Intersectionality, Digital Disparity and Children in Urban Wired Habitat of Kolkata

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
With the proliferation of new ICTs in everyday life of children, it is redefining the concept of digital inequality and meaning of empowerment along with changing parent-child relationship among wired family of India. ICTs provide hopes and fear, excitement and uncertainty, freedom and control which induce both the empowerment and disempowerment among children. On one hand, ICTs provide new opportunities to surf internet for enormous information but it also opens up the new vistas for unwanted sexual sites; it creates anytime anywhere connectivity but also diminishes the face to face intimate time which changes urban families into ‘apart together' hub. Both the promise and the peril entailed in children using ICTs have been giving parents great hope regarding the promise of digital technology as an educational tool but they also bestows fear of internet addiction, inappropriate content, and potential dangers. This conflicting reaction evokes a new genus of digital inequality where children are provided with ICTs access but having proscribed usage on the basis of their age, gender, social class, family and cultural background within internal sphere (i.e. home). This makes us think that even in 21st century, still children is understood as in the state of becoming and not an agency with embedded discrimination and disempowerment in their everyday life. The present study focuses through representational intersectional perspective which highlights how digital culture exemplify children as vulnerable huddle which affect their usage to ICTs and it adjoins complexities when multiple social identities (age, gender, social class, family and cultural background) intersect. With the application of mixed method techniques, the present study tries to explore how multiple social identities strengthen unequal prospect among children, accentuating disempowerment/empowerment or both which shapes usage of ICTs at home among upper and middle class children of urban Kolkata aged between 13-18 years.