the next weeks I will add more stories.

The themes are listed at the top of this page, youth quotes are listed below. If you click on the theme, it will take you to the quotes.


ICT matter because they are experienced, seen as:


ICT matter because they enable/afford:


ICT matter because they afford:


thinking bubbleYouth Stories



I guess it's entertaining, why else would you be on? (Andrew)

It's just another thing, kind of. To do. It's not really necessary, but it's fun. (Debbie)'s just really good to talk to people. (Lisa)

New Toy

Andrew: It's a camera phone actually. It takes pictures. I took that picture i my background (shows me the phone screen).
Mechthild: What street is it?
Andrew: It's on Johnson.
Mechthild: So you use that quite frequently too, that feature?
Andrew: U-huh. It's fun, it's like going around taking pictures.Ya.t's pretty cool.

In the case of Andrew, the cell phone is used as a toy or tool to engage in new and different forms of interaction, leading to initial feelings that this new ICT is fun and exciting.


Ya, that's why the Internet is so much more convenient. 'cause it's right in your house. And you click something, you type a sentence, and the information is right there. (Ingrid)

If your relatives live on the other side of the world, then they get it instantly - so it's convenient. (Ingrid)

Speed, ease & efficiency

It's a way of getting a hold of people easily. Like doing a bunch of things at once, instead of spending all this time calling so many people... it's just faster, efficient and easy. It's just as good as using a phone half the time - just easier. (Jill)

Immediate, person-to-person communication

I couldn't - like when i went to the concert last night and when it's over I called my mom on my cell - or my dad on my cell phone and said 'can you come pick us up from the concert?' And if I hadn't had had it, I don't - I guess I would have had to use a pay phone or something. 'cause i don't know how else - 'cause I didn't know when the concert was going to end or anything. (Debbie)

In the morning I just sort of turn the monitor on to see if anyone messaged me or not. But usually i dont' do a lot in the morning. I just have it on. Just in case if someone needs to contact me then it's there. It's just convenient in a way. (Ingrid)

External memory

Like, if I go out and I forget my cell phone, then, 'cause i don't memorize phone numbers, like I'm not the type that can. I don't keep little slips of paper. So without a cell phone, I'm basically by myself and I can't call anyone. (Ingrid)

...and if you're on MSN and thre's other people on and you don't even realize that you want to talk to them, but then they're on and you're 'oh, right, I have something to say or I have a question. (Tanya)

I rely on my ipod for a clock. (Tanya)

Permeated, shifted boundaries visible in all the above.

In summary, youth find ICT use convenient, when they fit and facilitate tasks that are important to them. It becomes apparent that ICT matter to youth, when ICT use is experienced as changing boundaries and affording easier, faster and more efficient ways of conducting activities or engaging in relations.


Relational online and offline networks

Just staying in touch with people. Like if you ever see them again, then you know them, because you talked to them on MSN. (Lisa)

Like, it's a good way to keep in touch with people because like i have a friend who I went to basketball camp with. And she was [text missing] so I never see her. But then we got each other on MSN so we kept talking to each other. And then we went to Harry Potter on the weekend and we hung out and everything. So now we hang out. But if we hadn't got our e-mails then we would have just been - we would have just seen each other at basketball games I think. So it's a good way to keep in touch. (Tanya)

Same with relatives overseas. It's not really often that you would just call them to see how they are. (Ingrid)

Jill: I love looking at people's profiles and stuff like that. I'd be like, what they have on there, what kind of stuff they like to do. Pictures, I love pictures. I love looking at people's funny pictures and stuff like that, and just looking around and just kind of browsing, just absorbing everybody. I'm like, what they like to do, what they don't like to do, you know.
Mechthild: So you feel you're getting to know lots of different kinds of people and how they are...
Jill: ... what they like better. No, say, like, they really, really don't like skiing and they hate people who talk about skiing, or something like that. You know, oh well, never talk about skiing around that person or something like that. You get an idea of what to talk about and what not to talk about.

Mechthild: So it helps you keep in touch. That's one thing, sort of with people who don't live right here?
Tanya: A lot of the peopel on my MSN I don't have their phone numbers. Because I'm not really that good friends with them, I just have them on MSN.
Mechthild: How many people do you guys have on MSN?
Ingrid: On my old [word missing] it's jammed. So it's about like 250. And Ihave to delete people every week, because I kept getting new people. So about 300 people. And then now it's like 150.
Tanay: I'm like 80. But a lot of them are old emails. People who [word missing]. Or they're people I don't talk to ever. They're just there.

What has become important in teen lives is knowing that you could connect to people and information and turn a passive presence into an active relation at any time.

Extension of relationships

Debbie: I think that's the main thing. You develop - like my friend and I - like, she'll say something funny and then it'll be like a joke the next day. And then other people don't understand it. It's kind of like an inside joke. Ya, for sure. It is an inside joke!


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