Computer and Internet Appropriation: Uses and Significance Among Young Mexican University Students
Nowadays, the use of the computer and the internet among young university students in Mexico is not only necessary but even mandatory, not only because of the academic activities that students must perform – as professors demand them, but also because of the significance conveyed to the young cultural world when they buy a computer or when they learn how to use it. The computer-internet device is appropriated by young university students as a visible tool which symbolizes tastes, identities and allegiances. Due to the characteristics of this information and communication technology, young university students create spaces of interaction (that could be denominated ‘virtual culture’) sometimes invisible for the adult world, but essential for the condition of ‘being young’ at the contemporary era. In this study, I will argue that among young students in Mexico, the use of the computer and the internet constitutes the final part and last redoubt of the rite of passage between the student stage and the labourmarket stage, the latter as the stage in which the young is finally considered an adult with all the rights and obligations. Additionally, it will be important to pay special attention to the different meanings of ‘youth’ and ‘university student’ due to the fact that they enclose ethnic, social and gender differences. This study will be about the computer and internet appropriation of young university students in three different levels: a) the computerinternet as a cultural device, b) the computer-internet as a message or as a text, c) the computer-internet as a culture. The questions that have been formulated are: How have young people adapted to and adopted these new technologies? How are they using them in their daily life? How are the computer and the internet being appropriated? What significance do these technologies attain?