Reseach question 2: Media use among young refugees

Preliminary research question 2:

What does media use look like among young Afghan refugees living in Hamburg? or, How do young Afghan refugees in Hamburg use media?

Sub-question 1: What media do they have access to? (I.e., do they even own/have access to a landline telephone, or a television, or a desktop computer)

Sub-question 2: What media do they like to use (and possibly why?)

The goal of this project would be to find information that could aid in the development of media (probably smart phone apps) that could aid young refugees in integration into their new country, including language learning. By finding our what technology this population has access to and voluntarily uses the most, one could develop language-learning technology or cultural integration apps using platforms and formats the refugees not only had access to, but might even enjoy using. The development of low-cost and widely available integration/language learning technology could increase opportunities available for young refugees to integrate, and using a platform or format they enjoy interacting with might encourage them to do so.

Based on preliminary research, I expect that smartphones will be the most popular media used by this population, because they are highly portable so wouldn’t have been left behind when they left their home country, they provide internet access and a possibility for interpersonal communication virtually anywhere in the world, and this age group (12-17 years old in 2016) grew up with smartphones and is likely better able to adapt to and learn to use new technology than older generations. Internet access is ubiquitous in Hamburg, and the internet provides useful and low-cost options for international communication, as well as entertainment.

I personally know one international student (not refugee) in Hamburg who has made significant progress using the smartphone app “Memrise” to learn the German language, and one teenage Eritrean refugee who was using an app which paired pictures of objects or animals with the written and spoken word in German to learn vocabulary. From both academic literature and my own language learning experiences, I know that watching films in a foreign language with subtitles in one’s native language can be a useful tool for both learning a language and gaining insights into culture, but I’m not personally aware of any refugees so far using this technique, so it would be interesting to discover why this is not a popular option.

Reseach question 2: Media use among young refugees

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